There is nothing as beautiful in this word as sampling cuisines from different parts of the world. Africa is a diverse continent. The different cultures and way of life of African folk are what makes it well defined. Being a continent with thousands of communities that have different beliefs, Africa gets to be one of the continents where diversification of traditions and customs complements its people. Though some African dishes are popular across the continent, there are different types of food which are particularly associated with certain countries in Africa. Some staple foods are shared among countries, but the difference comes in preparation and naming.
This article will highlight the 20 most popular African dishes. To start off, we will go to West African nations. Jollof rice is one of the African main dishes; popular in Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cameroon, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia. Below are the cuisines and photos of African dishes.
West Africa’s jollof rice
It is a favourite in many West African countries. While in Nigeria, you won’t be surprised to see how many enjoy this meal. Other accompaniments include fried plantain, fufu, or pounded yams. It is often said that Jollof rice could be the origin of the Cajun dish jambalaya. To prepare Jollof rice, you need rice, tomatoes, onions, and pepper. This meal is a favourite in happy occasions like weddings, birthdays, graduations and family parties.
Zimbabwean kapenta with sadza
You must definitely taste fried Kapenta when in the Southern African nation. Kapenta is small fish found in freshwater sources like Lake Tanganyika. They are also found in Lake Kariba. To truly love the taste of Kapenta, you should accompany the meal with Sadza, which is a dish made with corn flour, cooked in boiling water until soft enough for consumption. You can also make stew from Kapenta. To do this, you need onions, tomatoes, and groundnut powder. Kapenta is a rich source of proteins. For a complete meal, take Kapenta with Sadza and a side of greens.
Morrocan pastilla au pigeon
When visiting Morocco, be sure to have a taste of the country’s delicious Pastilla Au Pigeon, otherwise known as B’stilla. The mouth-watering traditional Moroccan meal consists of Warka dough, broth, squab, chicken and local spices added to improve the flavour. the pie is often as a second course during meals. The famous Moroccan chicken pie will have you crave for more as it’s crispy, sweet and rich in nutrients. It is among African healthy dishes.
Angolan muamba de galinha
The famous Angolan chicken stew is prepared with spices, garlic, chili, vegetables and fried in palm oil for that aromatic taste. It is sometimes called Chicken Muamba, and is widely consumed nationally. The chicken is spicy and is extremely oily for its signature taste. Palm batter can be used as a substitute of palm oil. Important ingredients include chilies and okra. There are different variations of chicken Muamba, such as poulet moambé. It is served as a main course and can be accompanied with plain rice and veggies, cornmeal mash or cassava leaves.
Kenyan nyama Choma and ugali
If you have ever travelled to Kenya, then you really understand how Nyama Choma is held dearly by the natives. Nyama Choma is basically roasted or grilled meat. Nyama Choma is usually made of beef, but you can substitute with chicken or goat meat. The Kenyan barbecued meat is a favourite in many homes and is toothsome for everyone who loves eating meat. Ugali, a staple in Kenya is the usual accompaniment when people take Nyama Choma. Ugali is made of maize flour and boiling water. A famous dish in the East African country, Ugali can be never taken when plain. Have Nyama Choma and Collard greens when taking Ugali. You could also alternate the collard greens with cabbages, traditional herbs or any other side dish. After taking the meal, a cold beer will do you good if you love the brown bottle
Ghanaian fufu and palm nut soup
Fufu, a staple in Ghana. the traditional way of making it involves thoroughly mixing green plantain flour and cassava in water, stirring and pounding until the mixture is of the desired thickness. The palm fruit gives the palm nut soup, which takes some time to prepare. A good palm nut soup should have smoke salmons, tomatoes, garden eggs, ginger, garlic cloves, meat and of course palm nuts for it to be finger-licking.
East African samosas and maandazi
Samosas are fried pastries with fillings of minced beef, ground chicken, peas, onions or ground lamb. They are made in a triangular shape using dough made from wheat flour, then deep fried together with whichever filling you want. You can make the triangles in your desired shapes. Maandazi is made of kneaded dough, sugar, eggs, and milk. Just like samosa, Maandazi is deeply fried to achieve a light brown colour. Both Samosas and Maandazi make excellent snacks that can be taken with any hot beverage or Soda.
Malawian chambo with nsima
Both natives and visitors adore this appetizing and famous Malawi dish. The Malawian Chambo is a freshwater fish which is super easy to prepare. It is fried in curry and cooked in gravy. Nsima is a form of thick porridge made from maize flour. The Chambo and Nsima make up one of the best African dishes.
This type of bread is a staple dish in Sudan. Made from durra, sorghum or corn, it is used as an accompaniment of stews like bussaara, waika and sabaroag. The stews are often made from dried meat, dried onions, local spices, peanut butter with milk or yoghurt. To make some good Kisra, mix water with sorghum and let it stay overnight. Later on add flour and a little water to make a batter. You can then fry it over a fire in a pan. Asseeda is another Sudanese staple. To enjoy it, have some stew with you.
