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South and East Africa Map

Food in the South and East Africa

Cattle are regarded as a symbol of wealth across much of Africa. So while farmers may use them for dairy products, often the animals are not used for their meat. Many people in the South and East rely mainly on grains, beans and vegetables, with fish providing protein in coastal, lake or river regions.The domestic pig was originally introduced by the Portuguese from their Asian colonies. Ground maize or corn (called 'sweet corn' in the UK) is used as the basis for many meals. Maize flour is cooked with water to form a stiff porridge (called ugali or nsima in certain countries). Sometimes it's made into a dough. This starchy staple is served with sauces or stews.






Ugali (pronounced oo-ga-ly) is a staple starch component of many African meals, especially in southern and east Africa. It is generally made from maize flour (or ground maize) and water, and varies in consistency from porridge to a dough-like substance. When ugali is made from another starch, it is usually given a specific regional name. This is a filling dish and you won't need to eat anything else for hours. Enjoy and to good health!




Matoke (or Matooke) refer to the plantain or plantain banana in Uganda, where Plantains are a staple crop. In Uganda, plantain bananas are often wrapped in plantain leaves and steamed until tender. (Other banana-leaf cookery recipes are: Liboké de Viande and Liboké de Poisson.) This dish can be made with or without the meat. In Kenya, Tanzania, and Zanzibar, Matoke usually refers to plantains cooked with meat