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the most typical African meals

Soup & Stew Recipes

The African kitchen is traditionally outside or in a separate building apart from the sleeping and living quarters. By far the most traditional and to-this-day the most common sight in an African kitchen is a stewpot filled with meat and vegetables (often greens)  congo kitchen simmering over a fire. The pot usually sits on three stones arranged in a triangle, and the fire slowly consumes three pieces of wood that meet at a point under the pot. In Africa, these stewed meat and vegetable dishes are variously called soups, stews, or sauces (depending where in Africa the cooking is done). None of these appellations seems exactly right. Generally they are the main course, so they are more than typical "soups". They are not exactly "stews" in the European-American sense because they are usually eaten with starchy staple or Fufu-like dish, such as Baton de Manioc, Fufu, Ugali, or some sort of Rice, millet, sorghum, or Maize (corn). Since they usually are not blended smooth, nor served over other meat or vegetables, thay are not really "sauces" either. The Congo Cookbook website contains recipes for many of these "soups" and "stews". Where recipes call for a single main ingredient they are categorized under Chicken, Fish, Meat, Vegetable & Side Dishes. Where recipes call for multiple main ingredients and several other ingredients they appear here, in the "Soup & Stew" category. Certain dishes that are really more of a soup or stew than a sauce are still called a "Sauce" to conform with their traditional African nomenclature; in these cases the word "Sauce" appears in quotation marks.

Afang Soup
Bunny Chow
Calalu
Egusi Soup
Elephant Soup
Groundnut Stew
Lablabi
Mbanga Soup
Molokhia
Ndolé Soup
Ogbono Soup
Palaver 'Sauce'
Palm Butter Soup
Palm-Oil Chop
Peanut Soup
Pepper Soup
Plasas
South African Malay Curry
Superkanja

Richard Francis Burton

The fireplaces are three stones or clods, placed trivet-wise upon the ground

Richard F. Burton described the African cooking pot, sitting on three stones arranged in a triangle, the fire slowly consumes three pieces of wood that meet at a point under the pot, in The Lake Regions of Central Africa: A Picture of Exploration (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1860; reprinted by Dover Publications, and by Scholarly Press). Note he mentions an earthenware pot (instead of the iron pot that has become more common since Burton's time.

The fireplaces are three stones or clods, placed trivet-wise upon the ground, so that a draught may feed the flame; they are far superior to the holes and trenches of our [European] camps and pic-nics. The tripod supports a small black earthen pot... [Chapter X - We Enter Unyamwezi, the Far-Famed Land of the Moon]


Other African gastronomical excerpts


Elspeth Huxley

one old, black cooking-pot

Elspeth Huxley wrote of her family's cook, Juma, (The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood; (New York: Morrow, 1959)

He was a great meat-lover. He was also a magician. With three stones, a few sticks, and one old, black cooking-pot he would produce a four-course meal a great deal better than anything to be had in most restaurants or hotels.


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