In terms of culture, ethnicity, language, and landscape, Africa is one of the largest and most diverse continents in the world.

Packed with colour, depth, and flavour, African food is just as varied – though, this should come as no surprise when you consider that the continent comprises 54 distinct countries and runs a length of 5,000 miles!

Despite its deliciousness, African cuisine – at least in the UK – isn’t as widely known or celebrated as it deserves to be.

So, from the fragrant tagines of North Africa to the boboties of South Africa, we’ve pulled together 10 African recipes to get you inspired.

1. Jollof rice (Nigeria)

Jollof rice Nigeria

Believed to have originated in Nigeria, Jollof is eaten all along the coast of West Africa, and while every country has their own specific version of the dish, there are a few unifying factors.

The classic version almost always involves long-grain rice cooked in a tasty tomato sauce that’s packed with spices and seasoning, like scotch bonnet chillies, onion, garlic, thyme, and curry powder.

Other than that, there are no strict rules, and you can add meat or veg depending on your diet and taste preferences.

The key to perfect Jollof is the sauce, so it’s worth getting high-quality tomatoes, peppers, and chillies, taking a bit of time to make sure you’ve got your flavours balanced, and allowing the stock and seasoning to infuse the whole dish.

In Nigeria, Jollof is often served with fried, ripe plantain and coleslaw, and if you want to add even more authenticity, try turning up the heat for the last few minutes so the rice scorches at the bottom!

One of the most popular varieties of Jollof is Party Rice, a wonderfully smoky version that’s seriously moreish. Try this recipe from Delicious to give it a go, or watch the video below.

2. Maafe peanut stew (Senegal and Gambia)

Maafe peanut stew

Another dish that’s also eaten throughout West Africa is maafe, which is a thick peanut stew.

Just like Jollof, there are many different variations of this dish: in Gambia, maafe is usually made with squash or sweet potato, and in Nigeria, it’s usually eaten with rice or fufu (a doughy dish made from cassava).

One of the most popular versions, however, comes from Senegal. This variation of maafe is filling, thick, and spicy, and the combination of flavoursome tomato sauce, complex spices, and creamy peanut butter means you probably won’t be able to get enough of this dish.

While some versions of maafe are very thick – more akin to curries than stews – others are thinner and have a more soup-like consistency. So it’s up to you which version you’d like to make. Both are delicious, and you can serve them with rice (or cauliflower rice), millet, bread, or dumplings.

In Senegal, chicken is often added for an extra protein boost, though if you don’t eat meat you can swap it for chickpeas, tofu, or mock-meat. Or, simply add extra veggies like potatoes and carrots to bulk it out.

Just like many African dishes, the secret to great tasting stew is the spices and seasoning, and garlic, paprika, chillies, onions, and tomatoes form the backbone of this wonderful recipe.

To make authentic Senegalese peanut stew, try this recipe from Immaculate Bites, or check out the video below.

3. Bobotie (South Africa)

Bobotie (South Africa)

Heading down to South Africa now, this classic, national dish (pronounced ba-bo-tea) is full of the unique flavours of this part of the continent. This is another warming, deeply satisfying dish that’s ideal for the chilly months ahead.

Bobotie is a mixture of curried meat, veg, and fruit that’s topped with a savoury egg-custard style topping.

The mix of meat and fruit (and custard-style topping) might sound a little unorthodox, but it’s rather like a cross between moussaka and a more aromatic shepherd’s pie – just packed with the deep, zingy flavours of South Africa!

Authentic bobotie usually contains minced beef that’s cooked with cumin, nutmeg, bay leaves, onions, garlic, and then fruit like sultanas, raisins, or chutney.

Condiments like Worcestershire sauce and curry paste are also often added for extra depth, and once you’ve cooked your main mix, you can simply add your eggy topping and bake until set.

It’s also easy enough to make a vegetarian version of this dish too – just swap the minced beef for veggie mince, or even lentils (though veggie mince has a more authentic, meatier texture).

To make South African bobotie, try this recipe from Effortless Foodie, or watch the video below.

