African Cuisine. What Dishes Are the Most Popular in Africa?


African-Cuisine avaAfrican cuisine is a combination of locally available vegetables, fruits, cereal grains, and also milk and meat products. Often the cuisine differs much from region to region. But almost any traditional African food is surprising and extraordinary for foreigners. Learn more about the national dishes of various African countries, try to cook it and expand your knowledge about best world cuisines.

African cuisine is divided into several categories depending on the region:

  • Central African cuisine (it is based on the following products: cassava, groundnuts, chili peppers, bananas, crocodile, antelope, monkey and warthog meat);
  • East African cuisine (it is based on the following products: corn, beans, manioc, maize, millet, sorghum, coconut milk, cow's milk);
  • North African cuisine (it is based on the following products: goat, lamb or beef meat, seafood, dates, almonds, olives, different herbs and spices);
  • Horn African cuisine (it is based on the following products: teff, wheat, sorghum, legumes, mainly lentil like faba beans);
  • Southern African cuisine (it is based on the following products: curry, chicken, beef and fish meat, pineapples, mangoes, peaches, grapes, avocados and lichee nuts);
  • West African cuisine (it is based on the following products: sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams, okra, mutton, goat and beef meat, fish, cassava, cocoa).

Here are several recipes of African dishes:

Moroccan Pie

Tunisian chicken liver kebabs

North African spiced lamb kebabs

Couscous with Courgette, Cherry Tomatoes & Feta Cheese

Colourful couscous

Sweet and sour pork


Boiled maize




Jollof rice



Ila (okra)


Egusi with efo



Obe eja tutu

Obe ata

Ugali Ugali

Best national African dishes

Akara (Nigeria) – peeled black-eyed peas formed into balls and deep-fried.

Ahriche (Morocco) – tripe wrapped around sticks and cooked over hot coals.

Alloco (Cote d'Ivoire) – fried banana snack, served with chili pepper and onions.

Amala (Nigeria) – yam porridge, served with different soups.

Asida (North Africa) – lump of cooked wheat flour dough, sometimes served with honey or butter.

Attiéké (Cote d'Ivoire) – side or main dish made of cassava.

Baba ghanoush (Levant) – mashed eggplant with virgin olive oil and different seasonings.

Babute (Republic of Congo) – dish made from ground beef, curry powder, and apricots.

Bazeen (Libya) – barley dough served with tomato sauce, potatoes, eggs, and mutton.

Bichak (Morocco) – stuffed tricornered appetizer.

Biltong (Southern Africa) – raw meat (beef or game), cut into strips, cured and dried.

Bobotie (South Africa) – spiced ground meat with egg topping.

Brik (Algeria) – stuffed pastry.

Briouat (Morocco) – sweet puff pastry.

Bunny chow or just Bunny (South Africa) – fast food dish, a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with curry.

Cachupa (Cape Verde) – stew of hominy, beans, and meat.

Camel milk (North Africa) – milk of a camel.

Chakalaka (South Africa) – vegetable relish.

Chakhchoukha (Algeria) – stew made of lamb, tomatoes, spices, and flatbread.

Chamin (North Africa) – slow-cooked stew made of meat, beans, potatoes, and barley.

Chermoula (North Africa) – marinade of oil, pickled lemons, lemon juice, herbs, cumin, garlic, and salt, usually it is used to flavor seafood.

Cocada amarela (Angola) – dessert made from eggs and coconut.

Couscous (North Africa) – semolina pasta.

Delele (Zimbabwe) – okra prepared with baking soda.

Draw soup (Nigeria) – soup made of okra or pumpkin seeds.

Duqqa (Egypt) – dip of herbs and spices.

Echicha (Nigeria) – cassava, pigeon pea, and palm oil.

Fatteh (Levant) – khubz topped with different ingredients, like chickpeas, yogurt, and olive oil.

Feijoada (Southern Africa) – stew made of beef, beans, and pork.

Fesikh (Egypt) – fermented, salted mullet.

Fig roll (Egypt) – ancient Egyptian pastry, filled with fig paste.

Fit-fit (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – dish usually served for breakfast, but it can be served with other meals.

Freekeh (Levant) – cereal dish made from roasted green wheat.

Frejon (Nigeria) – coconut bean soup which is eaten especially during Holy Week.

Frikkadel (Southern Africa) – traditional African dish. Meatballs prepared with onion, bread, eggs, vinegar and spices. Usually this dish is baked, but sometimes deep-fried.

Fufu (Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia) – boiled starchy vegetables like cassava, yams or bananas which are pounded into a dough-like consistency and eaten in small balls with a dipping soup or sauce.

Ful medames (Egypt) – mashed fava beans with olive oil, onion, chopped parsley, garlic, and lemon juice.

Funkaso (Nigeria) – dish of millet pancakes containing millet, butter and sugar.

