Regional Staples: Corn and Maize Dishes From Around the Globe
Ugali or Nshima (East Africa & Southern Africa)
Ugali, or nshima, is a type of stiff porridge made from maize flour, and it is found in East & Southern Africa. It is best served with braised meat stews and steamed or seared green veggies.
Cou-cou, coo-coo, or fungi, is a national dish in many Caribbean countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It consists mainly of cornmeal and okra.
Halwa or Halva (Middle East, Somalia, India)
Corn Halwa is a quick, delicious, melt-in-the-mouth sweet treat, popular in many countries across the globe. It is prepared with sweet corn semolina, ghee, and nuts, with the ingredients varying depending on the region. Milk-based halwa has the unique taste of sweet corn, and you will often find it colored red in Somalia or India.
Arepas (South America)
Arepas are made of ground maize that is shaped into a patty, grilled on both sides, and stuffed with all kinds of fillings including: beans, ground or cubed beef, green peas and cheese. It is eaten in the northern region of South America since pre-Columbian times, and are notable in the cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela.
Cornbread (United States)
Cornbread, a simple bread made with cornmeal, is commonly associated with the cuisines of the USA’s southern states. With origins in Native American cuisine, it is often served with beef chili, or as a side during large family-sized meals.
Which of these regional staples have you tried before? Are there any new dishes you’d like to try out? We live in a world where ingredients and tradition overlap in so many different countries across the globe, so if you think we’ve missed one, tag us with #MyJikoni so we can see your own culture’s regional staples!