Tastetrotting Across Uganda
Uganda, also known as The Pearl of Africa, affected even the early explorers. They were amazed by its beauty, its natural wonders, and its people.
Before I even started tasting our way through Uganda, I never really knew much about this East African country. But I have discovered that this country not only has some tasty food, but their landscape is so beautiful as well. As I was researching for this country, I came across an amazing YouTube video that shows just how beautiful Uganda truly is.
Uganda’s landscape is beautifully varied and ranges from semi desert and dry acacia woodland in the far north east, farmland in the east, to the lush and fertile shores of Lake Victoria. The moist climate makes the countryside far greener and fertile than other parts of East Africa.
Uganda has long been a cultural melting pot. There are over 60 ethnic people groups that make up Uganda. In the central, south, and southwest they are mostly of the Bantu origin. To the North, the people are mostly of Nilotic origin with over 70 different dialects. There are even some tribal groups such as Baganda that have a traditional cultural leader and in their case he is called Kabaka (King) and he is the best known cultural leader in Uganda.
The population of Uganda is over 35 million people. Uganda is about the size of the state of Oregon, but six times as many people as Oregon has. They are also the youngest nation in the world, with over half of its population being under the age of 16. Life expectancy is between 53 and 55 years old. You will not find many Ugandans live to be 80.
A majority of the population lives on less than $1 a day, and poverty is a serious concern. Which is why several programs have been set up by the government to alleviate poverty and also to ensure that most Ugandans meet their basic needs. Uganda, like many other developing countries in this world is faced with a myriad of social problems.
History Of Uganda
Whenever I sample food from different countries, I always like to look at the history of the country.
The earliest human inhabitants in Uganda were hunter-gathers. Remnants of these people today can be found among the pygmies in western Uganda. Approximately 2000 to 1500 years ago, the Bantu speaking populations from central and western Africa migrated and occupied most of the southern parts of the country. These migrants brought with them agriculture, ironworking skills and new ideas of social and political organization, that by the 15-16th century resulted in the development of centralized kingdoms, including the kingdoms of Buganda, Bunyoro-Kitara and Ankole.
Uganda gained independence from Great Britain on October 9, 1962. In their early years, they had many ups and downs including the rule of Idi Amin.
Today, the National Resistance Movement has been in power since 1986 and President Museveni is up for election for another five years. During the next election, he will have been president of Uganda for 30 years.
Uganda’s culture weaves a yarn of variety not only through the manner of dress, language and other characteristics, but also in its variety of dishes. Nearly every tribe or region has a delicacy or speciality. Because of the various lakes and rivers, Ugandans have a chance to enjoy different varieties of fish.
Many of the tribes in Uganda eat their fish smoked or fresh (although there are some kinds of fish that are not eaten by certain Baganda clans), while others wash it in a salt solution and dry it in the sun for days. Sun dried fish is a delicacy in the eastern region.
In western Uganda among the Banyankole, Bakiga, Bator, and most of the north and east like Acholi, Alur Langi, millet bread is the favored dish. The milled flour is mixed with cassava and then mingled.
To the north, smoked beef is skillfully seasoned with a rich sauce of milled sim-sim (sesame) paste and dark green bitter vegetables. In the eastern region, the people of Teso add a light sauce of tamarind fruit which is plenty in those dry areas.
The tasty dish we will be exploring today from Uganda is Kabalagala (Ugandan Banana Pancakes). These little pancakes taste kind of like fried plantains and are very yummy! These perfect pancakes are usually found on the streets of Uganda. Kabalagala is usually made with cassava flour, but to save myself from another disaster, like what happened with my chapati, I decided to Americanize it just a little.Enjoy an Ugandan Breakfast with these Ugandan Banana Pancakes! #tastetrottingacrosstheglobe Click To Tweet
These yummy little pancakes pairs well with Ugandan Chai Tea, which is another recipe from Uganda I will be sharing next week!