South African bunny chow
Originally common with the Asian community in Durban, Bunny Chow has over time grown popular across the country. Indian workers who migrated to South Africa in the 1800s to work on the sugar cane fields initially introduced the snack. It is made of a loaf of bread; either a quarter or half piece. The loaf is stuffed with hot and steamy curry and immensely enjoyed as a street food. The curry is made of meat and vegetables and can be packed as take-away. You can use either white or brown bread to prepare Bunny Chow.
It is also known as “Enjera”. The soft flatbread is made of teff flour. It is widely consumed in Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Ethiopia. It is traditionally made with a large clay plate placed over firewood. In urban settings, however, one can use electric stoves. Injera often served with a vegetarian dish like Beyenatu; made of beets, spiced lentils, collard greens and yellow split peas. You can add turmeric to the peas.
It is made of pounded meat. Beef and goat meat is used to make the traditional Botswana dish. The dish is prepared by placing the seasoned meat in a slow cooker, adding bay leaves and water and cooking for about five hours. After the meat has cooled on room temperature, it is then pounded using pestle and mortar and shredded using a fork to your liking. This traditional dish is often served during special events like weddings, birthday parties, and general celebrations.
Made from maize, sorghum or millet boiled in hot water. Tô has been a popular meal in the Sahel region in Africa. Like the East African Ugali, Tô is eaten with veggies, beef stew, chicken, fish and any other tasty sauce.
Namibia is known to have the best Venison among all the southern African countries. Zebras, Warthogs, Kudus, ostriches, gemsboks, and springboks are all found in food joints and game lodges all across Namibia. To enjoy your venison, you can accompany it with national foods like oshifima; made from maize, or mahangu, made of pearl millet. READ ALSO: Kenyan recipes – the only Kenyan food guide you’ll ever need!
Perfect ndolé is made of beef, stewed nuts and ndoleh (some bitter leaves found in West African countries). It is commonly eaten with the traditional bobolo, or fried or boiled plantain. Bobolo is made of cassava and wrapped in leaves. It is also made with ground manioc, which has to be fermented to give the ideal taste. When making Ndolé, one can substitute the beef with shrimp, prawns or fish. The national Cameroonian dish is a favourite across the country.
Zanzibari pilau and biryani
The yummy rice from the East African country is the absolute best when you make a trip down in Zanzibar. Pilau is made of rice and beef mixed with a bunch of natural spices like cumin, ginger, garlic, cardamom, cinnamon and other herbs. When making Biryani, the meat is prepared in a different pot from the rice. Biryani can be made using different methods like having vegetable assemblages in the recipe, alternating meat with seafood, or using the sauce of your choice. Both Pilau and Biryani are delicious African dishes and are remarkably enjoyed with kachumbari and a salad on the side.
Comoros’ mkatra foutra
The Mkatra Foutra from Comoros is among the varieties of African dishes. It is made of yeast, coconut milk, and eggs. The flattened bread sprinkled with sesame seeds is a favourite and is usually taken with coffee, some hot beverage or any sauce available. The bread is made fluffy after preparation and often resembles the pancake. The method of preparation and the taste is obviously different from the common pancake. Take your Mkatra Foutrafor breakfast and you will have a fulfilling day.
The dish is alternatively spelt as ‘Koushari’ or ‘Koshari’. A mostly vegetarian meal, it comprises of rice, macaroni, lentils, garlic, and chickpeas. To spice it up, tomato sauce is added on top together with crispy fried onion. Koshari is loved by many Egyptians, and you will not be surprised to find out that some families consume it as a staple meal. You can order a well prepared Koshari in town cafes or common streets.
East African chapati
In India and other Asian countries, it is known as Chapatti, Chapathi, Chappati, Chappathi or any other variation of the word. In East Africa however, the wheat bread is known as chapati. Chapati is a famed dish across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and their neighbouring countries, and can never miss in the meal during special events and seasons like Christmas, weddings, popular holidays, and any family party. Originally from India, Chapati has gained popularity across many countries, especially countries that share the Indian Ocean coast. Chapati is often served with beef stew, chicken, veggies, cold drinks, hot beverages and practically any food that is of liquid form.
The Kitfo will wrap up our list of African cuisines. Think of your regular hamburger. Now think of a hamburger, but now raw and filled with spices. Have your taste buds experience a different feeling with the delicious Kitfo any time you are in Addis Ababa or any other city in Ethiopia. Depending on your preference, you can order your Kitfo either slightly cooked or fully raw. It is often eaten with a bun or the famous Ethiopian Injera. You can also eat the Kitfo just as a pile of raw minced meat, or have spice gomen or salty cheese on the side. People who love veggies also accompany the Ethiopian kitfo with collard greens or salad.
The list of African dishes is relatively long and can take a while to compile. Some cuisines mentioned above have been consumed since time immemorial, while others are the latest African dishes. Every traditional dish in Africa is made distinctively and using different methods.
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Is an enthusiastic and open minded writer. She believes in excellence and is always willing to lend her voice to necessary courses that are dear to her heart. Jewel is also a content developer and an upcoming media strategist.