What makes Sudanese cuisine stand apart is the cross-cultural influences it has received from Yemeni, Egyptian, Indian and Ethiopian cuisines. The country has a heavy population of black coffee and black tea drinkers and has a variety of mouth-watering stews and breads to its name. Their national dish Ful Medames, also known as Sahan ful, is a vegetarian dish of beans garnished with fresh onions, tomatoes, rocket leaves, feta cheese, boiled eggs and sesame oil. What else has the country to offer?
Stews in Sudan are served with either bread or porridge. While there are various stews found here, Fasulia, Rijla, Mulukhiya, Bamya and Mullah Ahmar are worth trying. These stews mostly include tender lamb or beef meat pieces. The Rijla stew contains finely chopped purslane leaves cooked in a spiced tomato sauce, red lentils and tender lamb. The Fasulia stew has Haricot beans in a spiced tomato stew with lamb pieces. Mulukhiya has finely chopped Jute leaves in a spiced lamb stock with garlic seasoning, a staple of Sudanese cuisine.
Most Sudanese stews or dishes are incomplete without an accompanying bread. Kissra, Gurasa, Aseeda and Baladi are the most popular varieties in that context. Kissra is a thin sheet of bread made from sorghum flour, while Gurassa is a thin pancake bread and unique to the Sudanese region. Aseeda is enjoyed with warm stews. Baladi bread is a simple round bread made with large proportions of dough and appeals to the non-fancy.
For those who like to keep it healthy and have a tilt towards the greens, Sudanese salads like Dakwa, Taheena and Mish present favourable options. Dakwa is a spicy peanut chilli dip and is a combination of peanut butter, lime, red chilli powder and salt. Taheena and Mish are very contrasting with the former providing the taste of a sesame dip and the latter acting as a yogurt dish. Taheena has sesame seed paste combined with garlic, lime and cumin to complement lamb and fish dishes. Mish takes a spicy turn with feta cheese dipped in yoghurt mixed with green chillies and nigella seeds.
For those with a sweet tooth, appreciators of the art of baking, Basta, Basbousa and Moukhbaza are must-haves. Tempting and popular, Basta dessert is a buttered cake prepared from peanuts, brown sugar, butter, phyllo pastry, castor sugar and lemon juice. Basbousa is a traditional sweet cake consisting of cooked semolina or farina soaked in simple syrup. Moukhbaza is the most popular banana paste dish in Sudan.
Words : Sam Picking