Recipes for Traditional African Food
March 3, 2010 8:25 PM   Subscribe

Your recipes for traditional African food; show them to me.

I’m looking to widen my culinary tastes, and while contemplating how to do so I realised that I didn’t even know of any recipes that hail from the African continent.

I googled to find some traditional African recipes and some stuff looks great but other stuff looks really exotic. While I’m trying to widen my tastes, I’m also wanting to do so somewhat cautiously. Which is where good ol’ trusty Ask Metafilter comes in.

I need not only your recipes but your recommendations on what kind of flavour or texture the finished product will give me. So if you have any recipes from any of the African nations, be they recipes for spicy meals, mild or plain meals or even desserts, please share them here!
posted by Effigy2000 to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Doro wot! Doro wot! It's a delicious chicken stew kind of thing, not too exotic except for some of the spices, but you can put less berber in it and it's just a total comfort food. Here's a recipe, and you can search Google for more (I haven't tested any of the recipes, as I've only had doro wot in restaurants, but it's basically chicken legs and thighs cooked with lemon and onions for hours upon hours upon hours until it's really tender).
posted by infinitywaltz at 8:44 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here's something that might be a bit different than you're used to, due to the inclusion of peanuts & peanut butter in soup: West African Peanut Soup With Chicken. Not sure how authentic it is. Thighs work great.

My Ghanaian friend describes her family recipe for jollof, aka jellof, as follows:
"basically, sautee beef in a pan. boil chicken in a pot. when chicken is cooked, add in the beef. sautee the rice with a can of tomato paste. then throw it all together in a pot with plenty of water" I've never had it, so I can't vouch for its texture or her accuracy in describing her process, but I kind of feel like that must work out well.

See also this thread on the Blue.
posted by knile at 9:14 PM on March 3, 2010

My friend would like to amend her earlier statement from "water" to "weak broth", like 1 bouillon cube to 2 cups water. The ratio should be about 4 C cooked rice to 1-2lbs total meats. She usually uses 1 lb cubed chicken and 1 lb stew beef. Be careful not to burn the rice.
posted by knile at 9:24 PM on March 3, 2010

Best answer: Hi, I can give you an easy recipe for Ful (or ful medames) which is an everyday and breakfast staple in Sudan and Egypt (I'm half Sudanese). You need fava beans, you can buy these dry and soak and cook them but to be honest I prefer the tinned variety as the skins are more tender. You should be able to get them in ethnic food shops. Heres the recipe: for 2 people finely chop a medium onion, in Sudan this would be fried in a very light sesame oil (much much lighter than the chinese variety but a light olive oil will do) cook till softened then add a tin of ful beans and a little powdered cumin to taste, heat through, the tinned variety shouldn't need salt but you can add pepper. The trick with ful is all in the garnishes: serve in a deep dish to share, topped with diced tomato, cucumber and onion and crumble feta cheese over it (this is a middle eastern addition to this African dish) and drizzle with a light olive oil. Serve with pita/flat bread and eat with hands. Some people even crumble cooked felafel over ful along with the other stuff to make it a more complete meal. Enjoy!
posted by nadmer at 11:41 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]

Forgot to answer the question about texture, it's the consistency of a lentil or bean stew
posted by nadmer at 11:43 PM on March 3, 2010

Knife beat me to the African Cookbook link. There are some fabulous recipes in there.
posted by Forktine at 4:06 AM on March 4, 2010

African chicken in spicy red sauce. This is absolutely yummy, doesn't require any exotic ingredients, and even comes from Cooking Light so it isn't insane with the fat or other unhealthy things.
posted by DrGail at 4:53 AM on March 4, 2010

Doro wot!

You might be intimidated by the huge amounts of butter and berbere in doro wot recipes, but don't skimp, just tell yourself it's in the name of Authenticity. I once hosted an ethiopian-food dinner party and went through 64 ounces of ghee. Delicious!
posted by soma lkzx at 5:27 AM on March 4, 2010

I have nothing but praise for the misr wot and berbere on Saveur, and what I've tried off has been great, especially the yemiser w'et. The first was like an Indian dal, the second like any lentil stew. The berbere, which I tried in other dishes, added a totally novel dimension of what I can only describe as warmth to the food. Not spicy hot, just an overall...warmth. Like the food still seemed to retain (again, non-spicy) heat even after cooling, for what sense that makes.
posted by kmennie at 6:09 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Not internet based, but you might want to try taking a look at The Soul of a New Cuisine by Marcus Samuelsson. It contains recipes from a wide variety of African countries and gives a lot of context to the ingredients and development of the various cuisines. It also takes traditional recipes and gives options that are easier for those outside of Africa to find or slightly adjusted to the "western" palette. I have a copy and have enjoyed everything that I've made from it so far.
posted by urbanlenny at 6:59 AM on March 4, 2010

I've had a very similar recipe to the peanut stew knile linked to (chicken, tomato, peanut butter, yams/sweet potato). I was wary of peanuts/peanut butter mixed with tomato, but it was delicious, totally worth making, and I've made it again since. The texture is like a thick soup or a stew, nothing odd about it, and the taste is sort of nutty and delicious - not weird or intimidating.

I also don't know how authentic or traditional it is, but it is good.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:43 AM on March 4, 2010

Love this questions so hard. North African cuisine is my newest obsession thanks to two places that just opened up locally. As for Ethiopian, nthing doro wat and giving a loving shout-out to its lentil brethren miser and shiro wat. Also, maybe looking for an approximation recipe for that dry cottage cheese--it's not available where I am, but you can find recipes that supposedly give similar results. That stuff is so delicious.

If this is too much of a usurping of space to ask here mods please delete but--we went to a Sudanese restaurant a couple months ago and had moukhbaza, which is a banana paste drizzled in green pepper sauce and olive oil and apparently a common accompaniment to many dishes. I've looked high and low for a recipe online to no avail--I find it mentioned in things like that African cookbook link, described as very common, but can never actually get a recipe. Does anyone have one or know an affordable cookbook that provides one? I'm desperate. Thanks...
posted by ifjuly at 10:13 AM on March 4, 2010

Ghanaian recipes

I'm Ghanaian and can vouch for the authenticity of the recipes. The author is white, but her husband is Ghanaian and she studied with one of the best schools in Ghana.
posted by ramix at 11:14 AM on March 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Did someone say this above yet? There is NO ONE AFRICAN FOOD; there are so many different types of cuisine. At least, you should be trying something east-like (Ethiopian is relatively easy to get and is based on and served on the fabulous njera), something north-like (Moroccan), something west-like (I have to agree with knile and ramix, Ghana is pretty great, especially considering it was an English colony, and what the English have done to food), and South Africa alone has such VARIETY because of its mixed racial history: a touch of lowland Europe, some more "African" local flavors, and a wide streak of Malaysian. Lovely lovely lovely.

The aforementioned peanut soup is fantastic, ramix himself posted a recipe a while back. To make it really Ghana, you add GOAT, not chicken, and it should be really, really spicy.

Serving it with rice is okay, but again, real Ghana is fufu, made from mashed cassava or yam into a consistency between bread dough and play-doh. Form into a ball, serve. To eat, use right hand to tear off a bit of fufu, smooth it out, dip into the stew and eat.

As a side, serve deep-fried ripe plantains. If you eat Latin food, you mmay know them as maduros but the ones we got in Ghana were always soaked in salt water, bringing a mix of sweet and salty flavors.

Oh. Yum.
posted by whatzit at 12:27 PM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

« Older Help me find an awesome watch!   |   I feel like I'm just wired wrong. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.