Many envision the continent of Africa as a jungle. Therefore, the African cuisine must be all from the jungle. While jungles do exist within Africa, its great expanse hosts so much more. In fact, even African cuisine varies greatly by region. The north, along the Mediterranean, enjoy a different variety of foods than do their southern companions. And between these regions one finds many variations.
African cuisine offers great diversity, due to a range of climates and growing conditions. However, many regions share certain foods.
North African Cuisine
Traders, invaders and migrants over many centuries greatly influenced the food of North Africa. Arabs introduced spices including nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and saffron. The Ottoman Turks introduced sweet pastries and other baked foods. Also, wheat and its by-product, semolina, were introduced early on. Semolina was adapted by the nomadic Berbers into couscous, which remains one of the main staples of the region.
North Africa grows another important crop, olives. In addition to being used in food, they produce olive oil for cooking.
Food in the South and East
Many people in the South and East rely mainly on grains, beans and vegetables Of course, the coastal, lake, and river regions utilize fish.
Ground maize or corn forms the basis for many meals. Maize flour cooked with water forms a stiff porridge called ugali or nsima. Sometimes it’s made into a dough and served with sauces or stews.
South African Cuisine Blends
South African food blends the traditions of many cultures and influences. Maize and soured milk historically comprised key components of the diet. Malays and Indians introduced curries and spices.
Arabic influences appear frequently in East African cuisine. For example, many serve steamed rice combined with spices such as saffron, cloves and cinnamon. Indian workers and immigrants also brought foods including spiced vegetable curries, lentil soups, chapattis and pickles.
Oranges, lemons and limes are frequently used in cooking. However, other fruits such as mangoes, papayas and pineapples offer dessert options.
Food in the West
The cuisine of West Africa relies on starchy carbohydrates, which provide energy. Typically, West Africans flavor their meals with hot spices and chilli peppers, or sauces such as peanut.
For example, one starchy food known as Fufu, is made from root vegetables such as yams or cassava. It’s usually accompanied by sauces or stews.
Staple grains vary by region. However, maize or corn remains popular in many areas, as is rice.
Central African Cuisine
Without many external influences until the 19th century, most of Central Africa remained true to their traditional foods. Plantains and cassavas continue to form the basis of many meals. Starchy staples often accompany bean or vegetable stews. Bambara, a common porridge dish in Zambia is made from rice, peanut butter and sugar.
Traditionally, women often tend the farm crops
while men seek work in the city.
Children accompany their mothers in the field and
learn to help at an early age.
The country of Tunisia hosts rich history and culture. In fact, while many know little about this country, it offers great insight into old history.
Nestled along the Mediterranean coast, Tunisian cuisine offers fresh foods with healthy variety. We’ve selected a few to begin with. More will be added soon!
Please note: Most of these recipes come from natives of Tunisia. In fact, we try to keep not only the tradition of the recipe, but also the description of the dish authentic. As such, the wording may seem foreign. In fact, it is! However, we believe it helps ensure the true authenticity.