Ga'at-akkalat (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – stiff porridge, made from barley or wheat flour.

Mukhbaza (Eritrea) – wheat flour bread with ghee, honey, banana, and other ingredients.

Garri (West African) – popular West African food made from cassava tubers.

Gatsby sandwich (Southern Africa) – sandwich that is very similar in content and method of preparation to a hoagie in the United States.

Gored gored (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – raw beef dish that is typically cubed and left unmarinated.

Halva (Middle East) – refers to many types of dense, sweet confections.

Harira (Algeria and Morocco) – soup of Maghreb.

Hawawshi (Egypt) – meat minced and spiced with onions and pepper, parsley and sometimes hot peppers and chilies, placed between two circular layers of dough, then baked in the oven.

Himbasha (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – slightly sweet celebration bread.

Injera (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture.

Iru (Nigeria) – type of fermented locust beans used as a condiment in cooking.

Isi ewu (Nigeria) – traditional Eastern Nigeria dish made from a goat's head.

Isidudu (Zimbabwe) – pap dish made by simmering with pumpkin, curried cabbage and liver.

Jollof rice or Benachin (Senegal) – African garnish.

Kachumbari (East Africa) – fresh tomato and onion salad.

Kebab (Middle East) – wide variety of skewered meals originating in the Middle East and are now found worldwide.

Kedjenou (Cote d'Ivoire) – spicy stew that is slow-cooked in a sealed canari over fire or coals and prepared with chicken or guinea hen and vegetables.

Kelewele (Ghana and Liberia) – fried plantains seasoned with spices.

Kenkey (Ghana) – staple dish similar to a sourdough, usually served with a soup, stew, or sauce.

Kitcha (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – basic, thin, unleavened bread, that is cooked until slightly burned.

Kitfo (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – raw beef marinated in mitmita (a chili powder based spice blend) and niter kibbeh.

Koeksister (South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) – South African syrup-coated doughnut in a twisted or braided shape.

Konkonte (Ghana) – poverty food made from dried and pounded manioc root.

Kuli-kuli (Nigeria) – food made from peanuts.

Kushari (Egypt) – it is made from rice, chickpeas, lentils and macaroni covered with tomato sauce and fried onions.

Lablabi (Tunisia) – dish based on chick peas, thin garlic and cumin-flavoured soup, served over small pieces of stale crusty bread.

Lahoh (Somalia) – spongy, pancake-like bread.

Maafe (West Africa) – stew or sauce common in West Africa.

Makroudh (Tunisia) – pastry often filled with dates or almonds.

Mala Mogodu (Southern African) – food, served as a stew with hot pap usually in winter.

Malva pudding (Southern African) – sweet pudding, usually served hot with custard and/or ice-cream. It is made with apricot jam and has a spongy caramelized texture.

Mandazi (East Africa) – fluffy fried bread snack.

Matbucha (Morocco) – tomatoes and roasted bell peppers cooked together, seasoned with garlic and chili pepper.

Matoke (Uganda) – meal consisting of steamed green banana.

Méchoui (North Africa) – whole sheep or lamb spit roasted on a barbecue.

Melktert (South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) – South African dessert. It is a sweet pastry crust containing a creamy filling made of flour, milk, sugar and eggs.

Merguez (North Africa) – very spicy, red sausage of mutton or beef.

Mesfouf (Tunisia) – similar to couscous, with butter added.

Moin moin (Nigeria) – steamed bean pudding made from a mixture of washed and peeled black-eyed beans, onions and fresh ground peppers (usually a combination of bell peppers and chilli or scotch bonnet).

Mrouzia (Morocco) – sweet and salty tajine with honey, cinnamon and almonds.

Msemen (Maghreb) – traditional Amazigh pancakes in Maghreb.

Mugoyo (Uganda) – traditional main course dish in Uganda made from sweet potatoes and beans.

Mulukhiyah (Egypt) – soup made of the plant mulukhiyyah, which is rather bitter, and when boiled, the resulting liquid is a thick, highly mucilaginous broth.

Ndolé (Cameroon) – consists of a stew of nuts, ndoleh (bitter leaves indigenous to West Africa), and fish or ground beef.

Nshima (Central Africa) – cornmeal product and a staple food made from ground maize (corn) flour known locally as mealie-meal.

Obusuma (Kenya) – dish made from maize flour (cornmeal) cooked with boiling water to a thick porridge dough-like consistency.

Ogbono soup (Nigeria) – dish made with ground ogbono seeds, with local variation. The ground ogbono seeds are used as a thickener, and give the soup a black coloration.

Owofibo (Nigeria) – oil soup made of blended tomato mixed with akun and palm oil.

Pakora (South Asia) – fried snack (fritter) made from such ingredients as onion, potato, eggplant, chili pepper, spinach, cauliflower, plantain, paneer, tomato, or occasionally bread or chicken and dipping them in a batter of gram flour and then deep-frying them.