4. Kedjenou chicken stew (Ivory Coast)

Kedjenou chicken stew

Located on the southern coast of West Africa, and considered by many to be the cultural hub of this part of the continent, the Ivory Coast is a country known for its love of spice and slow-cooking.

This next recipe – kedjenou chicken stew – is no exception, so if you like your food with a lot of heat, this next dish might be for you!

Traditionally, kedjenou is cooked in a special vessel called a canari or canary, which is a conical clay pot very similar to a tagine. The pot lid stays closed for the entire cooking time, and the ingredients of the stew cook slowly in their own juices and steam to produce maximum, concentrated flavours.

You don’t need to have a canary, or even a tagine, to cook this dish, as using a cast iron cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid will have a similar effect – though you might want to wrap some tin foil over the lid to make sure absolutely no steam escapes. Give the pot a shake from time to time to stop the food from burning or sticking to the bottom.

Cooking the dish like this will result in really succulent pieces of chicken and tender veg – usually red, green, and yellow peppers, aubergine, tomatoes and onions.

Ginger, garlic, chillies, thyme, smoked paprika and bay leaves make sure this stew is lip-smackingly delicious, fiery, and saucy – and while it’s filling in its own right, you can also serve it with rice or couscous.

To make kedjenou chicken stew, try this recipe from Gypsy Plate, or check out the video below.

5. Mtuzi wa samaki fish curry (Tanzania)

Mtuzi wa samaki fish curry

If you love eating curries and fish, you’ll definitely want to have a go at making this next dish!

Fish curries are eaten along much of the coast of East Africa, but the most flavoursome dish comes from Tanzania – or more specifically, from the tiny island of Zanzibar – where it’s known locally as mtuzi wa samaki.

Thanks to Zanzibar’s unique history, and its ties with India, this fish curry perfectly encapsulates Zanzibar’s history as a crossroads of trade. While this dish is spicy and flavourful, thanks to the addition of coconut milk it’s also light, fresh, exotic, and deliciously creamy.

Firm white fish like hake or halibut are most commonly used, but you can use salmon or any other meaty fish – and for even more flavour, you can add some prawns during the last few minutes of cooking.

Traditional Indian spices like coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, and garam masala are usually added, and you can make the dish milder or spicier depending on your palate.

For maximum authenticity, serve over boiled cassava or potatoes – though it’s equally delicious with rice. A scattering of fresh coriander as you serve it adds a deliciously fresh and zingy twist.

To make Tanzanian fish stew, try this recipe from Great British Chefs, or watch the video below.

6. Kik alicha split pea stew (Ethiopia)

Kik alicha split pea stew

If you’re looking for a veggie dish that’s simple, wholesome, and seriously delicious, look no further.

Kik alicha is an Ethiopian yellow split pea stew that’s not only really easy to make, but is cheap, filling, and warming. It’s another quick dish that’ll have you running back for seconds!

In spite of its simplicity (many variations of kik alicha use only six ingredients), it’s really nutritionally balanced. Due to the peas and rice, you’ll get a healthy dose of plant-based proteins, fibres, and iron, and thanks to the immune-system-boosting turmeric, garlic, and ginger, it may even help you ward off a cold over the next few months!

While this dish is quick to cook, you’ll need to soak your split peas for a couple of hours beforehand (or overnight) – but once they’ve softened, everything comes together pretty quickly.

Just sauté some onions, ginger, and garlic until soft, add the turmeric and the split peas, then season and cook. The consistency should be rather like dahl when it’s ready.

You can always add extra spices if you like punchy food, but part of this stew’s charm lies in how mild and wholesome it tastes. You can eat it with rice, couscous, or potatoes, use flatbread to mop it up, or just enjoy it like a soup.

To make Ethiopian kik alicha, try this recipe by Foodaciously, or check out the video below.

7. Tagine (Morocco)


Arguably the best-known dish in Africa – at least in North Africa – is the tagine.

Originating in Morocco, tagines are thick stews that are named after the cone-shaped clay pot they’re cooked in. The pots were first used by nomadic tribes across North Africa and because of their shape, they trap heat and steam and act as a kind of portable oven – just like a canary pot!

Tagines are cooked slowly, which allows the flavours to really infuse — and because spices like turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, ginger, and cumin are usually added, you’re guaranteed a seriously aromatic and flavoursome dish.

