Earlier this week Africans all over the world celebrated the AU day! The day was set aside to unite Africans and celebrate our identity through various forms.
One of the ways African are able to unite is through the good food prepared by the people on the continent.
Most of these foods have the same element even though their methods of preparation generally differ from one another. However, one thing is consistent in any African food, it’s palatability is never
Below is a list of the elements you are sure to find in every African food.
1.The “Stinking Fish” family
How can the members of this family not make a cameo at least? These members add to the spiciness and local touch of the whole gathering when used in food preparation. Wondering who they are? Momoni, Kako, Koobi, Dawadawa, Kpanla, Kpomo, Shaki, etc. These are not necessarily foods on their own but work together for the common good, much like the AU, lol.
2.Lots of pepper
Africans like so much chilli and have no chill. There is no gathering in Africa without the corner side dish that comes super packed with chilli for days. (Pepper soup anyone?) Be it in a bid to whet visitors’ appetite, or to be had in the corner with meat and bottles of beer, you wouldn’t have to break a sweat to locate it at any African gathering.
3. The “Chichinga” element
Be it the “Shisha Nyama” of South Africa, “piri piri chicken” from Mozambique, “Suya” of Nigeria or “Venison” of Namibia, Africans know how to tear it down when it comes to their meat servings for that party. Whatever it is called and no matter where it is found, there is no party without the Chichinga element!
4. The Carb balls
What’s an African gathering without the Carbs? How does that even pan out? No Fufu and Abenkwan or any other Nkwan? no fufu and njama njama from Cameroon? No pounded yam or Eba and egusi soup from Nigeria? No Sadza from Zimbabwe and other parts of southern Africa? ..how? In fact, we just can’t imagine! As far as we are concerned, Carbs are in a comfortable lead here, no two ways.
5. Green sisters
How can we talk carbs without our greens? There’s always that green dish on the sidelines we just can’t put a finger on standing far off. Kontomire stew, Bitterleaf, Egusi soup, ‘green stew’ from Sierra Leone, you name it.
6. Has pepper been mentioned already? Well, Africans and their love for pepper is just insatiable so we had to bring it back. There are also traits of aromatics, herbs and spices such as ginger, garlic, black pepper, rosemary etc in every African meal.
7. The Nameless meals
Let’s face it, there are some meals that just don’t have names in Africa. We obviously can’t list them because they are nameless, or just a mouthful to pronounce so remain nameless, but a favourite among the people. Can you think of any off the top of your head?
It’s either Jollof or something that looks like Jollof named differently (Ghana Jollof, Nigerian Jollof, Benachin, Riz au gras) Either way, it is Jollof. It’s so popular- especially in the West African region- that Nigeria and Ghana are at war as to who makes the best of it. Senegalese even claim ownership of this delicacy. Did you know that there’s even an ancient empire named after this wonderful meal?What’s an African gathering without it then?
So, if you’re probably planning on putting together an African themed get-together soon, these are the elements that must not be exempted. One thing is for sure, all these meals are better enjoyed in a group than alone. That adds the whole African-ness to it.