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Sudan Cuisine


Sudan is not renowned for its culinary prowess. Sudanese cuisine is varied by region, and greatly affected by the cross-cultural influences upon Sudan throughout history. Sudanese cuisine has been changing and evolving gradually, but most of the dishes remain simple and natural. In addition to the influences of the indigenous African peoples, the cuisine was influenced by Arab traders and settlers during the Ottoman Empire, who introduced spices such as red pepper and garlic, as well as Levantine dishes, Egyptian, Yemeni, Indian and Ethiopian cuisines in the eastern part.

A wide variety of stews exist in Sudan, often paired with a staple bread or porridge. Further south, fish dishes become popular. The main components of which these stews are made are dried meat, dried onions, spices and peanut butter. Other substances could be added like milk and yoghurt. These are used in preparing two well- known stews; ni'aimiya and dried ocra is used in preparing other stews like waika, bussaara and sabaroag. Miris is a stew that is made from sheep's fat, onions and dried okra. Other vegetables like potatoes, eggplants and others are used in preparing their stews meat, onions and spices.

These stews are accompanied with porridge (asseeda), which is made with wheat flour or corn. Other times kissra is used. As for the popular appetisers in Sudan, there is elmaraara and umfitit that are made of parts of sheep like the lungs, liver and stomach. To these are added onions, peanut butter and salt, it is eaten raw.

Soups are an important component of the Sudanese food, the most popular are kawari', which is made of cattle's or sheep's hoofs in addition to vegetables and spices. Also, there is elmussalammiya, which is made with liver, flour, dates and spices.

Fool, made from fava beans, is a common dish, eaten from a communal bowl sopped up with unleavened bread. Fresh fruit and vegetables are thankfully very common. Lamb is the main meat.

It is of importance to note that the main staple of the Sudanese is a special type of bread called kissra, which is made of durra or corn. Kissra is taken together with a stew and this has become the main dish in central and Sudan in general.

Northern Sudan is known for its simple cuisine, yet it could be of significance that historical evidence has proven that ancient Nubians were the first to discover wheat and from them, the world got to know about it. This explains the fact that wheat flour has still remained the staple food for the people of the north who use it in making their main dish, gourrassa. It is made of wheat and baked in a circular shape, its thickness and size change according the needs.

In the east, the most popular dish is the moukhbaza, which is made of banana paste. This part is greatly influenced by Ethiopian cuisine. In the west, each tribal group had adopted different forms of food that are basically very simple. Milk and diary products are a fundamental component to the majority of the people since most of them are cattle breeders. A distinct cereal by which the west is well-known is dukhun. It is used in preparing a thick porridge called aseeda dukhun, to that is added a stew called sharmout abiyad which is cooked with dry meat. Another form of stew is kawal, which is made from a mixture of some plants' roots that are left to leaven and dried afterwards.

As for the south, the abundance of rivers, lakes and swamps had made the people in these regions dependent on fish for their food. A popular dish is a stew named kajaik, which is cooked dried fish. It is added to the aseeda made of sorghum. Sometimes natural margarine is added to the mixture.

In Equatoria, aseeda is made of bafra, which is a plant of the same family of potatoes. A green vegetable called mouloukhiya with peanut butter (fassikh) is added to the aseeda – it is one of the most popular dishes in Central Sudan. It is made from a certain kind of fish which is leavened for sometime and after that cooked with onions, spices and tomato sauce. Fassikh is known in Egypt but they do not cook it there, instead they eat it raw. It is most probably of Nubian origin, same as eltarkeen, which could not be found any where except northern Sudan.

The local markets in the country are replete with good stocks of food, vegetables and spices. The markets also have good stocks of meat and poultry. Chicken and beef are available in most of the towns and cities in the country. Fresh fish is available in towns of Omdurman and Khartoum. The fishes are brought directly from Nile and are sold in the local markets.


As for beverages, the Sudanese has several distinct beverages that are made of some fruit that grow in Sudan like tabaldi, aradaib, karkadai and guddaim.

During Ramadan (Muslims' fasting month), one of their favourite drinks is the hilumur which is made from corn flour and spices. Also made from corn flour are aabrai abiyad and nashaa.

The strong Sudanese coffee is served from a special tin jug with a long spout, known as a jebena. The coffee is sweet and often spiced with ginger or cinnamon, and is drunk from tiny cups or glasses. Fruit and herbal teas, such as kakaday (hibiscus tea), are also popular.





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