Five Healthy African Dishes You Should Try

A big part of African culture is related to cooking and enjoying food that offers a wide range of flavours. For those lured by the diversity of continent, the African cuisine is a must try. Foodies (food lovers) ought to love African cuisine since it offers a variety of traditional dishes that differ from one country to another.

The following is a list of the top five healthy African meals.

Nigeria’s Banga Soup

Banga Soup. Credit - afrikanews.com
Banga Soup. Credit – afrikanews.com

Banga is a dish that originates from the Delta region of Nigeria. In some parts of the country, people call it “Ofe Akwu.” It is a soup commonly served with starch, fufu, pounded yams or Semolina.

In the coastal regions of Nigeria, it is usually cooked with either fish or a mix of seafood like crayfish, shrimps and crabs. In other parts of the country, people like to add beef to the mix of seafood. The dish is cooked with palm fruit oil instead of regular olive oil. Ofe Akwu is a staple of Nigerian cuisine along with Jollof rice and a sweet drink called Zobo. The oil used in making the dish is freshly processed giving it a healthier and long-lasting taste.

Kenya’s Ugali na Sukuma Wiki

Ugali na Sukuma Wiki. Credit - afrikanews.com
Ugali na Sukuma Wiki. Credit – afrikanews.com

One of the most popular dishes in Kenya is Ugali na Sukuma Wiki which is colloquially called Ugali or Sima. The full name translates to “cornmeal mush with collard greens”. As its name suggests, the hearty dish is made of maize flour mush, stir-fried greens and/or meat stew. The flour is cooked in boiling water until a thick cake-like texture is formed.

The dish is commonly served with fried fish and it is often eaten with hands by locals. The mush actually has a popcorn-like flavour and the taste can be accentuated with butter or salt.

Namibia’s Mopane Worms

Mopane Worms. Credit - afrikanews.com
Mopane Worms. Credit – afrikanews.com

This Namibian dish is considered a delicacy. As strange as it may seem for outsiders, the dish is quite a healthy nutritious meal. The worms feed on the leaves of mopane trees and that’s why they are considered a good source of nutrients. It’s a great source of protein for people living in rural areas of Southern Africa.

The mopane worms are later collected in bucketful by the end of summer. Their gut is cleaned by squeezing the worms. They are later dried and mostly eaten as a crunchy snack or rehydrated and mixed with a bowl of salad. These insects can also be cooked with tomato sauce and eaten with mahangu porridge.

South Africa’s Potjiekos

 

Potjiekos. Credit - afrikanews.com
Potjiekos. Credit – afrikanews.com

Potjiekos has its roots in the Afrikaner tradition. Afrikaners are South Africans of Dutch ancestry also known as Voortrekkers. This dish has been brought with the early settlers in the 17th and 18th century but certain changes were introduced over the years.

This dish has a rich history as well as a promising flavourful taste. It is preferably cooked in a cast-iron pot and on an open fire. While cooking this dish South Africans always refer to building the “Potjie” since it is cooked in layers. The meat – be it poultry, pork, beef or seafood – is set at the base and then the different vegetables and starch and sauce are put layer by layer. The dish is only stirred when served and it takes between 2 to 3 hours to be cooked.

Liberia’s Palava

Palava sauce. Credit - africanbites.com
Palava sauce. Credit – africanbites.com

Liberians tend to grow their own rice, sugarcane and cassava. So most dishes in the country have these staples as their base. In the case of Palava, it is rice.
However, what makes Palava special is its side sauce made from Plato (okra) leaves, dried fish or meat and palm oil. Liberians like their food spicy, so there is always a kick of hot chilli peppers. The sauce also includes ingredients such as Egusi seeds, collard greens and cocoyam leaves. It is very nutritious and one of Liberia’s finest healthy meals.