Different cultures eat different grains. Many Asian cultures, for example, eat a lot of rice. In the United States, lots of wheat is consumed. As the African content is vast and is home to a variety of cultures, there are actually quite a few unique grains consumed there. If you visit an African store, here are a few of the key grains to shop for while you're there.
The word "maize" refers to the same grain that's known as "corn" in the United States. Maize is used often in Africa. The type that is used is a harder, coarse grain similar to field corn — not sweet corn like Americans eat off the cob. At an African store, you will likely see ground maize being sold. This is similar to cornmeal or grits. The traditional way to cook it is in water or milk, creating a porridge. You may also see some seasoned maize mixes that are meant to be used for making quick, savory porridge or even a type of maize dumpling known as fufu.
Teff is a tiny grain that is cultivated in Ethiopia and is used, to a smaller extent, in neighboring African countries. The grains themselves are incredibly small — about the size of a poppy seed. Ethiopians use it to make a type of flatbread called injera. It's also cooked and seasoned in a manner similar to rice and then served as a side dish. At an African store, you may see bulk teff, along with pre-made bread and grain mixes made with teff.
Sorghum is a small grain that is often consumed in Sudan, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, and neighboring countries. Many different varieties are grown. Some are ground and made into flour that can be baked into bread. Others are used to make porridge or to thicken stew. Sorghum has a really rich flavor and is well worth trying if you can find it in an African store.
Millet is common in West Africa and is prized for its high nutritional value when compared to other grains. It has been highly cultivated over the years, and modern varieties show good resistance to drought, which means they thrive even in years of light rainfall. You'll see millet sold as whole grains in most African stores. They can be added to soups and stews, or cooked and served as seasoned side dishes.
Each of these grains has a unique place in African cuisines. For more information, contact an African store near you.Share
8 March 2022
Hello everyone, my name is Jorgio Aislen. I would love to share my knowledge about specialty foods on this site. I have traveled all around the world, sampling each region's ingredients on their own and prepared in exotic meals. I would like to talk about the various ways these foods are prepared and presented. I will also discuss the nutritional values of foods found in each region. I hope you will visit my site on a regular basis to increase your knowledge of specialty food ingredients. I will update often to keep everyone informed about this interesting subject. Please feel free to visit often.