Central Africa Cuisine

Central Africa stretches from the Tibesti mountains in the north to vast rainforest basin of the Congo River, and has remained largely free of culinary influences of the outside world, until the late 19th century, with the exception of the widespread adaptation of cassava, peanut, and Chile pepper plants which arrived along with the slave trade during the early 16th century. These foodstuffs have had a large influence on the local cuisine, perhaps less on the preparation methods. Central African cooking has remained mostly traditional. Nevertheless, like other parts of Africa, Central African cuisine also presents an array of dishes.

Fufu (right) is a staple food of Central Africa, pictured with some peanut soup

The basic ingredients are plantains and cassava. Fufu-like starchy foods (usually made from fermented cassava roots) are served with grilled meat and sauces. A variety of local ingredients are used while preparing other dishes like spinach stew, cooked with tomato, peppers, chiles, onions, and peanut butter. Cassava plants are also consumed as cooked greens. Groundnut (peanut) stew is also prepared, containing chicken, okra, ginger, and other spices. Another favorite is Bambara, a porridge of rice, peanut butter and sugar. Beef and chicken are favorite meat dishes, but game meat preparations containing crocodile, monkey, antelope and warthog are also served occasionally.

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