To plan your authentic African Food you need to base your ingredients on the available ones in the region.
Yams and greens are quite common with palm oil and coconut oil but if you can get that or don’t like them then try some corn oil. Other foods that you will need are Teff, Millet stock, white stone ground corn grits and you can mix in greens like spinach.
The West African areas and seaside areas tend to like more hot chillies in their foods where as you will find that in Senegal because of the historic French influence that this has seeped through into their cooking and they use garlic, marinades, limes and vegetable in their meals. Blacked eyed peas and Okra are used in a lot of meals and to make soups thicker and more filling. Obviously because of the climate there are a number of tropical fruit that grow in these areas that are used in cooking as well like bananas and coconuts.
The Ethiopia you will find that they use a lot of whey, curds and milk which is the most traditional style of African food that has been less influenced by the historic colonial powers of the past.
Dishes made from starchy cassava, yams, beans with various green vegetables, peas and beans are common. They also use sweet potatoes here to their dishes to add some variety in their daily diets.
They are not just restricted to the traditional fruit and vegetables that the western cultures are used to but in Africa they have to use what ever is around and one such food source comes from the Baobab tree.
This tree has a triangular shape to it’s trunk being larger at it’s base as it’s roots spread out in search of water. The flesh from the fruits that it bears are used by drying them out and grinding them down to powder which is then used as a thickener in their soups and the seeds from the fruit are also ground down and used.
Yam feasts with yam fried in peanut oil are common in Africa along with eggs. Other delicacies are Plantain which look like very large bananas which are peeled sliced and fried and if they are ripe enough have a really sweet flavour.
Some of the foods that are used are:
They use the fruit, fruit juice,tree leaves, and fruit seeds.
This is a red pepper spice paste used in some areas of Africa.
This root vegetable is a tuber which is the source for manioc and tapioca
Just as it sounds it is the basic flavouring used for colas. This flat shaped seed from a West Africa native tree is used to reduce thirst.
The is just a general term used to describe the various greens that are used, including cassava, sorrel, mustard, collards, chard, and turnip
This is a flour made from yam.
Here the yam or corn or plantain is mashed up and made into a pudding.
We know these as peanuts which the Portuguese brought over from Brazil in colonial times.
Also known as Okra. In West Africa any stew using Okra is called a Gumbo
This is actually a small green skinned African eggplant.
In Ghana the starch from the Cassava is used in porridge breads
This is a dish of spicy chicken and rice
Mealie and Mealie meal
This is Maize of an American Indian corn which is a drier type of field corn. An alternative is Stone ground white cornmeal.
Similar to Teff, this is from larger grain bearing grass.
Using seasonings like Cinnamon, cardamom seeds, turmeric and cooking oil this is mixed with butter to form a Ethiopian spiced butter oil.
These are native to Africa. The pods have a jelly-like consistency, so are able to thicken soups and stews. You can get these frozen throughout the year, and fresh seasonally.
Palm nut oil and butter
Obtained in Ghana from the palm nuts which contain highly saturated fats.
A large banana-like fruit, cooked like a root vegetable or fried.
A cane like grass with a small cereal grain that is very similar to Millet.
This is a type of root vegetable, and this is the all purpose term for the various yellow-orange tubers.