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Established 2008 Chic African Culture teaches the history of African-food recipes and African-cultures, art, music, and oral literature.

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The person who is not patient cannot eat well-cooked dishes. -African Proverb

Sunday, January 31, 2016

African Pottery Traditional Functional Art

The making of pottery in Africa began around 6000 BC and continues to this day in the many regions on the African continent. 



Tools used to make pottery are anything easily available such as a rock with a somewhat flat bottom, or a stick.
Forming a large clay pot by hand
Pottery is clay that is modeled, dried, and fired having practical uses in cooking, storing food, eating, drinking, and as ceremonial vessels. In most cases, pottery is made by women. Clay pots are often thick created from clay, sand, and water and used daily in African life. 

African pottery artists have always used raw materials easily found in the environment. 
After drying, the pots are put around a pile of wood, bark or dried animal dung and baked outdoors in a large open fire for many hours.
Pots ready for firing

Clay is found in abundance everywhere on the African continent. Gathering the right type of clay is the first step, African women who have been making pots for generations are able to recognize good clay and other materials for making durable pottery.

Pottery has a utilitarian use in cooking, storing food items, eating, drinking, and as ritual vessels. Tools used to make pottery are anything easily available such as a rock with a somewhat flat bottom, or a stick. 



Clay is worked by hand and shaped and fashioned into the desired shape free hand by pinching, coiling, and slabs work.
Adding coils to the pot
Clay is worked by hand and shaped and fashioned into the desired shape free hand by pinching, coiling, and slabs work. Coiling is the technique of rolling out coils of clay and joining to the pot using slip. Coiling has been used to shape clay into vessels for many thousands of years in Africa. After drying, the pots are put around a pile of wood, bark or dried animal dung and baked outdoors in a large open fire for many hours. 

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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Creamy Cheesy Plantain Gratin Recipe

Plantains, creamy sauce, and spices in this classic gratin recipe dish combine to make a delightful new food experience.



Plantains are an important staple food in Africa especially in Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Uganda. What are plantains? Plantains are fruits that resemble bananas but are longer, have a thicker skin, and contain more starch.

Creamy Cheesy Plantain Gratin Recipe


Creamy Cheesy Plantain Gratin Recipe
Creamy Cheesy Plantain Gratin Recipe
Ingredients:
3 peeled and chopped green plantains
1 cup any grated medium-hard cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup plain breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add plantains to a large pot of boiling water, boil 5 minutes. Drain plantains set aside. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, add the flour and whisk thoroughly. Gradually add the milk, whisking until it thickens, then stir in seasonings and cheese. Put a layer of plantains in an 8x8 baking dish, sprinkle some cheese over them, then add a layer of sauce. Repeat the layers. Sprinkle the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs over the top. Bake 15 minutes until golden brown. 

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Banksy African Street and Graffiti Art

Unknown stencil street and graffiti artist Banksy visual voice uses spray paint and stencils to paint the image of society’s troubles and humor on walls across Africa and the world.


Who is Banksy?


Graffiti artwork by Banksy, a zebra's black stripes are hung out to dry in the sun
Banksy's zebra's black stripes
Banksy is a graffiti and street artist master, political activist and an Oscar and Academy Award nominated film director whose real identity is unknown. He is famous for stenciled graffiti on buildings and walls across Africa and around the world. Banksy was selected as Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in 2010.

The first modern graffiti artist is widely considered to be Cornbread, a high school student from Philadelphia Pennsylvania in the United States, who in 1967 started tagging to get the attention of a girl he loved.

Back in the 1970s, graffiti was an illegal counterculture associated with the grimy streets and subway cars of New York City. However, these days the universal spray can art of graffiti is found around the world, and Africa is no exception. Graffiti art ranges from underground artists who work on the street to the mainstream artists selling work in galleries for over $100,000.

Graffiti and street art can be a positive force giving political activists a visual voice and making cultural statements throughout underserved communities.
Graffiti Africa
Graffiti and street art can be a positive force giving political activists a visual voice and making cultural statements throughout underserved communities. In one well-known graffiti artwork by Banksy, a zebra's black stripes are hung out to dry in the sun in a region of Africa's Mali or possibly Egypt where shortages of water have created drought conditions for millions.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Simple Fried African Fish Cakes Recipe

From Africa to the United States, fish is an abundant resource that contributes significantly to daily food, income and employment of millions of people. Simple fried African fish cakes is a universal recipe loved throughout the world.


