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10 Top Easy-to-Cook Traditional African Food Recipes

Posted by Nia Scott on

10 Top Easy-to-Cook Traditional African Food Recipes

The advantages of home-cooked meals aren’t a secret to anyone.

First, eating at home is way more affordable than eating out. On top of that, home-cooking just tastes better than anything else. There’s nothing quite like preparing a hearty, flavorful dish for the ones you love—or even for yourself.

 What makes home cooking even better?

When you’re able to bring authentic and traditional African recipes to life.

Why?

Because the flavors, as a rule, are intense and leave a lasting impression. They’re influenced by imported spices. Furthermore, these spices are affordable and can be bought in bulk, lasting for months.

If you want to bring Africa's rich aromas and delicious tastes into your dining room, read on and learn these ten easy-to-make recipes:

Traditional African Food Recipe #1:
Jollof Rice
Jollof Rice Recipe and Ancestry DNA Results - Grandbaby Cakes

Jollof rice is one of many African recipes that has an array of variations.

However, the five must-have ingredients that you’ll find in this dish are as follows:

  • Rice
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Scotch bonnets
  • Chili peppers

It’s rare for there to be a Nigerian dish without Jollof rice being an integral component in the recipe. And this delicious offering is best known for being brought out for festive occasions.

Much like how many southern states have a rivalry over BBQ, many West African communities are trying to stake their claim to the best Jollof recipe. 

Traditional African Food Recipe #2: 
Senegalese Lemon Chicken
Senegalese Lemon Chicken Recipe | MyRecipes

This West African dish, also known as Chicken Yassa, is beautiful in its simplicity. Here are the three straightforward steps that’ll lead to Senegal-inspired deliciousness:

  • Marinate the chicken in lemon juice.
  • Broil the chicken.
  • Stew it in the boiled-down marinade

The first time you try this splendid dish won’t be the last, because it’s guaranteed to become one of your weeknight-dinner staples.

Traditional African Food Recipe #3:
Pepper Soup

How does this sound? Take sumptuous Nigerian herbs and spices along with either flavorful goat meat or with fish combined with a light broth that's packed with flavor.

Peppersoup is what cures the soul in West Africa, just as chicken soul does in North America. This splendid soup provides comfort and warmth. It seems to carry healing powers with its rich earthiness if you’re feeling gloomy or under the weather.

Versions of this soup are varying, but for it to be authentically pepper soup, it must possess the traditional seasoning, which includes:

  • Ataiko (Alligator pepper)
  • Uda
  • Gbafilo.

There’s ready-made spice mix available online, but you can also make a variation without Nigerian ingredients.

Traditional African Food Recipe #4: 
Mashed Peas and Potatoes with Corn (Irio)

Mashed peas and potatoes with corn (irio) is a trademark Kenyan dish known both for convenience and excellent flavors.

Not only can irio hold its own as a standalone meal, but it’s also an ideal side with grilled meats. Though, if you’re going meatless and prefer keeping things plant-based in the kitchen, stir a cup of thawed lima beans into the mash.

In the local dialect, irio translates to “food,” speaking to how much of a signature meal this offering can be.

Traditional African Food Recipe #5:
East African Braised Chicken

Nothing quite says bright and intense flavors like a chicken braised in broth with dates and raisins.

East African braised chicken stems from the Indian spice trade that introduced potent, aromatic curry dishes to the region. Also, making this traditional African recipe requires a regional braising technique.

The most economical way to go about preparing the chicken is starting with a 3-to-4-pound bird. Then you must remove the bone-in breasts, thighs, and drumsticks.

Traditional African Food Recipe #6:
Spicy North African Pork Tenderloin

Pork tenderloin, in and of itself, is an absolutely mouth-watering dish. When you immerse this delectable cut of meat with North African style cuisine, it becomes dynamic and irresistible.

The magic spell of this recipe is bolstered by roasted red bell peppers, cumin, garlic, and coriander.

Now, all you need is yogurt sauce, and you’ll have a ridiculously tasty main dish that fills your belly and feeds your soul.

Traditional African Food Recipe #7:
Cucumber-Mango Salad

There does tend to be a story behind most traditional African food, and this refreshing salad is no different. More specifically, mangoes were brought to the eastern region by Persian traders in the 10th century.

Of course, this delightfully fresh dish isn’t enough to stand on its own, and best acts as a complement to a more robust plate. It pairs with stewed or braised meats (like the chicken we just discussed!), adding some bright notes for balance.

