At Ekaterra, we're all about exploring the rich indigenous flavors used across West Africa and into Cameroon with you. From traditional recipes to nouveau applications.
West Africa is the westernmost region of the Continent of Africa, and is home to an estimated 381 million people (about 31% of the African population). The United Nations defines West Africa as the region consisting of 16 countries from Nigeria in the East to Cape Verde to the West; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. A little known fact is that West Africa also includes these little islands in the middle of the Atlantic known as the United Kingdom Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. The Lingua-Franca of the region are English (Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia), Portuguese (Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde), and French (the rest of the region).
When it comes to food, there are so many similarities in cuisine and ingredients across this region. Those similarities reach as far as the West Central African country of Cameroon - which borders Nigeria and which, in Ekaterra world, really is part of West Africa. In many West African cultures, one never eats alone. One always invites or gets invited to share meals, no matter how small those meals are. Food binds us as a people across borders and across tribes.
Yams, cocoyams, cassava, rice, peppers, okra, onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, African spinach, are some of the staples popularly consumed across the region. Many spices and herbs such as grains of selim, alligator pepper, African calabash nutmeg, scent leaf, to name a few, feature in traditional dishes spanning across borders and tribes. The geography of the region ranges from deep swamps, thick tropical rain forests to Sahel Sahara grasslands and semi dessert land creating a home for rich food biodiversity from north to south, east to west.
Many of our indenous spices are slowly disappearing from our kitchens, being replaced by imported and processed condiments. At Ekaterra, we're doing our best to bring these exotic spices and the stories behind them directly to you.