Preparing Cameroonian Achu and Yellow Soup
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon is a country wedged in West and Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon’s coastline lies on the Bight of Biafra, part of the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean. Although Cameroon is not an ECOWAS member state, it geographically and historically is in West Africa with the Southern Cameroons which now form her Northwest and Southwest Regions having a strong West African history. The country is sometimes identified as West African and other times as Central African due to its strategic position at the crossroads between West and Central Africa.
French and English are the official languages of Cameroon. The country is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” for its geological and cultural diversity. Natural features include beaches, deserts, mountains, rainforests, and savannas. Shaped like an elongated triangle, contains an area of 475,440 square kilometers (183,568 square miles). Comparatively, the area occupied by Cameroon is slightly larger than the state of California.
There are four geographical regions: the western lowlands, which extend along the Gulf of Guinea coast; the northwestern highlands, which consist of forested volcanic mountains, including Mount Cameroon, the nation’s only active volcano and the highest peak in West Africa; the central region, which extends eastward to the border with the Central African Republic; and the northern region, which is essentially a vast tropical plain that slopes down to the Chad Basin.
The southern and northern regions of the country are two distinct climatic areas. In the south there are two dry seasons, December to February, and July to September. The northern part of the country has a more comfortable climate.
History and Food
Many staples of the Cameroonian diet came from the explorers of the New World (the Americas). The Portuguese arrived in Cameroon in 1472 and brought with them such foods as hot peppers, maize (corn), cassava (a root vegetable), and tomatoes.
Other Europeans settled on the Came-roon coast in the mid 1800s, with the British arriving first, followed by the French and Germans. The French influence is reflected in the presence of some foods, such as omelets and French bread, as well as in the preparation of some dishes; however, for the most part, Cameroonians continue to prepare their own traditional foods.
Foreign restaurants can be found in the larger towns and cities of Cameroon. In 2001, the city of Doula boasted a number of Parisian-style cafes, Greek, Lebanese, and Chinese restaurants, as well as places offering pizza and hamburgers.
Achu is the traditional meal of a number of villages in the North West region of Cameroon. It is the specialty of the Bamenda. It is also widely eaten by the Bamilekes in the western region of the country. Another name for yellow soup is “Ndza Nikki.” In French, it is known as “sauce jaune”.
Smoked or fresh meat
Cow skin (kpomo)
Limestone, achu spices
Pepper, magi, salt
Wash and boil cocoyams with the skin (do not peel the cocoyams)
When it is ready, pound cocoyam while adding water so that it does not become hard
Boil the meat and kpomo with a pinch of salt, maggi and some cloves of pepper
Completely dilute limestone in water, remove any stone or sand
When the meat is ready, put another pot on the fire and pour in palm oil
Heat the palm oil for about 3 minutes and remove off the fire
Pour the limestone solution bit by bit into the oil until you get a yellow mixture
Pour the meat and fish from the other pot into the yellow mixture
Stir well and add the achu spices, pepper, maggi and salt
Your achu is ready