10 African Recipes to Try in 2014

Although African cuisine is among the most diverse, it remains relatively unexplored. With food trends indicating increased interest in ethnic foods, I asked my friends on social media to help me compile 10 dishes someone new to African food should try this year. The result was a delicious mix of favorites.

Jollof Rice. Undoubtedly the most popular rice dish on the continent. Jollof is a delicious blend of tomatoes, onions, rice and peppers for a dash of heat. Although rice is the preferred starch, newer versions include trendy ingredients such as millet, quinoa and couscous. Make it with Afrolems. 

Seswaa. Botswana’s answer to America’s pulled pork! Chunks of beef are simmered in a seasoned onion broth before being pounded to shreds. The result is an amazingly flavorful, tender dish. Watch Freedes of My Burnt Orange make Seswaa

Huku ne Dovi. Chicken and peanuts are a match made in heaven. Chicken pieces are stewed over low heat before tomatoes, onions and peanut butter are added to transform the dish into a scrumptious entrée. Although the name “Huku ne Dovi” is Zimbabwean, the dish is enjoyed in numerous African countries. Cook it with Thuli of Msanzi Cuisine.

Chakalaka. Believed to be the result of an amalgamation of local South African and immigrant flavors, Chakalaka is certainly the dish with a fun name. Often served at braais (BBQs), its main ingredients make it the ultimate vegan dish for any meal. Serve it like I do at your next BBQ. 

Kamba wa Nazi. A taste of the African tropics. This dish hails from the Swahili-speaking countries and utilizes seafood, often fresh-caught, that is simmered in a perfect concoction of coconut milk and aromatic seasonings. Make it the Tanzanian way with Miriam of Taste of Tanzania.

Yassa. From the Sene-Gambia region of West Africa, Yassa is chicken or fish marinated in a lemon-mustard sauce before being grilled or pan-fried. The onions are sautéed and then simmered in the marinade, creating the ultimate tangy sauce. Cook it with Yeti from Afrofoodtv.

Moroccan Meatballs. Tagine pots are known for the immense flavor they impart to a dish, but it's the mix of spices in this dish that make it simply incredible. Adhis, author of Chef Afrik, advises not to serve this dish during the summer because it is “that heavy.” Savor it the Chef Afrik way.

Red-Red. Named for two main ingredients, palm oil and tomatoes, Red-Red is a popular Ghanaian dish. Black-eyed peas are added to a flavorful tomato-palm sauce and served with a side of plantain. Discover Red-Red with Fran of Betumiblog.

Bunny Chow (pictured at top). Street food, South African style! But don’t worry, no bunnies are harmed in this sinfully delicious chicken curry served in a quarter loaf of bread. Skip the chicken and add chickpeas for an out of this world vegan dish. Chow down with Cooksister’s Jeanne.

Mopane Worms. Your African experience would not be complete without a taste of the environmentally responsible mopane worm. Whether sautéed with a sauce or pan fried with hot chili peppers and lime, mopane worms can be the sustainable protein for your meal or post-workout snack. I dare you to find them and try them! Munch on them with Zimbokitchen’s Rumbi.

Not much of a cook? We've got you covered! Due to the expanding diaspora, the number of African restaurants worldwide is increasing. Stop by a local eatery and experience the many tastes of Africa.

“Karibuni!” (Swahili invitation to join in a meal.)

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Cordialis Msora-Kasago
​Cordialis Msora-Kasago, MA, RD, is National Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a California-based registered dietitian of Zimbabwean descent. She is passionate about African diets and the prevention of chronic diseases. Read her blog, The African Pot Nutrition. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.