Citizens, today I am proud to give you a superb recipe from one of the great culinary crossroads of Africa – Cameroon!
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon (French: République du Cameroun), is a country in Central Africa . It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon’s coastline lies on the Bight of Bonny, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Cameroon is home to more than 1738 different linguistic groups. French and English are the official languages. The country is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. The largest cities in population-terms are Douala on the Wouri river, its economical capital and main seaport, Yaoundé, its political capital, and Garoua.
After independence, the newly united nation joined the Commonwealth of Nations, although the vast majority of its territories had previously been a German colony and, after World War I, a French mandate. The country is well known for its native styles of music, particularly makossa and bikutsi, and for its successful national football team.
Early inhabitants of the territory included the Sao civilisation around Lake Chad and the Baka hunter-gatherers in the southeastern rainforest. Portuguese explorers reached the coast in the 15th century and named the area Rio dos Camarões (Shrimp River), which became Cameroon in English. Fulani soldiers founded the Adamawa Emirate in the north in the 19th century, and various ethnic groups of the west and northwest established powerful chiefdoms and fondoms. Cameroon became a German colony in 1884 known as Kamerun.
After World War I, the territory was divided between France and the United Kingdom as League of Nations mandates. The Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC) political party advocated independence, but was outlawed by France in the 1950s. It waged war on French and UPC militant forces until 1971. In 1960, the French-administered part of Cameroon became independent as the Republic of Cameroun under President Ahmadou Ahidjo. The southern part of British Cameroons merged with it in 1961 to form the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The country was renamed the United Republic of Cameroon in 1972 and the Republic of Cameroon in 1984.
Cameroon enjoys relatively high political and social stability. This has permitted the development of agriculture, roads, railways, and large petroleum and timber industries.
Cameroonian cuisine is one of the most varied in Africa due to its location on the crossroads between the north, west, and centre of the continent; added to this is the profound influence of French food, a legacy of the colonial era.
Staple foods in Cameroon include cassava, cocoyam, yam, rice, plantain, potato, maize, beans, millet, ndole, and achu. The French introduced French bread and Italian pasta, which are not as widely consumed, however, due to their price. The main source of protein for most inhabitants is fish, with poultry and meat being too expensive for anything other than special occasions. Bush meat, however, is commonly consumed, some of the most sought-after species being the pangolin, the porcupine and the giant rat.
Given that Cameroon was colonised repeatedly, New World staples were introduced several centuries ago, as well as European cooking techniques and culture. It is also influenced by its geography, with distinct differences between its North and South regions. Cameroon is made up of over 250 ethnic groups and cuisine differs between ethnic group and also by region.
Among Cameroonian specialties are brochettes, known locally as soya (a kind of barbecued kebab made from either chicken, beef, or goat), sangah (a mixture of maize, cassava leaf and palmnut juice, mbanga Soup and kwacoco), Eru and water fufu, ndolé (a spicy stew containing bitterleaf greens, meat, shrimp, pork rind, and peanut paste), koki (primarily consisting of black eyed peas and red palm oil), achu or taro (cocoyam fufu with an orange/yellow red palm oil soup) and many others.
Curries, soups and fish dishes abound, as well as meats on skewers. Insects are eaten in some parts of the country (particularly the forested regions).
I’ve adapted this classic curry recipe slightly – adding in a touch of peanut butter (found in many West African meat stews) as it balances out the flavors nicely and also added some sliced bell peppers for color and flavor. You will definitely love this recipe, my Citizens! ☺
Battle on – The Generalissimo