Ekaterra Brings Indigenous West African Spices to Global Leader
Ekaterra was founded by ex-Googler Affiong Osuchukwu, when she realized that despite West African cuisine being highly regarded and popular, the spices that make flavors unique are very hard to find in Africa. Europe and the United States.
Afrobeats, African Diaspora and West African Cuisine
West African influence on global pop culture is on the rise. West African cuisines are among the top 5 regional cuisines influencing menus in 2022 according to the US Restaurant Association. This is partly due to the worldwide popularity of Afrobeats music originating in the region, as well as the strength and size of the West African diaspora. Nevertheless, even in international cities such as New York, Houston and London (where Osuchukwu was born and raised), culinary adventurers wishing to explore the flavors of this region are disappointed. Popular spices like Dawadawa (fermented locust beans), Guinea Cubeb (African bush pepper) and Selim grains (known for their woody, smoky flavor) remain relatively unknown and very hard to find.
The idea for Ekaterra was sparked by Osuchukwu’s move to Nigeria in 2010, where she followed her heart to join her husband. On business and vacation trips throughout the region, she has visited dozens of local markets across West and Central Africa. Through regular visits to cities in Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal, she found similar spices, but known by different local names. Additionally, Osuchukwu observed countless must-have spices that define the complexity of dishes like Jollof rice, fufu okra soup, and pepper soup, which were not widely available outside of these markets. “Around the world, everyone has heard of jollof rice and afrobeats, but the spices native to West Africa remain largely unrecognized in major American and European cities. This is true even among cooks of West African descent who have not heard of these spices, due to the growing popularity of flavoring seasoning cubes, which are heavily marketed to the African community by large corporations. multinationals. Osuchukwu wanted to ensure that the everyday chef or home cook, whether they live in Houston, London, Accra or Lagos, could easily access authentic native West African spices that are not only very powerful, but also extremely medicinal. “Ekaterra ensures that these spices, which help me fondly remember Nigerian recipes lovingly prepared by my mother and grandmother, are not forgotten or obscured,” Osuchukwu said.
Ekaterra means Homeland
The name Ekaterra is derived from the word Eka, the Ibibio tribe’s translation of southeastern Nigeria for Mother and Terra, Latin for Earth or Earth. Osuchukwu doesn’t just want to influence American or European palettes with spices. She wants to ensure that knowledge of local West African food and spices is showcased for its uniqueness and health benefits. She wants to increase awareness of West African food culture and its connection to heritage, family and the land. “I want to give everyone, everywhere the chance to savor the true flavors of the African homeland.”
Osuchukwu highlighted the origin story of Ekaterra’s inspiration. “These spices have been used for centuries in West Africa and although there has been improvisation of African cuisine across the diaspora, many dishes remain very similar to the original, take okra for example. What is missing is the original flavor of the spices and spice blends unique to this region.West African cuisine, although sometimes overlooked, has very strong and direct links to the cuisines of the Caribbean, American South America and South America Ekaterra’s mission is to create sustainable availability of these original West African spices for the global consumer.
Ekaterra (not to be confused with a tea company that recently took on the same name) currently offers 26 unique spices and blends, all available online at www.ekaterra.com.
Ekaterra is an African spice company committed to creating access to wild-harvested indigenous West African spices and teas that are sourced directly from the origin in a sustainable and fair way. These spices and teas have been used by West Africans to nurture, nurture and heal generations for centuries, but they are slowly disappearing from our kitchens. Ekaterra’s goal is to create a pathway to market for these authentic flavors, making them accessible and accessible to culinary adventurers around the world. Ekaterra also uses digital channels to educate and immerse consumers in African food and food culture, while reconnecting the West African diaspora to their culinary roots. Currently, Ekaterra operates out of two locations: Houston, TX, USA and Lagos, Nigeria.
To learn more about Ekaterra spices, or for recipes that use African ingredients, contact: [email protected] Or visit www.ekaterra.com.
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