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African cuisine varies by region, especially due to such a large variation of climate and growing conditions, and each region is also influenced.

  • In Northern Africa, the food has been heavily influenced by traders ad invaders, so there are a lot of variety in spices and sweet pastries. Wheat and semolina were brought in early, and couscous is a staple of the region.
  • In the Southern and Eastern part of Africa, cattle are regarded as a symbol of wealth – and while milk and milk products are often used, cattle are rarely eaten. Ground corn is a basis for many meals, either eaten as a porridge or as a flatbread. Steamed rice is also a big ingredient!
  • In the Western part of Africa, heavy starchy foods provide energy. Hot sauces, chili peppers, and peanut based sauces are used a lot.
  • In Central Africa, you will find the most “traditional” African foods, as there were not as many external influences on cuisine until much later.

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Typical spices included in African cuisine are  Chili, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Fenugreek, Garlic, Ginger, Grains of Paradise, Mint, Pepper and Sesame.

Berbere  is a really famous Ethiopian spice blend that is great in stews, and on meats and poultry, and roasted vegetables. It is smokey, spicy, and complex!

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