When we think of African cuisine, most people immediately think of dishes like jollof rice or fried plantains. But there’s so much more than that! These are some African dishes you’ve probably never heard of but should try.
Yassa, a popular Senegalese dish, is made with chicken that’s marinated in garlic and onions before being cooked in tomato sauce. It’s served over rice or couscous and garnished with sliced cucumber.
Yassa comes from the Wolof word “yass” which means “to cook”. The dish originated from West Africa but has become popular throughout the region; it’s also known as yassa au poulet in French-speaking countries such as Senegal and Mali.
Fufu is a staple food in West Africa and is made from cassava, yams or plantains. The starch-heavy dish is often eaten with soup or stewed meat or fish. It can also be enjoyed on its own as a side dish at breakfast time!
To make your own fufu:
- Peel and grate the cassava/yam/plantain into long strands (like spaghetti). If you have a food processor with grating attachment, this will make it even easier for you!
- Place them into cold water so they don’t turn brown while you prepare other ingredients for your meal
- Boil some salted water in a large pot over medium heat then add all your grated strands once it starts boiling again
- Stir continuously until cooked through (about 15 minutes), making sure not to burn yourself because hot stuff splashes out easily when stirred too vigorously
Egusi is a popular dish in West Africa. It’s made with ground seeds and leaves of the egusi plant, which is also called melon seed or pumpkin seed. The mixture is cooked with tomatoes and spices until it becomes thick and rich, then served with pounded yam or cassava (a starchy root), rice or fufu (a dough made from cassava).
Egusi can be served as an appetizer or side dish for lunch or dinner.
Fanta Salad is a popular dish in Ghana that’s made with Fanta soda and fruit. The soda is mixed with water and then poured over the fruit, which helps release its flavor. You can use mangoes or pineapples, but papayas are also great options!
Fanta Salad is best served chilled; it’s especially refreshing on hot days when you’re looking for something light but still flavorful.
Ugali is a staple food in Africa, and it’s a dish that you need to try. Ugali is made from maize flour (cornmeal). It can be served with stew or soup and eaten as an accompaniment to meat and vegetables.
It’s traditional to eat ugali in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda–three countries that border the Indian Ocean on Africa’s east coast.
Pap (or Staple) Pudding
This is a dish that’s more commonly served in South Africa, but it’s also popular among people in other parts of Africa. Pap is made from cornmeal that has been ground into flour and mixed with water. It’s then cooked over low heat until it reaches a thick consistency.
Pap is usually served with meat or fish–and if you’re lucky enough to find some pap on your plate at breakfast time, then you’ll probably want to enjoy some extra toast with it!
Bobotie (Afrikan Meatloaf)
Bobotie is a South African dish of ground beef, onions and curry powder cooked in a savory custard. The word “bobotie” comes from the Afrikaans word for “mincemeat.” It’s traditionally made with lamb or mutton but can also be made with chicken or beef.
The original recipe called for raisins and almonds, which are sometimes still found in modern versions of bobotie today. This savory custard is usually served with rice or bread on the side–and it’s delicious!
Mafe (Coconut Peanut Stew)
Mafe is a peanut stew that’s popular in Ghana. It’s made with chicken, peanut butter, and coconut milk–and it’s usually served over rice. You can also make it with beef or fish instead of chicken if you want to change things up a bit (just make sure your meat is cooked thoroughly before adding it).
Sambusa (Vegetable or Meat-Filled Pastry)
Sambusas are a savory pastry made with a wrapper of crepe-like dough and stuffed with a variety of fillings. The most popular sambusa is the vegetable version, but you can also find meat and cheese sambusas as well.
To make these yourself, you’ll need some kind of dough (either store-bought or homemade) as well as whatever ingredients you want to stuff inside–the possibilities are endless! You can use any kind of veggies or meats you like: potatoes, carrots and onions; beef; chicken breast…the list goes on! Once your filling is ready, just roll out the dough into circles about 12 inches wide on a lightly floured surface before adding one tablespoonful of filling at each end of the circle. Fold over and seal tightly by pressing along the edges with a fork dipped in water until completely sealed shut (you might have to do this twice). Then fry them in oil until golden brown all over before eating warm with ketchup if desired!
Ting (Seasoned Yogurt Drink)
Ting is a popular drink in Africa, and it’s often served with African dishes. Ting is made from yogurt, sugar and water. It can be served cold or hot depending on your preference. The most common way to make this drink at home is by adding 1/2 cup of sugar to 2 cups of yogurt with some hot water (the amount varies depending on what consistency you’d like). You can also use flavored yogurts such as strawberry or peach if you want something extra special!
Kikilu Gari (Ginger Beer)
The popular drink is usually made with ginger, sugar cane, and lime juice. It’s often served over ice. In Nigeria and Ghana, kikilu is also made from ginger and pineapple juice before being carbonated. To make a traditional serving in Nigeria, you simply slice the root into coins, squeeze some lime on top of it, then add some brown sugar or molasses to taste. If you’re looking for something more low-maintenance, try out the delicious recipe below! Kikilu is typically served with African dishes such as moi moi or egusi soup.
Whether you’re planning your next trip to Africa or just want to try something new, these dishes are sure to impress! If you’re looking for something simple and delicious, we recommend trying out our ginger beer recipe below.