African food is a term used to collectively refer to the types of food eaten in the different regions of the African continent. African cuisine is mostly characterized by the wide usage of locally available fruits, cereal grains, vegetables, milk and meat products. The traditional African diet in many part of the continent has a predominance of milk, curd and whey products.
African cuisine has gained popularity around the world. It has a considerable patronage in America, Europe, and South East Asia. Some of the most popular African foods that have gained global prominence are mieliepap, Tripe, Amadumbe, Amanqina, Mashonzha, Jollof Rice, West African Kebabs (Kyinkyinga), Chicken Sosaties, Egyptian Spice Mixture, Mwambe Beef and Spiced Butter. Fufu, Foutou, Banku, Kenkey, Couscous, and Gari are widely eaten and are served alongside soups and stews.
History and Cultural Influences
Before the advent of farming, the African hunters and gatherers mainly thrived on meat, fish, seafood and wild vegetables. Over the years, West African food has developed a unique pattern which is different from the rest of the world. History states that its strong culinary tradition has been deeply influenced by colonization, land-trade with the Arabs and also by the slave trade. However, traces of globalization can be found in African cuisine.
African Food can be broadly classified into six categories:
Bananas, barley, beans, cassava, coconut, curry, eggplant, garlic, ginger, groundnuts, lentils, millets, cassava, okra, onion, parsley, plantain, rice, Sorghum, spinach, tamarind, wheat, sweet potatoes and yams are some of the ingredients used in African recipes. The most common spices that are used in African food are cardamom, cloves, caraway, pepper, coriander, garam masala and black mustard seeds. African cuisine relies on locally available cereal, vegetables, dairy and meat products, venison and seafood. Generally, the African food is roasted, baked, boiled, fried or mashed and spiced.