West African Food - All About Healthy Eating Habits!

Posted by javanuddin on Saturday, March 17, 2012

Unlike many other parts of the great African continent, West Africans can boast of more healthy eating habits. Nigeria and other coastal parts of West Africa are generally fonder of chilies in food than other African cuisine entertains. Many coastal recipes include fish prepared in different ways. Often the fish is marinated in ginger, tomatoes, and cayenne, and then cooked in peanut oil.

Thanks to the influence of French cooking styles in Senegal, chefs often use lime juice, chopped vegetables including scallions, garlic and marinades as additions to their meals. One would also find that peanut oil, palm oil, and often coconut oils are common ingredients in all dishes. The black eyed pea is a staple of West Africa. Okra, known also in South America, is native to Africa. It is often used in many dishes to thicken soups and stews. With regards to the fruits bananas and coconuts are of particular importance.

Within each locality one will find that there are numerous wild fruits and greens that are used in all different manners of cooking. Yam feast days are common, this often accompanied with eggs. West African cuisine delights in the making of croquettes particularly when made of yams and fried in peanut oil. Along with the banana and plantain, which is really the starchy vegetable form of banana, these comprise the most important elements of the diet.

Basic cooking techniques of West Africa often combine fish and meat. In fact a very popular and highly flavored stew of this is made by adding flaked and dried fish to heated oil and combined with chicken, yam, onions, chili oil and water. Most West Africans don't fancy hard meat and as a result, one would find that beef and mutton are not common in West Africa. It is in fact used mostly as a condiment; as it is very tough. Thus the West African diet tends to be a little healthier above the other cuisines of Africa as it boasts of fish and chicken based meats.

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