If you want to further diversify and brighten the flavors, try adding these delicious spices:

  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves

Then you can add some peanuts for an added crunch, for a more well-rounded texture. Red jalapenos are usually found in this salad, but if they aren’t available, use twice as many green ones.

Traditional African Food Recipe #8:
Red Whole Wheat Penne

One of the world’s most famous Ethiopian chefs, Marcus Samuelsson, has put forth his own magnificent version of this dish. Unlike the chef’s modern version, traditionally, this pasta offering is known for butter and oily richness.

Yes, pasta isn’t necessarily something associated with African cuisine. But a brief Italian occupation during WWII left a European impact in both the cathedrals and the kitchens.

Traditional African Food Recipe #9:
Mafé

Mafé (otherwise known as maafe) is a dish that originated in Mali, then spread across the West African region. It’s probably best known in Gambia and Senegal, where it was popularized during the colonial period. It was during a time when initiatives were put in place to increase the production of groundnuts.

This Malian dish combines meat with a peanut or peanut butter sauce. It’s then served over rice or couscous.

Traditional African Food Recipe #10:
Aubergine Stew

In Ghana, there are whitish/yellowish local vegetables called garden eggs.

The eggplants are commonly and successfully used as the primary ingredient in a stew. They're combined with okra, meat, and continually smoking palm oil. Together, this mishmash of flavorful goodness creates an unbelievably decadent dish.

Throughout Ghana, aubergine stew is regularly served with a soured maize meal starch known as banku. We also suggest serving it on a bed of couscous.

You Won’t Need to Search for “African Food Near Me?” With These Recipes

When we're all told to stay home, it's good to have the added motivation of these delicious African recipes to help us remain put.

While you're making these awesome recipes at-home, take a look at our "50 Shows and Movies to Stream Right Now". 


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17 comments


  • The actual recipes would’ve been nice. Folks, here’s cookbook I found on Amazon.
    https://smile.amazon.com/Flavors-Africa-Discover-Authentic-Continent/dp/1624146740/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1M9C3NPDMX15W&dchild=1&keywords=african+cookbooks&qid=1596559289&refinements=p_85%3A2470955011%2Cp_72%3A2661618011&rnid=2661617011&rps=1&sprefix=african+cook%2Caps%2C177&sr=8-2

    Rafael A. Castillo on

  • Everything looks so good! Where are the recipes?!

    Brenda Boyd on

  • But where are the recipes

    Venetta on

  • I figured I’d help so here y’all go!!

    Jollof Rice, Author: Imma

    Servings: 5 cups

    Ingredients
    3-4 tablespoons (42ml-56ml) vegetable oil
    1 medium onion , diced, (red or white onions)
    2 teaspoons (1.6g) fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon (1g) dried thyme , optional
    1 tablespoon (8g) minced garlic or (9.7g) garlic powder
    3 cups (591g) rice , long-grain, uncooked rice (I used Basmati)
    1 tablespoon (7g) paprika
    2 teaspoons (4g) chicken bouillon
    salt and pepper to taste
    1 14-ounce can of tomato sauce or puree
    4 cups (1000ml) chicken broth or water ( 5 1/4 cups for stove top)
    1 scotch bonnet pepper or ¾ teaspoon hot pepper , omit if cooking for kids
    1 pound (453.59g) vegetables (optional) (can be peas and carrots, green beans or corn)
    parsley for garnishing

    Instructions

    Stovetop Method
    Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
    Next add onions, thyme, and garlic, cook for about 2 minutes or until onion becomes soft and translucent.
    Add rice, season with paprika, bouillon, salt, and pepper.
    Cook stirring often until fragrant, for about 30 seconds. and brown stirring occasionally, for about 2-3 minutes.
    Pour tomatoes sauce, chicken broth, and hot pepper, if using any into saucepan.
    Bring to a boil stirring once or twice. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, for 15-18 minutes.
    Remove pan from heat, let it sit covered for 5 minutes then fluff rice with a fork or serving spoon. Then throw in sauteed veggies and/or beef, chicken and shrimp and mix, if desired
    Garnish with parsley and serve.

    From: https://www.africanbites.com/jellof-riceoven-baked/

    Andrea on

  • I agree with other comments. Please provide the recipes with amount of ingredients, directions, etc. Thank you.

    Phyllis J on


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