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What Do Africans Eat?

Category: People.

Have you ever wondered what African cuisine consists of or how is it prepared and what ingredients do people use? First of all African food means any type of food that is prepared on African territory and it refers to food that originates from Africa. Their foods are very varied and mostly organic, and are based on ingredients that can be found on all parts of the continent.

Kenyan beef stew, ugali, and sukuma wiki (view the recipe). © Julie Cockburn.

The main ingredient for African food

The main ingredients African people use for their foods are the following:

  1. Vegetables: yams, okra, watermelon, black-eyed peas, cabbage, groundnuts
  2. Meats: chicken, pork, beef, fish
  3. Spices: garlic, cloves, cardamom, curry

Most African meals are based on local vegetables, meats and a wide variety of spices. Out of these few ingredients Africans manage to prepare several delicacies, which comprise a great amount of vegetables, roasted meat or fish. Even better, they manage to cook meals which are mostly organic. The vegetables are grown in their own gardens, due to the nice warm weather, they thrive all year round.

Mozambique peri peri grill chicken (view recipe). © Imma.

Varies according to regions

What people eat varies from one region to another, but it often happens that two neighboring regions have resemblances in their cooking traditions, in places like Morocco and Egypt. The way people cook has its roots in the Middle East, which brings us back to the first steps of civilization. Furthermore in Western and South Africa, cooking habits are mostly under European and American influence. Many years of British and Dutch colonization has left its mark on the kitchen table

What does an African breakfast contain?

Breakfast, as we all know, is the most important meal of the day and it differs in every region. What some of them have in common are fresh local fruits and cereals, plenty of whole grain, yogurt, coffee, tea, and bread. In Western and Eastern Africa, breakfast is very simple, where bread is the main item. In underdeveloped areas, they mostly depend on vegetables and grain. Food is very scarce in central Africa and it doesn’t take much to imagine what the breakfast here contains.

Injera, a flatbread, with several kinds of wat or tsebhi (stew), is of Eritrean and Ethiopian origin (view recipe). Photo by Rama.

Central African food

If one wants to find out more about traditional African cooking, this is the right place for it. European civilization didn’t reach here until the 19th century and most of central Africa’s cuisine is untouched, so the real African traditions lie here.

In South Africa

In South Africa, on the other hand, breakfast has a tradition that dates back in the 17th century. Years and years of European domination has left its imprint on the South African breakfast. It is a coffee nation, which means that whatever breakfast consists of, it will most probably be accompanied by a hot drink, usually coffee but occasionally tea. The English breakfast is very famous here. One can start the day with a nutritious meal which can be the perfect choice to start a busy day!!!


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