African cuisine is a generalized term collectively referring to the cuisines of Africa. The continent of Africa is the second largest landmass on Earth, and is home to hundreds of different cultural and ethnic groups. This diversity is also reflected in the many local culinary traditions in terms of choice of ingredients, style of preparation and cooking techniques.
African Food Information
African food is very diverse as Africa is the second largest landmass in the world.
Most of the food is prepared from locally grown fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, and meat products. Milk and whey are products that may be widely consumed in one area but not in tropical Africa. Many dishes are grain-based, from corn to rice and couscous in Northern Africa. In Southern Africa, a place of many cultures, people are often defined and traced back to their ancestors by the types of food they consume.
African food is traditionally quite healthy, based on whole, unprocessed ingredients and full of a variety of nutrients.
Cassava is ubiquitous in Africa; the roots are high in starch, calcium and phosphorus, whereas the leaf contains a generous amount of protein.
North Africa lies along the Mediterranean Sea and encompasses within its fold several nations, including Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Egypt. This is a region marked by geographic, political, social, economic and cultural diversity, and the cuisine and the culinary style and art of North Africa are also as diverse as the land, its people and its history. The roots to North African cuisine can be traced back to the ancient empires of North Africa, particularly in Egypt where many of the country's dishes and culinary traditions date back to ancient Egypt.
A typical West African meal is heavy with starchy items, meat, spices and flavors. A wide array of staples are eaten across the region, including those of Fufu, Banku and Kenkey (originating from Ghana), Foutou, Couscous, Tô, and Garri which are served alongside soups and stews. Fufu is often made from starchy root vegetables such as yams, cocoyams, or cassava, but also from cereal grains like millet, sorghum or plantains. The staple grain or starch varies region to region and ethnic group to ethnic group.
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The cuisine of East Africa varies. In the inland meat products are generally absent. Cattle, sheep and goats were regarded as a form of currency and wealth, and are not generally consumed as food. . Maize (corn) is the basis of ugali, the East African version of West Africa's fufu. Ugali is a starch dish eaten with meats or stews. In Uganda, steamed, green bananas called matoke provide the starch filler of many meals.
The cooking of Southern Africa is sometimes called 'rainbow cuisine', as the food in this region is a blend of many cultures – the indigenous African tribal societies, European and Asian. To understand indigenous cuisine, it is important first to digress to understand the various native peoples of southern Africa. The indigenous people of Southern Africa were roughly divided into two groups and several sub groups. The largest group consisted of the Bantu-speakers, whose descendants today may identify themselves by various sub-group names such as Zulu, Xhosa, Swazi, Sotho, Tswana, Pedi, Shangaan and Tsonga. They arrived in the region around two thousand years ago, bringing crop cultivation, animal husbandry, and iron tool making with them.