The continent of Africa is the second largest landmass on Earth, and is home to hundreds of different cultural and ethnic groups. This diversity is also reflected in the many local culinary traditions in terms of choice of ingredients, style of preparation and cooking techniques. And as such, it is a little difficult to generalise in terms of cuisine.
Variations on tastes and cooking techniques differ, depending on the environment as well as locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables, as well as milk and meat products.
It is a direct result of this vast difference in tastes and recipes, that leave African cuisine open to being led into the mainstream. Of course, the slow cooked stews of North Africa have already started to make the move into popular consciousness, with a flurry of essentials, such as preserved lemons, harissa paste and Tagines being readily available, while Southern African Brais and Biltong are relatively common. And yet, the culinary surface has only been scratched.
It’s against this backdrop, that I came across Kitchen’s of Africa. While not the first company to attempt to literally bottle the spirit of Africa (see Delta Spices and Marinades or Mama Africa’s Sauces), they are certainly one of the most stylish.
Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, Kitchens of Africa is a U.S. company, whose roots extend all the way to The Gambia, a tiny country in the western part of Africa, where founder, Jainaba Jeng was born and raised. Her simmer sauces and jerk pastes allow authentic African cuisine to be easily prepared at home with fantastic results. Kitchens of Africa products eliminate the endless ingredient sourcing, lengthy prep work and countless hours of slow cooking. What once would have taken you hours to make, can now be on your dinner table in minutes.
The complete range consists of 3 jerk pastes, as well as Yassa simmer sauce – anonion based sauce that can be used for chicken or Maffé Peanut simmer sauce a slightly sweet, spicy and tangy sauce that balances the rich and nutty peanut flavour.