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Sudanese Cuisine

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Sudan - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Sudanese Cuisine HistoryEdit

Sudan (Jumhuriyat ad-Dimuqratiya as-Sudan) is the widest African state, situated in the North-East Africa. The natural space of Sudan is characterized by tropical forests, steppes and savannas, but there are also a lot of lakes and rivers in the Southern areas; in this region, the fish is the most frequent meal.

Sudanese cuisine has been changing and evolving gradually, but most of the dishes remain simple and natural. The most common aliments are Wheat, Beef and sheep meat, tomatoes, sesame seeds (Sudan is a great exporter of sesame) and rice.

An important matter when discussing the Sudanese cooking evolution is spices matter. The basic spices, like the peppers or garlic were brought in Sudan by the Arab and Syrian traders and settlers, who established in Sudan, during the Turkish rule. Besides the spices, the Arabians also introduced some of the veggies and fruits that are used today in Sudan, but unknown in this country before these influences.

Sudanese cuisine has various influences, but none of them is dominating the regional culinary cultures. Among these, there is the Egyptian cuisine, the Ethiopian and the Turkish one (meatballs, pastries and spices), but there are also numerous dishes that are specific to all Arabian nations.

Cuisines of Sudan Edit

The Northern Sudan tends to have a very simple cuisine. In here, when it was a food crisis back in older times and wheat flour was the basic ingredients, people invented a dish called gourrassa, made of Wheat and in a circular shape.

In the East of the country, the moukhbaza is the most consumed dish, made of banana paste. In this part of Sudan, the Ethiopian influences are very much felt in the local culinary culture.

In the West, there are many tribal groups with different cooking styles, but all foods remain simple. Dairy products and milk are the staple aliments, as cows and sheep are met everywhere in the West. The porridge is locally called aseeda dukhun, which is served with a dry meat stew, called sharmout abiyad. Stews are also made with vegetable roots, like the mix kawal stew.

In the South of Sudan, there are many rivers and swamps, so this region has a unique flora and fauna. Among the most common meals, there are the fish dishes, which are consumed with rice or porridge. In the South, the aseeda is made with sorghum, bafra (plant similar to potatoes), mouloukhiya and Peanut butter.

In the centre of the country, there is the fassikh, made of fish with onions and tomato sauce. In this region, the Egyptian influences are very obvious.

Preparation Methods for Sudanese Cooking Edit

In the case of shorba, the simmer is needed for 1 entire hour, until the veggies are thoroughly cooked. For the maschi, a special scooping technique is done to get out all the flesh from inside the tomatoes – this is scooped out with a spoon. tomatoes are rolled afterwards gently until they get a really dark color. Melting the butter or pre-heating the vegetable oil is done for almost all dishes. Olives are used as a topping and decorations are part of the Sudanese dishes almost all the times. The salatet zabady bil ajur salad needs refrigerating for 2–4 hours before serving, so more time is needed when considering preparing such a dish. All the tomatoes that are included in the meals are firstly peeled - a custom which is not considered necessary in the Western cuisine; the cucumbers are peeled, as well, and many of the meats and veggies are bite-sized cut.

Special Equipment for Sudanese Cooking Edit

A grinder is very much needed when cooking a Sudanese dish, as there are many spices, like all colors of pepper or cumin, that require grinding before incorporating them. A sauté pan is needed, even for preparing the vegetarian hamburgers, as these require oil heating. Small knifes are used to peel some of the soft fresh or boiled vegetables and some fruits, while chopping the meat is done with bigger knives. Besides the common pots, the technical instruments include condensate pots, orifice plates, flow elements and catch pots in different shapes and sizes. All these are used when cooking the same meal, as Sudanese dishes are often divided into several steps and procedures that must be followed. The dinner is set on a low table with a plain cover, surrounded by cushions and the food is brought on large trays. The salads and the soups are served in small individual bowls and the meat dish is brought on a tray and served at the table. Also, Sudanese people enjoy the sandalwood scent, so they fill the room with this special smell while serving the dinner.

Sudanese Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

Sudanese people are Muslims and religion is a very important part of their life and culture. There are a couple of important religious celebrations in Sudan: the Ramadan, Eid al-fitr, and Eid-al Adha. Ramadan is a long period of fasting (30 days), when people don’t eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset. That is why, when Ramadan ends, Sudanese people refer to the following period as Eid al-Fitr, colloquially known as Eid al-sag'eer (the small Eid). Still, at nighttime, there are generous feasts and meals during the Ramadan, which include sah'ur, a meal taken in the late night.

On the other major religious holiday, Eid al-Adha (known as Eid al-kabir, or the big Eid), which takes place during Hajj, all the families sacrifice a sheep. Other calibrations in Sudan include Moulid Al Nabi or The Prophet’s Birthday and it is mainly celebrated with a lot of sweets and refreshments in the central town areas. The Spring Holiday, locally known as Sham Al Nassim is connected to the Egyptian culture and celebrates the spring. On this occasion, picnics are very frequent on the river coasts.

People in Sudanese Food Edit

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Sudanese people are very hospitable people, who like a lot having and serving guests. When a guest arrives for dinner, the host offers him a small glass of orange or grapefruit juice, to start the appetite and to welcome him to the family, after his long and exhausting journey. Also, if someone is considered a very important guest, a sheep will be sacrificed in his honor and then many delicious dishes will be prepared. The Sudanese people are gifted with creativity, cooking skills and with a range of culinary possibilities that includes rice, sesame, sheep and Beef. The Sudanese people carried on the traditions through their cooking and all participated to the cultural Sudanese cuisine. Sudanese people are in touch with the nature and all its elements. They take all the elements that the nature has shown them and prepare innovating mixes, special dips, creative meat dishes and spiced garnishes.

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