East meets West is a notion bringing out certain similarities between East African and West African cuisines. It seeks to highlight some of our similar cuisines, recipes and spices despite geographical and preferential differences.
One thing about Africans is our love for fresh, home-cooked meals. Thanks to our fertile lands, waterbodies and forests we have a variety of vegetables, fruits and meats provided to us by our beautiful land. We believe food should be shared with the whole community and everyone is welcome at our table. For this reason, it is rare to find an African house without food. Enough food is prepared just in case a guest shows up unexpectedly.
East Africa encompasses Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and even Rwanda. West Africa, on the other hand, involves Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Gambia, Benin, Mali, and Sierra Leone among others. These two vast African regions share similarities in some cultures, traditional materials such as the kente and khanga, and food among many other things. However, our main focus is on delectable delicacies.
African cuisines present a variety of fruits, meats, nuts, spices, pulses, seeds and root tubers. Both regions cherish food. A variety of from different areas, with different names. They might have similar looks, slightly similar tastes, spices, or recipes and can be eaten with similar accompaniments.
Semolina and Ugali
Semolina is a West African meal prepared with durum wheat flour and butter. It is cooked just like Kenyan ugali which is made from maize flour by stirring the flour in hot water until it forms a thick, well-cooked paste. Both are eaten with various soups and stews, vegetables, and assorted meat dishes.
Jollof and Pilau
Pilau is a fragrant and spicy East African rice dish cooked with various spices, meat stock and rice. It is richly flavored and loved here in the East. Similarly, Jollof is a West African rice dish with tomatoes as the main ingredient. Prepared with long grain rice, spices, meats, and vegetables with different cooking methods depending on the West African country of origin.
Matoke(Bananas) and Dodo (Fried Plantain)
Matoke is a Ugandan cuisine prepared with green bananas. It is served in different ways, a favorite boiled whole and eaten with various meat stews, peanut sauce and vegetables. Contrastingly, Dodo is a West African delicacy prepared with fried sweet plantain. It can be eaten without stew as it is very sweet and can also act as a snack.
Peanut and Groundnut Sauce
Ugandan peanut sauce is prepared with minimal ingredients, peanuts are the center of attention. It is simmered for 2-3 minutes after blending the boiled peanuts then cooked in cooking oil and various spices. Nigerian groundnut sauce has a similar method of preparation, however, it utilizes a much larger variety of ingredients including various lumps of meat and their stocks. Eaten with rice, and sweet potatoes among other accompaniments.
Both regions enjoy fish stews, soups and deep-fried with kachumbari, especially in East Africa. West Africans include various fish in many of their recipes with assorted meats as compared to the East.
We have highlighted a few meals we deem similar despite there being a spectrum of shared delicacies and culture.