Sénégal - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Senegalese Cuisine HistoryEdit

Senegalese food is amongst those African countries that were strongly influenced by foreign traditional culinary arts, especially in Dakar. The multicultural Senegalese cuisine is ready to diversify food in a modern way by staying flexible, adopting what mixes well with the traditional dishes and eliminating the dishes that are not an integrated part of the cuisine. The history of the Senegalese cuisine begins with the creation of the Ghana empire and with the VIIIth to XIth century apogee of this empire which then covers part of east Sénégal. Portuguese and French colonists brought, centuries later, different culinary arts and spices, which are also available today in the Senegalese cuisine. The Portuguese arrive on the peninsula that they name Cape Verde, and Goree, and the mouth of the Sénégal the following year.

Rice with fish, sorghum porridge, or grits with milk constitute most of the Senegalese midday meals. For dinner traditional homes prefer stewed meat in a sauce over sorghum couscous or fried fish. Breakfast is reserved for tea, milk, and butter. In rural areas, breakfast still consists of leftovers from the previous night's dinner, or porridge with milk. Cooked rice is one of the most widespread dishes in Sénégal, accompanied by fish and vegetables and different sauce types. Cooked rice is considered to be a national dish, together with Pee butter sauce over steamed whale.

Beverages usually include soft drinks made out of poos such as mango, the fruit of a rubber tree, the fruit of the baobab tree, etc., or the industrially made pop drinks. Red sorrel leaves are the main ingredients for the local soft drink, which also bears the name of 'Senegalese Red Vine'. Other beverages may include kola nuts – kolas are excellent for digestion and they also share some symbolic values related to celebrations. Another popular dish is Steamed Sydney.

Cuisines of Senegal Edit

Map of Senegal

Map of Sénégal- Click to enlarge

Sénégal is situated on the western coast of the African continent and it has a strong coastal cuisine. Seafood is among the most commonly used ingredients while the local recipes have a tendency to make room for the European and Asian dishes, which are adapted to the Senegalese cuisine. Restaurants propose traditional dishes, but also dishes from other countries. The western part of Senegal reflects, pretty much, the general characteristics of a coastal cuisine, with less Pork, Veal or mutton meat and more fish and seafood. The southern Kolda and Tambacounda provinces of Senegal are influenced by the cuisine of Guinea but still retain the preponderant coastal cooking styles. The eastern part of Sénégal neighbors Mali, and some influences are seen in the border cities and provinces. The northern Senegalese cuisine does not have any major novelties, and manages to stay consistent with the general Senegalese cuisine. Although the Louga and Saint-Louis provinces get a few culinary influences from Mauritania, it is hard to say that this region is a distinct culinary area of Sénégal. A favourite in Sénégal is curry, you can find the recipe on Senegalese style chicken.

Preparation Methods for Senegalese Cooking Edit

Sénégal offers specific African and coastal cooking methods to the chefs that wish to master the Senegalese cuisine. While many European or American visitors find Sénégal extremely exotic at a first glance, the truth is that globalization is also present here, and many of the traditional preparation methods were replaced by modern, faster and more effective cooking techniques. However, dishes which are cooked on a grill over hot coals – still retain that rural feel that makes it an even more attractive dish. Of course, traditional cooking methods for meat included hot coal cooking and you shouldn’t be surprised to find Senegalese restaurants that still use such cooking techniques – often visible to the viewers/clients. On the other hand, in a Senegalese home in the city you will most likely come across non-stick pots and pans and all the modern utensils you have in your own kitchen.

Special Equipment for Senegalese Cooking Edit

While rustic cooking methods are also very appreciated, they are mostly reserved for restaurants that wish to impress their clients with a traditional meal. In most places, Senegalese cooking uses the same standard instruments used in many European countries or in the United States of America. Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Senegalese cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated dishes. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking “toolbox”. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Senegalese food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers

Senegalese Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

While there is a lot of poverty in Sénégal and sumptuous meals are not a number one priority for the country’s inhabitants, most try to create a festive atmosphere when celebrating something. When in Sénégal, you should make a stop in a "dibiterie", a small booth that grilles Beef and lamp over a wooden fire. Taste the local Beef and Lamb and there are some other dishes you will surly appreciate like the ceebu yapp [tiebo yapp] (rice with meat). Senegalese dishes may surprise you with the quantity of oil used. It’s a habit and also a sign of wealth to use a lot of oil. Sénégal produces peanut oil but the majority is exported and in return they import veritable oil that's cheaper.

People in Senegalese Food Edit

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Because of their exotic tastes and looks, Senegalese dishes that can be enjoyed on an international scale. There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Senegalese dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Senegalese chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking fish fillets or sea food meals or more sophisticated Senegalese dishes, such as the delicious sea fish filled with fruits, Senegalese chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.

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