In one of my earliest memories, my father, brothers, and I would dig for worms, make fishing poles out of cane sticks, attached a fishing line, hooks to catch brim, and other freshwater fish. We would spend hours fishing, so we could have fried fish for supper. Mom would clean the fish and filet on the shore of the lake. She would roll the fish in equal amounts of flour and cornmeal mixed with salt and pepper, and pan fry in vegetable oil until golden brown. There is nothing better than fresh caught fish for supper.

Another recipe I fondly remember is fried fish cakes.


Simple Fried African Fish Cakes Recipe

  
Simple fried African fish cakes is a universal recipe loved throughout the world.Ingredients:
2 smoked fish filets
1/2 cup of dried bread crumbs  
1 large egg, slightly beaten 
2 tablespoons of chopped onions 
2 tablespoons of whole milk 
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes  
¼ cup vegetable oil  

Directions:
Heat oil in a medium frying pan. In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Shape the mixture into equal size patties.  Fry patties on both sides until golden brown.


Did you know?

Thawing frozen fish in milk will draw out the frozen taste and provide a fresh-caught flavor.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Soul Education African Proverbs

Soul Education

Soul Education African Proverbs


Understanding that an educated soul expands the window into the great soul. Learning expands great souls.

Sukuma people of Tanzania education of the soul African proverbs teach us to open our eyes and ears to the lessons and challenges of the world.


BI NKA BI "No one should bite the other" West African symbol of peace and harmony.
BI NKA BI "No one should bite the other"
West African symbol of peace and harmony. 




Soul Education African Proverbs



To give is to store.

People who remove honey from a beehive are always two.

To ask is the desire to know the way.

Relationship is in the soles of the feet.

Everything has its own time.

All wisdom is not taught in school.

The clever person is not overcome by difficulties.

To be called is to be sent.

Travelling is learning.


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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Five Edible Flowers

Adding edible flowers to dishes is a very common practice, eating flower blooms does have a very long history in Africa. 



Every year around springtime during the months of September, October and November, the desert South Africa Namaqualand region comes alive with a sea of colorful indigenous wild flowers. 


With the blessings from Mother Nature, Namaqualand displays around 1,000 - 4,000 different species of plants and flowers each season. Many flowers are inedible however; five flowers are commonly used in cooking African food.

Edible flowers are flowers that can be consumed safely, below are five edible flowers to add to your home recipes. Always try to pick the blooms as close to when you are going to use them as possible.

Five Edible Flowers in African Food Recipes


Arugula Flowers

Young arugula flowers have a milder, subtler flavor than the arugula leaves, and can be used in many of the same dishes, such as salads and many egg dishes.

Starflowers Flowers

Squash and zucchini flowers are a common sight in African kitchens.
Squash and zucchini flowers are a common
sight in African kitchens.
Blue borage, also known as a starflowers are the perfect flower to add to salads, as they have a taste similar to that of cucumber. The blue flowers are very beautiful and look impressive in a fruit salad.

Squash and Zucchini Flowers

Squash and zucchini flowers are a common sight in African kitchens. Squash and zucchini plants are a valuable crop as they produce a large number of flowers on each plant, meaning you can harvest some flowers and still leave plenty behind to turn into vegetables.

Broccoli Flowers

Broccoli flowers add a milder broccoli taste to dishes, pairing well with salad greens where their bright yellow color stands out.


Chive Flowers

Chives are a member of the onion family with beautiful purple flowers. They are a great addition to mashed potatoes, adding striking purple flecks of color.

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Hemorrhoids Organic African Home Treatment

Organic African herbal treatment for hemorrhoids has two ingredients; aloe and water.



Africa is very complex as it is made up of many people who practice traditional herbal medicine and western medicine. Many times traditional and western medicine is practiced side by side with the patient.

The aloe plant is native to southern Africa. The hemorrhoid herbal aloe home treatment makes stools softer and easier to pass.
Aloe Gel
Aloe is known to have countless therapeutic remedies. The aloe plant is native to southern Africa, particularly the northern, eastern, and Western Capes. Traditionally in these parts of Africa, gel from the aloe plant has been used as a treatment for the soreness and tenderness of hemorrhoids. Aloe leaf gel, which is taken from a cut leaf, is used internally, primarily as a stimulant laxative.

