Africans make use of unique spice blends in their cooking. Spices and herbs have been used in the African tradition since time immemorial. These spices are meant to add flavor to their staple foods e.g. seafood, lamb, chicken, couscous and all soups.
The spices are used according to individual taste and preference and availability. Most African spices are not packaged. They are usually enhanced with special accessories like mortar and pestle which they use to process their spices.
They do the pounding, sifting, blending and mixing of the spices before they are ready for use. African spices are mostly made from dried roots and barks of special plants.
An example of the different spices used in different African countries are;
- Berbere –This is an African spice which is a native of Eritrea and Ethiopia. It is a mixture of several spices that include fenugreek, coriander, allspice, cloves, ginger, basil leaves, chile/white/black peppers, garlic and several others. It is used in most African dishes. To preserve the spice, it should be stored in an airtight container.
- Ras el Hanout – This is a Moroccan spice that contains more than 30 blended ingredients. Some of the most common spices that form a base of this spice are; cayenne pepper, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, cumin, ginger and turmeric. This spice is used by most Africans in dishes like couscous, lamb and chicken.
- Cubeb – This is a type of pepper that is mostly used in North and West African cuisines. It is used as a spice and also for its health and medicinal benefits. Most Africans use Cubeb spice as a diuretic, for the treatment of infertility, bad breath, provide warmth in the body, an antiseptic and also to relieve throat pain.
There are several other African spices used in African food recipes, however these are among the best. If you are keen on surprising your friends be they from Africa or not, you can give them gifts of these African spices.
They will definitely be grateful to receive them since the spices will bring back precious memories. The uniqueness in most African spices is seen through their many uses apart from only being used as a flavor enhancer.
They have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes by several African cultures. Most African spices are known to increase the production of endogenous endorphins in the body.
Thus they perfectly act as pain killers and mood enhancers, they dilate bronchioles and they are also good sources of vitamins A, C and E. They are also high in micro elements, oils and simple proteins. Why not add a little flavor to your food today by using these spices.