Pap (Namibia) – traditional porridge of mielie-meal (ground maize) or other grain.

Pastilla (Algeria and Morocco) – traditional Berber Moroccan dish, an elaborate meat pie made of squab (fledgling pigeons) or shredded chicken.

Phutu (South Africa) – traditional maize dish, crumbly or grainy type of pap (polenta) or porridge.

Potbrood (South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) – a kind of bread, was traditionally baked in a cast iron pot (also called Dutch oven) in a pit made in the ground and lined with hot coals. Nowadays it is often made at a braai by packing charcoal or wood coals around a cooking pot.

Potjiekos (Namibia and South Africa) – stew prepared in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot. The pot is heated by small amounts of wood or charcoal, twisted grass or even dried animal dung.

Pottage (Great Britain) – thick soup or stew made by boiling vegetables, grains, and, if available, meat or fish.

Qatayef (Egypt) – Arab dessert commonly served during the month of Ramadan, a sort of sweet dumpling filled with cream or nuts.

Sadza (Southern Africa and Eastern Africa) – cooked cornmeal.

Samosa (Widespread) – fried or baked pastry with a savory filling such as spiced potatoes, peas, onions, lentils, ground lamb or chicken.

Seswaa (Botswana) – traditional meat dish, made of beef, goat or lamb meat. The fatty meat is boiled until tender in any pot, with salt, and shredded or pounded. It is often served with pap (maize meal) or sorghum meal porridge.

Sfenj (North Africa) – donuts cooked in oil then soaked in honey or sprinkled with sugar.

Shahan ful (North Africa) – dish usually served for breakfast. It is made by slowly cooking fava beans in water, then crushed into a paste, which is then served alongside a diverse variety of foods.

Shakshouka (Northwest Africa) – dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers, onions, often spiced with cumin.

Shiro (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – homogenous stew, the primary ingredient is powdered chickpeas or broad bean meal. It is often prepared with the addition of minced onions and garlic, ground ginger or chopped tomatoes and chili-peppers.

Shish taouk (North Africa) – marinated and grilled skewered cubes of chicken.

Skilpadjies also called "muise", "vlermuise" or "pofadder" (South Africa) – lamb liver wrapped in netvet (caul fat). Most cooks mince the liver, add coriander, chopped onion, salt and Worcestershire sauce then wrap balls of this mixture with the netvet and secure it with a toothpick. The balls are grilled over an open charcoal fire and ready when the fat is crisp.

Sosatie (Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) – traditional meat dish (usually lamb or mutton) cooked on skewers.

Stuffed zucchinis (Worldwide) – dish that exists in different names and forms not only in Africa but around the world.

Suya (West Africa) – shish kebab generally made with skewered beef, fish, or chicken. The meat is rubbed-in with tankora, a dry spice mix containing cayenne pepper, powdered groundnuts, paprika, ginger and onion powder, then barbecued.

Tabil (Tunisia) – spice mixture that consists of ground coriander seed, garlic powder, caraway seed, and chili powder.

Tahini (North Africa) – paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds.

Tajine (North Africa) – Maghrebi dish named after the special earthenware pot in which it is cooked.

Tapalapa bread (West Africa) – traditional bread of western Africa.

Tapioca pudding (Widespread) – sweet pudding made with tapioca and either milk or cream.

Thieboudienne (Senegal) – this dish is made of fish, rice and tomato sauce, may also include onions, cassava, cabbage, carrots and peanut oil.

Tomato bredie (Namibia and South Africa) – stew usually made from mutton, cooked for a very long time. Its seasonings include cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves and chili.

Torta de Gazpacho (Algeria) – type of torta or flat bread.

Toum (Levant) – garlic sauce which contains garlic, olive or vegetable oil, salt, and lemon juice.

Ugali (African Great Lakes) – dish of maize flour (cornmeal) cooked with water to a porridge- or dough-like consistency.

Umngqusho (Widespread) – Bantu dish with several variants.

Usban (Tunisia) – traditional kind of Tunisian sausage, stuffed with a mixture of lamb chopped liver and heart, rice, herbs.

Vetkoek (Southern Africa) – dough deep-fried in cooking oil and either filled with cooked mince (ground beef) or spread with honey, syrup, or jam.

Wat (Ethiopia and Eritrea) – stew or curry that may be prepared with chicken, lamb, beef, a variety of vegetables, spice mixtures such as berbere, and niter kibbeh, a seasoned clarified butter.

Waterblommetjiebredie (South Africa) – stew made of meat, usually lamb, stewed together with the waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos flowers) which are found in the dams and marshes of the Western Cape of South Africa.

Yassa (Senegal) – spicy, marinated fish or poultry dish prepared with onions and lemon.

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