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Burundian Cuisine

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Burundi - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Burundian Cuisine History!Edit

Burundi is situated in Central Africa and has a territory full of mountains, savannas and agricultural fields, with forests in the surrounding of rivers and waters. Agriculture is spread on 80 % of the country’s surface and it especially includes coffee, tea, corn, beans and manioc. Due to these characteristics, the Burundi cuisine is very representative for the African culinary culture, as it includes beans, which are the staple of Burundi cooking, exotic fruits (mainly bananas) plantains, sweet potatoes, cassava, peas, maize and cereals, like corn and Wheat. Not much meat is consumed in Burundi, due to the fact that animal breeding is a secondary occupation; still, there are some dishes that include goat and sheep meat but cows are very secret.

A major aspect when discussing the Burundian cuisine is based on the economical conditions of the country: the Burundian people usually eat homemade food, from homemade vessel, also used for drinking, carrying water and storing grain.

Cuisines of Burundi Edit

Map of Burundi

Map of Burundi- Click to enlarge

The major difference between the regions of Burundi is the fact that there aren’t many restaurants in the small towns and rural areas (in there, homemade traditional food is consumed on regular basis, including beans, plantains, bananas and corn), while in the urban areas, there can be found numerous cuisines. In the capital Bujumbura (located on the Lake Tanganyika) and in Gitega, there are various traditional restaurants, including the most popular ones, French and Greek. In all urban areas, besides the traditional cuisine of Africa and the European ones, Asian cuisine is present in many restaurants and hotels. The Asian influences are felt in the rice dishes, very spicy foods and the famous chapati. Chapati is a bread that comes from India and the recipe of the dough includes flour, water, salt and oil – these are all made in a tawa, which is a round griddle or in an iron skillet.

Preparation Methods for Burundian Cooking Edit

Burundi cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbors and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Burundi cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Burundi cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Burundi is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Burundi’s regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Burundi dishes and cured and smoked hams are often parts of delicious dishes.

Special Equipment for Burundian Cooking Edit

Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Burundi cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Burundi dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Burundi food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".

Burundian Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

The most popular Burundi celebrations include Easter, Ascension Day, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, All Saints ‘Day and Christmas. Besides these, there is the Unity Day (5th of February), as unity is a valuable Burundi concept (Burundi people even have rituals of drinking a special drink that symbolizes unity). Another traditional Burundi drink is the urwarwa, which is basically a banana wine and it is mostly served on special occasions and celebrations. The drink is homemade by the inhabitants and it is also consumed as part of a meal. One of the most enjoyed dishes when celebrating is the bananas with beans - a special recipe that is made with dried red kidney beans, green bananas (plantains are also a good option), palm oil, Onion and pepper. The beans are soaked for 3 hours and the Onion with bananas are fried for only 2 minutes – then the dish is ready to be served hot on all special occasions.

People in Burundian Food Edit

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There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking method for traditional Burundi dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Burundi chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Burundi chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.

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