People are fascinated with African culture and cuisine—as well as the West Indies. African culture and dress has become popular around the world, and at Breakthrough African Market you will find a plethora of Dashikis, Laces (materials for making African clothing), hard to find spices, palm oils and coconut oils, dried poultry and smoked catfish and other smoked and dried fish, and smoke-dried poultry, and bones for soups and stews, frozen fish: poultry, and fresh-frozen goat meat, goat meat with skin, tripe, cow foot, meaty oxtails, dried fish flakes and dried West African various leaves, etc., etc. This issue is dedicated to the world of African and Caribbean cooking that has never been featured at length in any of the magazines and newspapers in our region. Check out the recipes and panoply of dishes that you can make to savor the flavor of this ancient and rich cuisine that has shaped civilizations, empires, culture, home cooking, and the world's palate for all things food.
34 tasteofschenectady.com • Vol. 3 • No. 1 The most prevalent African cooking oil is palm nut oil, traditionally associated with the coastal regions and contributes a distinctive color, flavor and texture to food, while shea butter is more commonly used in the Sahel. Called karité in French, which comes from the Arabic word ghartī, it is prized for the rich mouthfeel it imparts. In Ghana, the most commonly used ingredients are hot pepper, ginger, and maize. Ghanaians use hot pepper because they believe the hot peppers will cool the body and cleanse and purify it. West Africans cuisines include fish (especially among the coastal areas), meat, vegetables, and fruits—most of which are grown by the nations’ local farmers. In spite of the obvious differences among the various local cuisines in this multinational region, the foods display more similarities than differences. The small difference may be in the ingredients used. Most foods are cooked via boiling or frying. Commonly featured, starchy vegetables include yams, plantains, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Rice is also a staple food, as is the Serer people’s sorghum couscous (called “Chereh” in Serer) particularly in Senegal and the Gambia. Jollof rice— originally from the Kingdom of Jolof (now part of modern-day Senegal) but having spread to the Wolofs of Gambia—is also enjoyed in many Western nations, as well. Mafé (proper: “Tigh-dege-na” or Domodah) from Mali (via the Bambara and Mandinka)—a peanut-butter stew served with rice; Akara (fried bean balls seasoned with spices served with sauce and bread) from Nigeria is a favorite breakfast for Gambians and Senegalese, as well as a favorite side snack or side dish in Brazil and the Caribbean just as it is in West Africa. It is said that its exact origin may be from Yorubaland in Nigeria. Fufu (from the Twi language, a dough served with a spicy stew or sauce for example okra stew, ecetera) from Ghana is enjoyed throughout the region and beyond even in Central Africa with their own versions of it. Every great kitchen around the world is defined by its pantry supply of African spices, grains and food staples and its freezer stocked with fish, meats, poultry and seafood—for making the exotic dishes found in African and West Indies cuisine. If you are a savvy shopper and want to make the exotic dishes that have shaped the world’s palate for centuries, then you are going to want to shop at Breakthrough African Market 309 Central Ave • Albany, NY (518) 426-1363 ADV www.BreakthroughAfricanMarket.com
A Taste of History DVD The PBS Emmy® Award winning A Taste of History® is a TV cooking series that explores America’s culinary beginnings from the Birthplace of American Cuisine. This innovative series brings America’s history to life and makes it vibrant as Chef Walter Staib of City Tavern steps back in time and we get to know the founders of our country through the food they ate and the recipes they prepared. For a limited time, we are promoting a FREE CONTEST for a random chance to WIN a DVD of A Taste of History... This special edition DVD includes episodes from all over the world where Staib travels to historic destinations to discover international ties to American culinary heritage. Go on-line to: www.tasteofschenectady.com and click on the “MAG” tab to enter for a chance to win a copy. WINNER OF FOUR EMMY AWARDS!