Cooking Methods Common To African Cuisine

Which methods of food preparation are commonly used in Africa? Here is an introduction to a few cooking methods common in African cuisine:

1. Roasting

Roasting refers to cooking food over an open fire, without water. The fire may be an open wood fireplace or a hearth, or a charcoal burner. Foods that are often roasted in Africa include meat, fish, tubers such as sweet potatoes, arrow roots, Irish potatoes and cassava, as well as some types of banana.

2. Boiling

Boiling refers to cooking food with water, without oil. Frequently, an earthen ware cooking pot may be used. Cooking utensils made of metal or other materials are also gaining in popularity.

Foods that are boiled include vegetables, pulses such as peas and beans, tubers such as potatoes and cassava, and grains such as rice. In northern Uganda, odii – groundnut paste, is added to the boiled dish as a sauce.

3. Steaming

In southern Uganda, steaming is an important method of food preparation. Cooking bananas – matoke – are steamed inside banana leaves, over a pot full of boiling water. Fish, meat and vegetables are also wrapped in banana leaves and steamed.

Steaming is a recommended cooking method because it is said to better preserve the nutritive value of foods.

4. Immigrant populations to Africa have brought with them their own ways of preparing food, such as frying food. Frying food was traditionally uncommon to African cuisine, but has now been adopted by almost everyone. Frying refers to cooking food with cooking oil, as well as the possible addition of onions and tomatoes.

It is now common to fry all types of foodstuffs: meat, fish, pulses, vegetables and pastries.

5. Baking

While baking is slowly making inroads into African cuisine, it is still very much a new cooking method, not yet very widespread except in bakeries. Baking is certainly not yet as widespread as in western societies, where not just bread and cakes are baked, but also pies, pastries, melted cheese dishes and other foods.

Factors Affecting Microwave Recipes Cooking


Several factors which influence timing and results in conventional cooking are exaggerated by microwave speed..

From conventional cooking you are familiar with the idea that more food takes more time.

Two cups of water take longer to boil than one.

Size of food is important, too.

Cut up potatoes cook faster than whole ones.

These differences are more apparent in microwaving, since energy penetrates and turns to heat directly in the food.

Knowing what affects the speed and evenness of cooking will help you enjoy all the advantages of microwaving.

Piece Size: In both conventional and microwave cook-ing, small pieces cook faster than large ones. Pieces which are similar in size and shape cook more evenly.

Starting Temperature: Foods taken from the refrigerator take longer to cook than foods at room temperature. Timings in our recipes are based on the temperatures at which you normally store the foods.

Density of Food: In both conventional and microwave cooking, dense foods, such as a potato, take longer to cook or heat than light, porous foods, such as a piece of cake, bread or a roll.

Quantity of Food: In both types of cooking, small amounts usually take less time than large ones. This is most apparent in microwave cooking, where time is di-rectly related to the number of servings. Shape of Food: In both types of cooking, thin areas cook faster than thick ones. This can be controlled in micro-waving by placing thick pieces to the outside edge with thin pieces to the center.

Height in Oven: In both types of cooking, areas which are closest to the source of heat or energy cook faster. For even microwaving, turn over or shield vulnerable foods which are higher than 5 inches.

Boiling: Microwaves exaggerate boiling in milk-based foods. A temperature probe turns off the oven before foods boil over. Use a lower power setting and watch carefully when not using a probe. Prick Foods to Release Pressure: Steam builds up pressure in foods which are tightly covered by a skin or membrane. Prick potatoes (as you do conventionally), egg yolks and chicken livers to prevent bursting.

Round Shapes: Since microwaves penetrate foods to about 1 -in. from top, bottom and sides, round shapes and rings cook more evenly. Corners receive more energy and may overcook. This may also happen conventionally

Tips To Be More Energy Efficient When Cooking

If you are worried about your utility bills, it is time to look for ways through which you can make your home more energy efficient. There are simple approaches that you can use to cut your energy costs without even compromising on your home conveniences. Small practices can save you large amounts of money even when cooking. Here are a few tips that you can use when cooking to make the process more energy efficient in your home.

1. Stock up your oven and save time and energy. Baking one meal in your oven can be really costly because these appliances do not really come with the option of heating just one shelf. With this in mind, try and bake several meals at a time so that you get the most from your energy use on that one session. It is a very simple approach of saving energy on heating. Make a plan of meals that you can cook together in one session and see the difference that it makes compared to cooking one at a time.

2. Let the cooking heat your home. Leaving your oven door open after you are done cooking can warm up your home, hence giving you no reason to use your home heating system to enjoy the warmth that you require. Try and guide the heat back into your kitchen compared to letting it waste out from your extractor fan. Using up the stored heat is far more beneficial, especially considering that ovens rarely have any smoke that would be dangerous when allowed to flow into your house.

3. When it is time to wash dishes, scrape them off any food and dirt before you place them in the dishwasher. This saves the amount of energy used in getting them thoroughly cleaned. It is also important to avoid pre-rinsing your dishes in warm or hot water prior to placing them in the washer. Let the dishwasher handle the process and you would have saved a little energy.

4. Keep your freezer and fridge well stocked so that they don’t end up working too hard. When there is just enough in your fridge and freezer, then there is less consumption of energy compared to when they are half empty. Empty spaces can end up wasting energy and space, hence the need to make the most of the space that you have. You however, should make sure that you do not end up over filling them as it can be difficult to keep everything cool in such a situation.