Internal and external hemorrhoids are caused by repeated pressure from straining during bowel movements causing viens to enlarge. A high-fiber diet can be effective, along with over-the-counter medications, such as stool softeners. However, it's common knowledge and practice for centuries by herbalists in Southern Africa to create an aloe drink which makes stool softer and easier to pass.

Organic African herbal treatment for hemorrhoids has two ingredients; aloe and water.
Homemade Organic Aloe Water

Homemade Organic Aloe Water


Ingredients:
3 thick aloe leaves
2 cups water

Directions:

Cut aloe leaves lengthwise and scrape gel off aloe leaves into a cup with a tight fitting lid. Add water and shake well. Drink mixture 2-4 times daily. 

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Coconut Shea Butter Homemade Shaving Cream

How to make natural homemade Coconut Shea butter shaving cream.


How to make natural homemade Coconut Shea butter shaving cream.Coconut Shea butter natural homemade shaving cream will leave your skin smooth and silky without using artificial ingredients. The ingredients in this recipe, Coconut Shea butter shaving cream are vegetable based and beneficial to your skin.

What is shea butter?


African shea butter is cream-colored oil extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. There are four types of shea butter, raw, unrefined, refined and ultra-refined. Shea butter has long been recognized for its emollient and healing properties, ideal for soothing skin in the dry climate of parts of Africa. Reports of its use go back as far as the 14th century. 


Coconut Shea Butter Natural Homemade Shaving Cream


Shea butter has long been recognized for its emollient and healing properties, ideal for soothing skin in the dry climate of parts of Africa. Ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup unfiltered shea butter
2 tablespoons almond oil or palm oil
2 tablespoons liquid olive oil soap
1 tablespoons bentonite clay
5-10 drops coconut essential oil

Directions:
In a medium pot heat oils over medium heat. Add in olive oil soap, and clay, mix well. In a medium bowl beat mixture until light and fluffy. Pour it into a container with a tight fitting lid such as a mason jar. Store in a cool dark area when not in use, it can keep up to a month.


Did you know?

Bentonite clay is mud formed after volcanic ash has settled and aged in water. 

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Giant African Termite Mounds

Mound building termites of East, Central and Southern Africa can serve as an oasis in the African desert to plants by replenishing the soil.



According to the New York Times “Researchers at Princeton University and their colleagues recently reported in the journal Science that termite mounds may serve as oases in the desert, allowing the plants that surround them to persist on a fraction of the annual rainfall otherwise required and to bounce back after a withering drought.” By poking holes, or macropores, as they dig through the ground, termites allow rain to soak deep into the soil rather than running off or evaporating.

“They’re the ultimate soil engineers,” said David Bignell, a termite expert and emeritus professor of zoology at Queen Mary University of London.

Termites are extraordinary engineers, capable of building mounds standing as tall as 40 feet high and 60 feet wide and continue to build on the same mounds for centuries. Termite mounds can take four to five years to build from the termites’ saliva, dung and surrounding soil.
Mound building termites of East, Central and Southern Africa can serve as an oasis in the African desert to plants by replenishing the soil.
Giant African Termite Mounds

Inside the termite mound is an extensive system of tunnels and channels that serve as a ventilation system keeping the internal temperature relatively constant. Like most social insects such as ants and bees, termites live in societies where the collective power of the group surpasses that of the individual termite.


Mound-building termites live in Africa, India, Australia and South America. Only a few of the 3,000 or so known termite species are pests to people moreover, the mound building termites of East, Central and Southern Africa can serve as oases in the desert to plants by replenishing the soil.

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Life Can Be Unfair African Proverbs

Life Can Be Unfair African Proverbs

Bad things happen to good people
Life can be unfair African proverbs teach us we can accept things and get on with the business of living happily even though life is unfair.

Hands tell the story of Africa

Sometimes, life is just unfair


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




Life Can Be Unfair African Proverbs


A story is narrated by whoever tells it first.
A rose sometimes falls to the lot of a monkey.
If the wind blows, it enters at every crevice.

A monkey is only sick when the trees slide.
God does not pay weekly, but pays at the end.
As you began the dance, you may pay the piper.

Where the bee sucks honey, the spider sucks poison.
Water from far does not quench thirsty.
A child can be punished because of his father’s faults.

