15 Dishes that Summarizes the African Cooking Experience

The first-ever barbecue dish was first discovered in the African continent, and because grilling was the first method of cooking the human race have ever used (where they would simply put meat on top of fire), they can claim to have invented cooking as we know it today. Despite this fact, African cuisine is still so underrated.  We can certainly name any other dish from cuisine all over the world, but we never really hear any dish that came out of Africa. Just to give you an idea of what to expect from African cuisine, each country uses the humblest of ingredients like root crops, grains, and corn to create a wide variety of dishes that range from curries, breyanis, stews, tagines, and many more. You will discover that there is an African dish that suits every palate. Come and join our journey as we discover 15 dishes that summarize the African cooking landscape.  

Pap en Vleis from South Africa

What better way to start this list with something that our palates are very familiar with. Pap en Vleis literally stands for corn porridge and meat. It is a very colorful and appetizing dish that contains barbequed meat, corn porridge, a side of relish, and a spicy gravy dip. It is very popular in the Southern African region particularly in the country of South Africa. It really is a plate that represents South Africa and the complex flavors of the continent. Recipe: https://www.taste.co.za/recipes/pap-en-vleis/  Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CZ6quqVoZM  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B6dLGyTD3HT/  

Piri Piri Chicken of Mozambique

Mozambique cuisine is heavily influenced by Arab and Portuguese flavors that are perfectly complemented by traditional African flavors. Piri Piri chicken is a grilled chicken that is marinated in pepper, lime, garlic, coconut milk, and traditional Piri Piri sauce. Although Mozambique is known for its seafood and spicy prawns (especially in its capital city of Maputo), this simple barbecue chicken dish is becoming increasingly common in the west for its very complex and exotic flavors. Recipe: https://donalskehan.com/recipes/piri-piri-chicken/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=192_F6eorZU Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B41Kp95lj2k/  

Nigerian Jollof Rice and Egusi

Pinpointing the single dish that would completely represent the country of Nigeria proved difficult due to the massive distinct regional flavors that surround the country. But one dish that sets Nigerian cuisine apart is the Jollof Rice that is paired with Egusi soup. Jollof rice is a very flavorful one-pot dish that consists of rice, onions, tomatoes, and peppers.  The flavor could be closely identifiable to the Cajun Jambalaya.  Egusi, on the other hand, is a soup that is made with melon seeds, bitter leaves, yam, and fried plantains.  

Jollof Rice

Recipe: https://cheflolaskitchen.com/jollof-rice/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiauBUYtiYQ  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_IS_n0lXyC/  

Egusi Soup

Recipe: https://cheflolaskitchen.com/egusi-soup-recipe/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqGj3_UT9h8 Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bkewn3wBxjZ/  

Bunny Chow from South Africa

This unique dish is another one from South Africa.  No one really knows exactly what “Bunny Chow” means or where the name came from. But based on appearance alone, it looks like a loaf of bread where the insides are removed then turned into some sort of a bowl, which is then filled with rich and delicious meat and vegetable curry. The curry, however, is known to have been brought about by 19th-century Indian laborers that came to South Africa to work on the sugar-cane fields. Recipe: https://www.africanbites.com/bunny-chow/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lneChAznziw Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_xSjnUHS4q/

Kapenta From Zimbabwe

Kapenta is a favorite source of protein in Zimbabwe. It is a combination of two kinds of small freshwater fish that is sourced from Lake Tanganyika. Kapenta is usually served with a side of corn porridge, and it can be eaten dried or fresh.  One popular recipe is Kapenta stewed in tomatoes, groundnut powder, and onions served with a low-carb green salad. When eating Kapenta, you should forget about your knife and fork, because it is traditionally eaten by hand. Recipe: https://zambiankitchen.com/how-to-cook-kapenta/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOcq-Ibg4xE  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BTZOMNYg5_7/

Malawi’s Chambo

Chambo is a fish that comes from Lake Malawi and it is the country’s most popular fish. It is traditionally grilled and served alongside Nsima, a very thick porridge, or with chips. Chambo is also served with Ifisashi, a salad topped with peanut sauce,  cassava or pumpkin relish, groundnut powder, and tomatoes. Recipe: https://www.internationalcuisine.com/malawian-chambo/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plTuQbf8qwM Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_AT6t2pYRs/

Namibian Venison

The Southern African region loves a good Venison, particularly the country of Namibia.  Its cuisine is heavily influenced by South Africa and Germany. This would become apparent when you see South African dishes Biltong, Potjiekos, Braaivleis, being served in restaurants along with German favorites such as cured meat, sausages, Eisbein, and Sauerkraut. The country’s favorite Venison dish is the Mahangu, paired with a corn porridge called the “Oshifima.” Recipe: http://goldrestaurant.blogspot.com/2013/10/namibian-venison-pot-recipe.html Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGKwFWzhLuE Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwUGR1rHZpW/  

