East African Food Facts
The mystery that is East African cuisine varies from area to area. For example in the inland savannah, the traditional diet of cattle-keeping peoples is distinctive in its absence of meat. Basically Cattle, sheep and goats were regarded as a form of currency and a store of wealth, the latter means the cattle were not generally consumed as food. In some East African countries and tribes traditional people consume the Milk and Blood instead of meat, yet still in some regions people farm and grow a variety of grains and vegetables. Maize (corn) is the basis of ugali, the East African version of West Africa’s fufu. Ugali is a starch dish eaten with meats or stews.
Due to the Arab influences as spread by settlers from Yemen, Arabic influences are especially reflected in some dishes for example in the Swahili cuisine of the coast, steamed cooked rice with spices in Persian style, use of saffron, cloves, cinnamon and several other spices, and pomegranate juice.
In regards to beverages milk based drinks have been served within tribal groups for many a year and with several foreign influences differing taste versions have been created.
Horn of Africa
A much maligned area many fantastic discoveries are still being documented. Including the sub areas and states within such countries as Somalia and Ethiopia, the main traditional dishes in Ethiopian cuisine and Eritrean cuisine are tsebhis (stews) served with injera (flatbread made from teff, wheat, or sorghum), and hilbet (paste made from legumes, mainly lentil, faba beans). Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine (especially in the northern half) are very similar, given the shared history of the two countries. Eritrean and Ethiopian food habits vary regionally. In the highlands, injera is the staple diet and is eaten daily among the Tigrinya. Injera is made out of a variation and/or blend of: teff, wheat, barley, sorghum and corn and resembles a spongy, slightly sour pancake. In these tribal lands when families eat, they generally share food from a large tray placed in the centre of a low dining table.