The one you eat with is the one who digs your grave.
The past can never be changed.
A monkey does not see its ass.

A greedy man has his eyes on his wife’s pot.
Empty fingers are not licked.
A snake lives in a hole that it can’t dig.

A bird doesn’t farm but still gets food.
An old rabbit is breastfed by his children.
A bad tree destroys the field.

African Proverbs, teach us everyday life, with ancient words of wisdom

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Little Known Ways to Survive a Catastrophe with Survival Food

Little Known Ways to Survive a Catastrophe with Survival Food

Does your food pantry have what it takes to survive
One item a prepper’s food pantry must have to survive a catastrophe is South African biltong.

Preppers Best Tasting Survival Food Recipe


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture



Biltong is a traditional dried meat from Southern Africa however, biltong is not beef jerky. Biltong is substantially softer and thicker than jerky because it is air-dried whole for around 20 days and then cut into the desired amount.



The basic traditional drying method of meat is called sun drying, done by direct solar radiation and natural air circulation. 

In a clean area free from critters, dirt, sand and litter, meat pieces are cut into thin .5 or 1 cm thick strips, dipped in a 14% table salt solution, and suspended in the open air or spread on drying trays made of wire mesh. The salt helps to limit microbial growth on the meat surfaces. You can add your own mix of dried spices such as garlic or chili powder mixed with the salt solution. The sun drying method can be done on relatively small pieces of meat in the course of one day, 8-10 hours drying time. Store meat in a sterilized sealed mason jar away from moisture in a dry place. Treat dehydrated meat as you would any canned meat after opening.


One item a prepper’s food pantry must have to survive a catastrophe is South African biltong. The basic traditional drying method of meat is called sun drying, done by direct solar radiation and natural air circulation.Did you know?
Preppers or survivalists are people who are actively preparing for emergencies, and who has prepared to survive in the anarchy of an anticipated breakdown of society.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Lake Retba Senegal Pink Lake

Lake Retba Senegal Pink Lake

Lake Retba natural pink lake in Senegal East Africa is at its height of rosy pinkness during the dry season between November and June.

Lake Retba natural pink lake in Senegal East Africa


Lake Retba Senegal Pink Lake


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




Not many living organisms are able to survive in Senegal's pink Lake Retba because of its high salt content.


In Africa, there is a natural lake the color of strawberries, Lake Retba or Le Lac Rose lies in Senegal one hour from its capital city Dakar. The lake is named for its pink waters caused by an edible, salt-loving micro-algae dunaliella salina.

Lake Retba or Lac Rose as it is known by locals is separated only by some narrow dunes from the Atlantic Ocean and, as expected its salt content is very high. Its salinity content compares to that of the Dead Sea and during the dry season it exceeds it.

The lake is only 3 square kilometers big (about 1,1 square miles) and there is no major town developed along its shores. The natural strawberry pink lake of East Africa’s Senegal is a world famous tourist attraction. However Lake Retba pink waters is a source of income for African families who mine her salt. Salt miners who work on extracting salt from the lake use shea butter obtained from the shea nut tree to protect their skin from cracking and drying. The Dunaliella salina bacteria which gives the lake its distinct color is completely harmless to humans and swimming in the lake is possible. 

It is estimated 1,000 people work around Le Lac Rose collecting 24,000 tons of the salt each year. Over half of the salt from Lake Retba is exported throughout Africa. With a maximum depth of less than ¼ mile, it contains a significant amount of salt that is labored by salt miners and exported throughout the world for cooking, leather goods and deicing roads.

Lake Retba Senegal East Africa



Did you know?
Lake Retba or Le Lac Rose lake was the finish line of the well-known Dakar Rally before it moved to South America in 2008 due to security threats.

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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Cassava Leaf Stew Recipe

Cassava also known as arrowroot, yucca, manioc, and tapioca is a nutrient-rich root vegetable. 


Cassava is the third most important source of calories in tropical Africa, after rice and maize. The cassava plant is a staple crop in Africa, different parts of the plant such as the root; leaves are used in herbal remedies. Families depend on cassava as a vital link for both food and income.

Cassava Leaf Stew Served with RiceCassava Leaf Stew Served with Rice


Ingredients:
2 cassava roots peeled and chopped
2 handfuls cassava leaves
2 medium onions chopped
2 medium tomatoes diced
5 cups water or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a large pot and simmer 30 minutes. Serve with rice.



