African cuisine is as diverse as the many cultures that exist on the continent, and its cuisine is not only reflective of this rich diversity but is also full of flavour.
Besides the great-tasting stews, soups and snacks that are part of African cuisine, there are a number of interesting and easy to prepare staple starch dishes that accompany dishes. Below is a list of popular dishes to know in African cuisine.
Couscous is a staple found mainly in North African cuisine. It is steamed semolina which is usually served with a stew or meat dish. It is a national dish in Algeria, and is a popular accompaniment in Berber traditional dishes. You can find ready-to-eat couscous in most Western supermarkets; however, authentic couscous, which is made with semolina, flour, boiling water and spices such as saffron and cinnamon, will always taste better.
A popular staple in Sudanese cuisine is kisra, which is a special type of bread that is made from durra, sorghum or corn. It the main accompaniment of stews including waika, bussaara and sabaroag, which are mainly made from dried meat, dried onions, spices and peanut butter, with milk and yoghurt as additional options. Kisra is made by mixing sorghum with water and letting this sit overnight before adding in flour and more water to create a batter. It is then fried over a fire in a pan. Another popular staple made with sorghum is asseeda, which is also an accompaniment to stews.
Mkatra Foutra is a popular staple dish of the Comoros, which is often served with coconut-based curries. Mkatra Foutra is essentially yeasted-leavened bread made with flour, coconut milk, eggs, salt, butter, and sesame seeds. It can also accompany a popular East African island dish, rougaille, which is a tomato-based dish consisting of tomatoes, chili powder, and shallots.
Injera is a widely-consumed flatbread found in Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. It is the main accompaniment to stews such as zigni and tsebhi stew. Injera is made with teff, which is a grain that is widely grown in East Africa and is the healthier substitute for rice, maize and corn. It’s made by mixing teff flour and water, and letting the mixture sit for up to 3 days to allow it to ferment. Sometimes yeast is added to assist in the fermentation process. The batter is then fried in a cast-iron skillet.
Ugali is a popular staple accompaniment that is eaten with dishes such as sukuma wiki, which consists of a leafy green vegetable such as kale, tomatoes, onion and a spice mix called mchuzi mix, and sukuma ya nyama, which is the meat version of sukuma wiki. Ugali is usually made from cornmeal and boiling water in a pot, and it is cooked until stiff. Ugali is also eaten in neighbouring Tanzania, Rwanda, and is made with cornmeal, cassava flour, sorghum or millet. It is commonly paired with mchicha in Tanzania, which consists of beans and a leafy green vegetable such as spinach, garlic, onion and tomatoes. In Uganda, ugali is known as posho.
Bogobe, Pap and Nsima
Bogobe, pap and nsima are popular staple accompaniments in the Southern African region. The three names describe a dish similar to ugali in East Africa, which is cornmeal, sorghum or maize that is cooked with boiling water in a pot until stiff. For breakfast, it is made into a porridge of a thinner consistency and served with milk and sometimes sugar. Bogobe, pap and nsima are usually paired with dishes such as mogodu or tripe, braai meat and ndiwo, which is a vegetable relish found in Malawi.
Tô is a popular accompaniment that is the base food of any dish in the Sahel region of Africa, particularly in Mali and Burkina Faso. It is made from sorghum, millet or corn, which is then boiled in water in a pot for a few minutes before being set aside in a clean bowl. Once in a bowl, flour is added to make a thick, smooth paste similar to ugali. Tô is eaten with soup, a stew dish or a sauce.