Great tastes from Africa
AFRICAN cuisine is as diverse as the hundreds of different cultures and groups of people that inhabit the continent.
But not much is known about this colourful cuisine in Australia. This is about to change with Flavours of Auburn & Beyond, a tourism initiative to showcase the culinary and cultural diversity of people living in the Cumberland Council area.
Saada Abdikarim from Granville will run an African cooking class as part of the festival.
Originally from Somalia, she says cuisine from this part of the world is packed with vegetables, grains and spicy meat.
“Flavours of Africa will bring feasts from the Horn of African, foods from Ethiopia, Somalia and the Sudan. The food is a fusion of different culinary traditions, with some Arab and Indian influences as well,’’ she says.
“African cuisine varies depending on the region you are from but most food from the Horn of African is the traditional crops/meats with influences of spices that traders brought.”
African food is also about family and community. “One makes big pots of food for all to share,’’ Abdikarim says. “Most food is built around a nomadic lifestyle Africans live that encourages a food history rich in its meat offerings.”
Slow cooking and frying are the most common methods of cooking.
Abdikarim, who is a social worker, says Flavours of Auburn was a chance to showcase African flavours.
“Australians are open to all beautiful cuisine and we are hoping to make this cuisine part of everyday food,” she says.
Abdikarim says her favourite dish is a curry called suqaar made up of meat and vegetables reduced to gravy and served alongside fried rice.
“Like recipes, cooking is a ritual passed from generation to generation in Somalia, a culture that celebrates a strong sense of hospitality,” she says.
Saada Abdikarim (centre) with Mariam Shukri (left) and Fatma Isir. Picture: Justin Sanson