Great tastes from Africa

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Janita Singh

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

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