Off the shelf food processors usually blend ingredients to a single slushy consistency which is inadequate for most African recipes. In Nigeria, most people, regardless of economic ability, rely on ingenious open market grinders who have adapted generic grinding machines for African cuisine. A customer tells the grinder operator what ingredients they want processed and the target usage of the processed output, the operator will manually determine the granularity of the result by varying the pressure and number of grinding passes. For example, the operator uses a different grinding strategies to process black-eyed beans for moinmoin or akara (types of Nigerian bean cakes), than for grinding fresh pepper, tomatoes and onions used for vegetable stew and still a different strategy for tomato stew or Jollof rice.
Open market grinders are even more popular due to the intermittent availability of electricity. Grinders used are integrated devices that .. e.g. petrol or diesel engines. Having fresh ingredients processed in an open market opens one to many dangers. Apart from the obvious physical dangers of ... , food security is often compromised. Grinding takes place in unclean environments and the machines are not always well maintained so that contaminants such as engine oil can easily get into the mix.
“... the operator will manually determine the granularity of the result by varying the pressure and number of grinding passes”
S2PAfrica is looking for innovators to design a food processor that has controls optimized to carry out grinding tasks adequately for an African kitchen.
Our students on the internship track are already doing this for pounded yam where they are analyzing the imported food processors and are seeing why they are not really suitable to produce the expected result because they were made by people whose food choices require slicing whereas ours require pounding.