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A Taste Of Africa Food Glossary

African Food Search (UK £)

The author Dorinda Hafner has travelled to the many countries Egypt, Morocco, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and other more non-African: Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba, Louisiana (USA) where African cooking has taken root (each gets its own chapter with several recipes) in her cook book A Taste Of Africa. Here are the book's glossary of terms.

  • ablémamu or ablemamu roasted ground corn. A thickening agent from Ghana made by grinding dry roasted maize to a powder.
  • ackee edible fruit (when cooked) of seed pods of Blighia sapida, a tree common to Africa and the Caribbean. Available fresh or tinned
  • apem baby plantain
  • aportoryiwa (Ghana) a round earthenware bowl of the Akan tribe
  • banku (Ghana) cornmeal dumpling
  • berberé or berbere (Ethiopia) a dry spice seasoning, usually include chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni
  • cajun a person born in Louisiana and descended from the French exiles of Acadia in Canada
  • collalooo a green-leafed plant used as a form of spinach in the West Indies
  • capsicum sweet or bell pepper
  • chilli hot pepper
  • chinchin sweet West African dough balls
  • cocoyam taro
  • coriander cilantro
  • corn yellow maize
  • cornflour cornstarch
  • couscous durum wheat grains
  • creole originally those of European (particularly French and Spanish) descent born in the West Indies, Spanish America or the southern United States. Also a person born in the West Indies or Spanish America and descended from African slaves. Also a person of mixed European and African ancestry in those places
  • dasheen a term by which varieties of 'spinach' are known in some Caribbean countries
  • dende oil (Brazil) palm oil
  • eggplant aubergine
  • egushi pumpkin seeds. Also known as pepitas
  • eta (Ghana) flat-ended Ashanti wooden mosher
  • fufu a variety of dumpling frequently made from root vegetables. Also known as foofoo in the West Indies
  • fuul medames a variety of brown broadbean, particularly popular in Egypt in a dish of the same name
  • gari coarse cassava powder. Also known as manioc or in Brazil as farinhe de mandioca and in French-speaking countries as farine de manioc
  • groundnuts peanuts
  • gumbo a thick soup or stew, generally containing okro (okra) amongst many other ingredients, and popular in Africa, the Caribbean and the southern United States
  • gungo peas Jamaican term for pigeon peas
  • hamine eggs eggs boiled in their shells in stew or soups to take up the colour and flavour. Popular in Egypt
  • jollof a West African risotto
  • kaawe or kaawé traditional African cooking (meat tenderising) stone
  • kenkey wrapped cornmeal dumpling (general term)
  • komi (Ghana) corn dumpling (Ga regional terminology)
  • kontomirie or kontomirié leaves of the cocoyam (taro) plant
  • kubecake West African coconut rum balls
  • loo (Ghana) fish or meat (Ga regional terminology)
  • manioc coarse cassava powder. Also known as gari in West Africa, farinhe de mandioca in Brazil and farine de manioc in French-speaking countries
  • makhrata Egyptian double-handed metal chopper
  • mashamba a local variety of Zimbabwean pumpkin
  • mealie meal Southern African thickened corn porridge
  • mchicha leafy plant similar to spinach (silver beet), a staple food in Tanzania
  • mitmita (Ethiopia) a variety of yellow pepper moi-moi Nigerian savoury bean pate (paté)
  • pepita pumpkin seed. Also known as egushi
  • plantain a member of the banana family. Should only be eaten when cooked
  • pawpaw papaya rapoko red millet flour
  • sadza (Zimbabwe) white maize or millet dumpling shallots spring onions
  • shitor (Ghana) chilli sambal
  • snow peas mange tout
  • spinach silver beet. Also a generic term used for different edible green leaves of plants indigenous to various African or Caribbean countries, such as callaloo, dasheen, etc
  • wot Ethiopian stew
  • zucchini courgette

Source: A Taste Of Africa By Dorinda Hafner. Traditional recipes and adapted for the modern home cook.

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