What Is Luwombo?
There are so many culinary secrets and delicacies in African cuisine, which have not yet been discovered by the rest of the world. Indeed, African cuisine is probably the last frontier in world cuisine. One such secret is: Luwombo.
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What is Luwombo?
In luwombo, the central role is played, not by the ingredients, but by the banana leaves in which they are prepared.
Luwombo is a dish prepared by the Baganda people of southern Uganda. The Baganda are the largest tribe in Uganda. The country - Uganda - is named after them, as is their language, Luganda.
Central to the cuisine of the Baganda is the preparation of food in banana leaves. Indeed, the luscious, refreshing green of banana leaves waving in numerous banana plantations is a hallmark of southern Uganda, where the ultimate life dream is to build a house and plant a banana plantation around it.
To cook luwombo, you place meat or fish, together with onions, tomatoes, vegetables and a little oil in clean banana leaves. It takes some skill to wrap it all up and tie it with banana rind, without losing any liquid.
Hacked banana tree stumps are then placed in a large saucepan or pot, and covered with water. The parcels of luwombo are arranged carefully onto the banana stumps, so that they can be steamed without being boiled.
Luwombo is best served in the banana leaves, where it remains hot, and retains the very distinct taste lent by the banana leaves. Many eating-houses now serve versions of luwombo also in aluminium foil, but it does not quite taste the same.
Luwombo is best served with matoke - the mashed cooking banana central to Baganda cuisine - cooked in a similar way to luwombo.Luwombo is best eaten with the fingers, in true African style.
Luwombo draws attention to the cooking methods common to African cuisine. Luwombo refers to food steamed in banana leaves. The Baganda also steam cooking bananas and other dishes.
Steaming is recognized by many cooking experts as an extremely healthy and highly-recommended method of cooking.
The Acholi of northern Uganda, to whose cooking odii is central, mostly boil their food, before adding odii - the only fat of any sort they add to their cooking.
In many African communities, food is also roasted - sweet potatoes, cassava, various types of banana, fresh maize, meat and fish.
Many staples are also boiled in water - sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, cassava, bananas, maize and Ugali - which is four cooked in boiling water.
In general, African cuisine employs healthy, time-honoured cooking methods such as steaming, boiling and roasting, In recent times, frying, broiling and baking have also been adopted, but they often remain guest methods.
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