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Saturday, January 16, 2016

Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art

Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art

African Basket Weaving
Zulu people Ilala Palm basket weaving is an ancient, exacting, time-consuming process. Traditional Zulu Ilala Palm basket weaving technique styles are Imbenge, Isichumo, Isiquabetho and Ukhamba.

African Basket Weaving Art

Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art


Explore and Understand Africa Through Her Food and Culture




All About Original Zulu People African Basket Weaving Art

Ukhamba African Zulu baskets are decorative and colorful bulb shaped container, made watertight by the tautness of the weave.
Ukhamba African Zulu basket 

As with most aspects of African culture, the specifics of basket weaving and the woven baskets themselves embody spiritual as well as aesthetic and practical qualities. 

Although basketry materials, techniques, and uses have varied among tribal cultures and have changed over time, baskets are the oldest handmade vessels used by African peoples and one of the most ancient of art forms.

Although basket making has become obsolete in some tribes with the passage of time, nearly every indigenous group throughout Africa has utilized basketry at some point: whether for food preparation and storage, as animal and fishing traps, to transport goods for sacred and ceremonial purposes.

Traditional Zulu Ilala Palm basket weaving technique styles are Imbenge, Isichumo, Isiquabetho and Ukhamba.



Imbenge
A small, saucer-shaped bowl traditionally woven with Ilala palm and grass fibers used as a platter or a lid.

Isichumo
Baskets have a tight firm weave with a bottle-shaped used for carrying liquids.

Isiquabetho
Baskets are large bowl shaped baskets used for gathering and carrying harvested foods and every day materials.

Ukhamba
Baskets are decorative and colorful bulb shaped container, made watertight by the tautness of the weave.
 
Isiquabetho African Zulu baskets are large bowl shaped baskets used for gathering and carrying harvested foods and every day materials.
Isiquabetho African Zulu basket 

For many Zulu Ilala Palm basket makers, the finished baskets are living metaphors of Zulu African people’s connection to the earth and to the seasonal cycles of life that influence the rules governing the harvesting and preparation of the organic materials used to make Zulu Ilala Palm baskets. 

The Ilala Palm grows along the North Eastern Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in Southern Africa.  Once cut and dried, the leaf is then prepared for weaving into fine, often watertight baskets. In African cultures, baskets represent functional art with a story that continues to be told. 


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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Good Will Grow From Good

Good will grow from good. Thinking good thoughts creates good outcomes; this is a basic law of attraction: positive thoughts create positive results.


"If good is sown, then good will grow; if bad is sown, then bad will grow, good or bad in the end will show."



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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cooking Golden Rule

Cooking Golden Rule

Cooking Golden Rule


The golden rule in African cooking is to season food with many spices while maintaining the balance between their different flavors.



Most African food dishes call for several different spices that give African food its character. Do not assume that African spices are difficult to find, a visit the African grocery store online or a local supermarket will provide all the spice in your life you will ever need.


Curried Okra Stew



Golden Rule Curried Okra Stew Recipe


Ingredients

1 pound fresh okra, sliced lengthwise
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
2 medium onions, chopped
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon hot ground chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons red palm oil
2 cups vegetable broth or water


Directions

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and fry onions with spices until onions are slightly soft.  Add potatoes and broth, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and okra, cook on medium heat for 10 minutes longer. Serve over rice.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric Tea

Turmeric Tea


Turmeric herb is also known as Jayanti meaning one that wins over diseases. Brewing turmeric tea supplies many health benefits. Jayanti turmeric tea is used to ease an upset stomach, intestinal gas and bloating.




Turmeric Tea

Turmeric Tea


Ingredients

3 cups of water
1 medium piece fresh turmeric
1 small piece fresh ginger
Honey or sugar to taste


Directions

Add all ingredients to a small pot simmer 5 minutes. Strain and serve warm.



Did you know?

Turmeric is a perennial herb of the ginger family cultivated in many African countries such as Uganda. Turmeric has a long history of medicinal use, dating back thousands of years. Turmeric is a golden yellow powder and the main spice in curry having a warm, bitter taste. Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric also is used fresh, like ginger. 



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Chic African Culture Featured Articles

Truth is treason in the empire of lies.

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Wise Words


A wise person does not fall down on the same hill twice.