You can make meat tagines, veggie tagines, or meat-and-veg tagines, and dried fruit, nuts, olives, preserved lemons, and fresh herbs are almost always added too. Popular Moroccan tagine recipes include chicken and apricot, chickpea and carrot, and lamb and prune.

To browse a selection of tagine recipes, check out this article by Olive Magazine.

8. Koshari (Egypt)


Another popular North African dish – but probably one you’re less familiar with – is koshari, which is Egypt’s national dish and one of the most popular street foods there. It’s healthy, tasty, and wonderfully unique.

Koshari is basically a bowl of pasta (usually macaroni) mixed with chickpeas, spiced lentils, rice, and crispy fried onions, and then smothered in a rich and spicy tomato sauce.

Thanks to the chickpeas and lentils, it’s high in both fibre and plant-based protein, and the macaroni and rice will help keep you satisfied for hours.

Warming, filling, and comforting, this is a dish that’s ideal for a cosy night in – and if you think it sounds like there’s just a little too much going on, check out the video below to see how good it looks. It really is the ultimate comfort food!

To try making Egyptian koshari, check out this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish.

9. Githeri (Kenya)


Another healthy and delicious veggie meal from Africa is githeri, which is a Kenyan dish made of corn and beans. It’s eaten in restaurants, cafes, and street food stalls across the country, though it can be just as easily whipped up in your own kitchen in around 25 minutes.

Traditionally githeri contains no meat or dairy, and it’s entirely vegan, but you can always choose to add meat if you like. However, because this dish is packed with kidney beans, corn, and potatoes, it’s sure to fill you up either way. Plus, it contains plenty of protein, iron, and fibre – after all, it’s been the staple dish in Kenya for centuries!

While it’s a simple dish, the flavours are complex and go perfectly together. Curry powder and garam masala add a spicy, earthy kick; tomatoes add the right amount of sweetness and acidity; and fresh coriander adds an aromatic hit.

Low-calorie yet nutrient-dense, githeri is a great dish to make if you’re watching your weight, though in Kenya it’s also a popular post-workout meal! You can add spinach, peas, chickpeas, carrots, and peppers for even more vitamins, and eat it with flatbread like chapati.

To make Kenyan githeri, try this recipe from We Eat At Last or watch the video below.

10. Melktert (South Africa)


And finally, if you have a sweet tooth, there’s a very good chance you’ll fall in love with this next dish, which also comes from South Africa!

This milk tart – or melktert, in Afrikaan – is similar to a British custard pie but lighter and more delicate, though no less decadent!

This tart is believed to have originated from the Dutch mattentaart, which is similar to a cheesecake, and when the Dutch settlers came to South Africa, they brought their favourite dessert with them – albeit with a few tweaks, like a higher ratio of milk to eggs.

Made with a sweet pastry crust, the filling is silky smooth and creamy, and sprinkled with fragrant cinnamon. You can use pre-made pastry to save time – just be sure to blind-bake it so it doesn’t rise.

Once you’ve cooked up your creamy filling, simply pour it into the pie and chill the whole thing in the fridge. The filling should be wobbly, so don’t worry about it setting.

Delicious as a light dessert, melktert is also ideal with a cup of tea or coffee as an afternoon treat.

To make South African melktert, try this recipe from Wander Cape Town, or watch the video below.

Final thoughts…

From spicy curry to fragrant stews and creamy, sweet pies, African cuisine is wonderfully versatile.

While there are plenty of meat-based dishes, like South African bobotie or Ivorian Coast chicken stew, there are also plenty of veggie-friendly dishes, from Kenyan githeri to Egyptian koshari.

And there are also plenty of dishes that can be easily adapted to your individual taste preferences or dietary requirements, whether it’s adding or removing meat in tagines, or increasing or decreasing your spice level for curries.

African food may not be as widely known as some other cuisines, but it’s no less delicious – and deserves to be celebrated!

For more recipe ideas and inspiration, head over to the food and drink section of our website.

Are you a fan of African cuisine? Are you tempted to make any of these recipes? We’d love to hear about your food experiences in the comments below!