Did you know that most African cuisines vary significantly depending on their origin? Still, some from neighbouring countries may have similar ingredients but very different flavours due to unique spices.
If you plan to try African cuisine on your next trip, learning about the available and most popular ones will help you understand this culinary world. Besides, if you love exploring new recipes, you can try out various cultural meals based on your favourite ingredients.
Here, we discuss ten unique dishes, their origin, and their most common elements. We’ll also briefly explain how to prepare them and mention the foods you can pair them with for a complete experience.
1. Jollof Rice
One savoury dish popular in the West-African region, mainly Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana, is jollof rice. While each of these countries has its unique style of making the dish, the common aspect is rice prepared with tomato sauce.
Depending on the desired taste, you may also include various vegetables. These include red and green pepper, onions, garlic, ginger, French beans, and carrots.
Most jollof rice lovers eat this dish with beef stew and fried fish. Others prefer taking it with chicken stew turkey and roasted goat ribs.
Kedjenou is a spicy African stew prepared by cooking chicken in a mixture of selected vegetables. These often include tomato, okra, garlic, thyme, eggplant, chilli pepper, and ginger. You can also add chicken broth to thicken the stew and enhance the taste.
The most common way to make kedjenou is by placing the mixture of ingredients in a sealed canari. If you don’t have this kitchenware, you may use a terracotta pot and place it over hot coals.
This method allows the food to cook slowly, giving enough time for the spices to penetrate the chicken tissue. Another preparation method is covering the meat and veggies with banana leaves and cooking them over coal or fire.
Most kedjenou lovers prefer combining the dish with plain steaming rice. Still, you can eat it with other exotic starchy foods like cassava or yam.
Another popular African cuisine, especially in the central region, is ndole. This delicious dish mainly consists of melon seeds, peanuts, and boiled bitter leaves. The best way to have ndole is with white meat like chicken or pork and seafood plates such as fish and shrimp.
Due to its simple preparation method, this dish is common at parties and festivals. However, on such occasions, people mainly take it with fried plantain, fufu, or rice. Some also prefer bobolo, which is a fermented cassava dish covered in leaves.
To prepare ndole, use dry leaves soaked overnight in bicarbonate soda. This process will add a bitter fermented savoury taste, perfect for pairing with different plain foods.
If you are looking for a mouth-watering meat stew, opt for Yassa. This dish often consists of chicken marinated using onions, lemon, and vinegar. You can also use other soft meats like lamb or fish as alternative ingredients.
If you go to an African restaurant, you are most likely to get yassa with a plate of rice. Still, you can take it without accompaniment as a late evening heavy snack. Alternatively, combine it with ginger beer or green tea for the perfect African experience.
5. Irio (Mukimo)
Irio is a native Kenyan meal prepared using boiled corn, mashed potatoes, and peas or beans. While some prefer to eat it with only salt to taste, others fry the mixture with sautéed onions.
You can also add some green vegetables to the mixture to give the food a pop of colour and enhance the taste. In most cases, you are likely to get a plate of mukimo with savoury meat stew. Still, you may pair it with fried vegetables such as kale or cabbage.
For a more African experience, consider taking mukimo with roasted goat or beef. Besides, add some kachumbari, a raw salad mainly consisting of tomatoes, onions, and chilli for enhanced taste.
Suya is a Nigerian dish with skewered meat marinated in vegetable oil, spices, and peanut cake. The most common ingredients used to prepare it are beef, chicken, and ram.
After marinating the pieces, the next step involves barbecuing them over low fire. Most expert chefs also recommend using aluminium foil to cover the coal and regulate the cooking process.
Enjoy this African food with dried pepper and chopped onions or tomatoes. You can also take it with garri, bread, noodles, crispy vegetables or rice cake.
If you want to make African cuisine with local ingredients, consider trying out alloco. This dish is mainly taken as a snack and consists of fried plantain.
Eat alloco with chilli peppers and onions for a tingly and sour feel. Further, pair it with eggs and tomato sauce for a completely balanced meal. If you prefer eating out, explore various African restaurants in your region serving this authentic Ivorian dish.
8. Bunny Chow
Bunny Chow is a star South African cuisine with Durban roots. It consists of a quarter or half bread loaf filled with egg curry, mutton, beam, or meat. While the traditional bunny chow dish was vegetarian, it is revolutionizing to an all-inclusive meal.
More ingredients you can find stuffed in the bread are cheese, eggs, sausage, and chips. Others also opt for carrot-chilli and onion salad, mangoes, lemon, or vegetable pickles. This humongous meal is often sold for two people and placed in bunny boxes to prevent spillage.
When planning to visit Central Africa, eating koki should be on your to-do list. This delicious appetizer includes steamed, mashed peas wrapped in soft banana leaves. Its characteristic bright red colour is from the use of palm nut sauce and sometimes oil.
In case you prefer to make koki at home, buy African cuisine ingredients from a reliable supplier. After that, pair the dish with chilli pepper, fish, or shrimp stew
Wat is an Ethiopian curry made using chicken, beef, or lamb as the primary ingredients. It also includes spice mixtures such as berbere and clarified butter for enhanced taste. Traditionally, most people eat wat with the famous spongy millet flatbread called injera.
A popular version of this cuisine, known as Doro wat, also includes pieces of hard-boiled eggs. This exotic dish pairs well with plain rice and green vegetables.
Try Out Different African Cuisine
Making African cuisine is the perfect way to enjoy savoury dishes while learning about different cultures. At Niyis, we supply you with all the fresh ingredients you need to prepare these meals.
With our broad category of meats, spices, and vegetables, you can try different exotic cuisines. Sign up today to start shopping.