Cookbook:Cuisine of Rwanda

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Cookbook | Ingredients | Cuisines | African Cuisines

The cuisine of Rwanda is based on local staple foods produced by the traditional subsistence-level agriculture and has historically varied between the country's different ethnic groups.

Background[edit | edit source]

Rwandan staples include bananas, plantains, pulses, sweet potatoes, beans, and cassava (manioc). Historically, this is particularly true of the Twa and the Hutus, who hunted and farmed. Their diet was high in vegetables and lacking in animal protein due to the small amount of animal products consumed. The Tutsis were traditionally pastoralists and consumed a higher amount of milk and dairy products.

Many Rwandans do not eat meat more than a few times a month. For those that live near lakes and have access to fish, tilapia is popular. The potato, thought to have been introduced to Rwanda by the German and Belgian Second European colonization wave (19th century colonists), is now very popular and is cultivated in the towns of Gitarama and Butare.

National dishes[edit | edit source]

A plate of ugaliand cabbage

Various dishes have evolved from the range of basic foods consumed. Ugali (or bugali) is a paste made from maize and water, to form a porridge-like consistency that is eaten throughout East Africa. Isombe is made from mashed cassava leaves and served with dried fish. Matokeis a dish made from baked or steamed plantains. Ibihaza is made from pumpkins cut into pieces, mixed with beans and boiled without peeling them. Ground nuts paste (Ikinyiga), and Millet flour paste (umustima w’uburo) are both made from boiling water and flour, mixed to a porridge-like consistency.[1]

Beverages[edit | edit source]

Milk is a common drink among Rwandans. Other popular drinks in Rwanda include fruit juice, wine and beer. Commercial beers drunk in Rwanda include Primus beer, Mützig beer and Amstel Brewery. In rural areas, urwagwa is a beer made from the fermented juice of bananas that has been mixed with roasted sorghum flour. Beers feature in traditional rituals and ceremonies and are generally consumed only by men. Ikigage is an alcoholic beverage made from dry sorghum that is thought to have medicinal powers. Ubuki is made from fermented honey and has an alcohol content of about 12 per cent.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Different types of Rwandan Food". Retrieved 18 February 2012.