Muamba de Galinha from Angola

Angola is a former colony of Portugal, and the Angolan cuisine definitely reflects this. The Muamba de Galinha is more commonly known as “Chicken Muamba.”  It is a stew covered in palm oil that’s spiced by chilis and an added texture of Okra. There is a similar variation of this dish that can be found in Congo called the “Poulet Moambe,” which is traditionally served with white rice and cassava leaves. Gabon also has a different twist to this very flavorful dish, and their version is called the “Nyembwe Chicken” which is cooked with Macadamia nuts. It is so good in fact, that they have hailed it as the country’s national dish. The Chicken Muamba is greatly complemented by any popular porridges from all across Africa like the Fufu, Funge, or the Ugali. Recipe: https://www.africanbites.com/muamba-chickenmuamba-de-galinha/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNse8y6cS24  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_X7LynH8dK/  

South Africa’s Cape Breyani

This is our third entry from South Africa. It originated from the cuisine of the ethnic group Cape Malay. Breyani is an aromatic dish that is composed of rice, marinated meat, spices and lentils sprinkled by chopped hard-boiled eggs and crispy-fried onions. The Cape Breyani is cooked very slowly with its ingredients all in one pot. Recipe: https://www.food.com/recipe/cape-biryani-breyani-429273 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLJKc2SnYUI Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B-90rmtj4p4/  

Zanzibari Biryanis and Pilaus from Zanzibar

This is an African dish that is heavily influenced by Indian cuisine, hence the use of curry and basmati rice. There are a lot of variations of the Zanzibari Biryani that ranges from seafood, meat, and vegetarian. The Pilau is a one-pot dish that is heavily spiced using cumin, cardamom, and pepper. Both of these dishes are perfect being eaten with a side of fresh tomato and onion salad called the “Kachumbari” which is popular across Eastern Africa.  

Biryani

Recipe: mastercook.com/app/recipe/WebRecipeDetails?recipeId=1636562 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToXULIDxuvc Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bxa2SjylEQv/  

Pilaus

Recipe: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/pilau_rice_81725 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uioufp8RbLE Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BcuzmdaBXTS/  

Nyama na Irio from Kenya

The Nyama na Irio originated as a staple food of the Kikuyu tribe and has since crept its way through the whole of Kenya. This dish is made from mashed peas, potatoes, beans, onion, and corn that is commonly served with roasted meat. It is believed among Kenyans (especially professional runners) to have health benefits that increase stamina, just like another dish that’s called the “Sukuma Wiki,” which stands for “push for the week” in Swahili.  This is because the dish is traditionally made to be able to feed a whole family for a whole week. It is made from onions, kale, and other spices to be partnered with Ugali, a popular corn porridge. Recipe: https://www.food.com/recipe/nyama-na-irio-steak-and-irio-kenya-456205 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teTmX_e-zhw  Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/uWIP0gzTiW/  

Egyptian Koshari

Koshari is an Egyptian vegetarian dish that is made of macaroni, rice, lentil, chickpea, and garlic, and tossed on a bed of spicy tomato sauce and sprinkled with crispy fried onions. You can find Koshari in any Egyptian restaurant and Egyptian streets where they sell these as takeaway street food. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to order a side of Mahshi, which is cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and vine leaves filled with spiced rice. Recipe: https://www.themediterraneandish.com/egyptian-koshari-recipe/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEa9J4yUqHg Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bu5k4DugE4y/  

Ful Medames from Egypt

The second Egyptian dish entry on our list, according to historians, is a dish that predates the Ottomans, has existed even before the Islam religion entered Egypt, and is even possibly as old as the Pharaohs. This dish is currently an Egyptian staple, and was hailed as one of the country’s national dishes. It is made by simmering fava beans along with olive oil and spices. The dried fava beans are usually taken overnight to be cooked and served the next morning as breakfast along with pita bread and eggs. It is a very cheap meal that would fill you the whole day. Recipe: https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/ful-medames-352993 Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixpCabILuxw Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bqe1nzmAHTC/

South Africa’s Potjiekos and Stew

In Afrikaans, the term Potjiekos means “pot food”. Potjiekos is cooked in layers using a traditional three-legged cast-iron pot. This dish is technically a stew, and has the same features as your usual slow-simmered chicken, mutton, or beef stews. It can be found across the southern countries of the African Continent. The Potjiekos is usually served with Pap, Umngqusho (samp and beans), Amadombolo (dumplings), Ujeqe (steamed bread), Potbrood (pot-baked bread), or Morogo (wild greens salad). Recipe: https://tastyrecipes.sapeople.com/potjiekos/ Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUDWu5N4qfI Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_wMNBFJoUW/

Moroccan Pastilla au Pigeon

During the past few decades, Morocco has taken their place in the global culinary stages with their popular Couscous and Tagines, but these are dishes you won’t ever find in popular cookbooks. Pastilla au Pigeon is a sophisticated dish that has multiple flavor profiles that are rich, delicate, savory, and sweet. It is a pie that contains cooked and shredded pigeon along with egg sauce as a thickener and is then wrapped in a thin puff pastry in which the filling tastes nutty and spicy. In every traditional event and celebrations in Morocco, you would see a Pastilla au Pigeon, but it isn’t an everyday dish as it is complicated and time-consuming to make. Recipe: https:/www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/8257730/Moroccan-recipes-Pigeon-pastilla.html Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw2RtdRMrPA Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/lU_0I0RStV/

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