What do food and Africa have in common? They are both beautiful.

Describing African food

Describing African food. Categorizing the vast network of African food is like describing the color of the wind, it is impossible. Classifying African food is impossible. The colonization of Africa imposed boundaries without regard to food culture or heritage of native Africans. With a mix of Arabic, Danish, German, Indian, African, French, Italian, Chinese and European influences Africa is truly a melting pot of language, culture, and ideas. But if you had to choose a staple and traditional dish in Africa it would be a filler starch dish in Africa's cuisine known as fufu, ugali or pap.

fufu, ugali and mealie meal African filler starch recipes.
Fufu, ugali and mealie meal African filler starch recipes

Three recipe ingredients and directions for fufu, ugali and pap African filler starch recipes.

Fufu recipe.
Fufu is a staple food common in many countries in Africa. The traditional method is to boil starchy food crops like cassava, yams or plantains and cocoyams and then pound them into a dough-like consistency. 

10 green plantains
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4-1/2 cup water

In a large pot place the peeled and evenly cut plantains and cover with water. Boil until soft about 20 minutes. Place the salt, flour, plantains in a mixer and whip until the consistency of soft dough is achieved. Fufu should be much stiffer than mashed potatoes in texture. 

Making Ugali.
Making Ugali.

Ugali recipe.
Ugali pronuced oo-gahl-ee is a dish in Kenya and Tanzania made of fine cornmeal cooked in boiling water into a soft dough. Ugali is known in South Africa as Pap or Mielie, Sadza in Zimbabwe, and Nsima in Malawi; the name changes with region and language in Africa.

4 cups finely ground cornmeal
8 cups water

Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Slowly pour cornmeal into boiling water stirring continuously. Add more cornmeal if necessary until it is thick as soft bread dough. Serve immediately with vegetables, stew, or any dish you would use a spoon with to soak up the sauce, ugali is purposely bland tasting on its own.

Making plantain Fufu.
Making plantain Fufu.

Pap recipe.
South African Pap has just a few ingredients, cornmeal, salt, and water and makes a creamy Pap that is thick with a neutral flavor.

1/2 cups white or yellow coarse cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
3 cups water 

Add water in a large pot, add garlic and salt. In a large bowl mix meal and flour together well and add to water. On high heat bring mixture to a boil stirring constantly until thick paste forms. Remove from pot and allow to cool slightly before serving. Pap meal is eaten by out pulling small pieces and squeezing it lightly to form the dough to scoop to pick up chicken and sauce. Use pap meal in place of your fork and spoon.

African food cooking.
African food cooking.

Bonus starch recipe from South Africa.

Spiced Raisin Rice Southern African Food Recipe
1/4 cup butter
1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
1 piece of stick cinnamon, 2 inches long
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup seedless raisins 
2 cup boiling water

In a heavy 2 to 3 quart saucepan, melt the butter over moderate heat. When the foam begins to subside, add the rice and stir until the grains are coated with butter. Do not let the rice brown. Add the water, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, and salt and, stirring constantly, bring to boil over high heat.

Reduce the heat to low, cover tightly, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the liquid in the pan. Remove the pan from the heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and add the raisins. Fluff the rice with a fork, stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar, taste, and add more if you wish.

Cut a circle of wax paper or foil and place it inside the pan directly on top of the rice. Cover the pan with its lid and let it stand at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

The makings of vegetable porridge

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