April is Childhood Nutrition Month! Find recipes to these traditional African dishes.
Quantity: 50 chappatis
8 cups of flour + extra for rolling
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of salt
Water or milk (as needed)
Approximately 2 cups of cooking oil (500 ml)
4 tablespoons of sugar
Extras: Coriander, shredded carrots, or cinnamon, etc.
- Combine flour, salt, sugar, and any desired extras in a big bow
- Add water or milk and mix until the mixture resembles a firm dough (it should no longer stick to your fingers). Add more flour if necessary to reach desired and workable consistency.
- Add the eggs and keep mixing with your hands.
- Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces. Sprinkle flour on your cooking surface (a counter, table, etc) and flatten each piece to a thickness of about ¼ inch.
- Cut the pieces of dough into strips of about 3 cm wide. Roll each strip into a spiral and push the end of the strip inside the center of the spiral ‘roll’ to hold it together. Don’t worry too much about the shape of the spiral if it looks a bit sloppy, just keep going.
- Place each roll into a covered bowl to keep them warm.
- Using a rolling pin to platen each roll into a very thin, round pancake, adding a lot of flour as you roll to prevent sticking.
- Cook each chapatti on a hot flat pan (preferably on charcoal but a stove will work). When you see bubbles through the dough, flip the thin pancake. Add oil to each side as you go!
- Let the opposite side cook for about a minute and remove from heat. Repeat for remaining chappatis.
- Serve with a side of cooked or curried vegetables or with some butter and tea for breakfast!
A pillar of Ivory Coast cuisine, this dish has established itself as a mainstay across the continent over the years. As an aperitif or as a side dish, this easy recipe will please your palate and give you a taste of Africa!
Alokos, braised chicken and chili sauce
Serves: 4 people
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
3-4 ripe plantains (yellow and brown visible)
Scant 3 tablespoons of oil for frying
Dash salt for sprinkling
2 large tomatoes (or 3 medium)
1 chili pepper (also called pili-pili peppers)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
For Alokos: 3-4 ripe plantains (yellow and brown), 40 ml oil for frying, salt
- Cut plantains into small cubes or thin slices (photo shows bananas thinly sliced).
- Heat the oil in a skillet or pan on medium high heat.
- Lightly sprinkle salt on the plantain pieces.
- Place the plantain slices/cubes in the pan and let sit for about 2 minutes before flipping for another 2 minutes until both sides are golden brown.
- Remove plantains from heat and let drain on parchment paper or absorbent paper towels while preparing the sauce.
- ** Tip: If your alokos/plantains get cool or are very thick, you can place them on a greased or parchment papered cookie sheet and put them in the oven on a low setting for a few minutes before serving to ensure they are warm throughout!** 6) Dice the tomatoes and onions very finely.
- Sauté the onions (in the same pan you just removed the alokos from is fine) on medium high heat until translucent. Then add the tomatoes and stir.
- Add salt, pepper, parsley, and a few slices of pepper to taste. Let simmer until the mixture resembles a sauce of your desired thickness.
- Serve sauce atop or alongside your plantains. You can serve this tasty alokos dish as a standalone appetizer or as an accompaniment to chicken, as shown in the photo, or grilled fish.
Hibiscus is the name given to the Guinea sorrel native to warm-temperate, subtropical, and tropical regions of the world, including West Africa. This refreshing juice is a popular beverage for all! You can find hibiscus in many grocery stores, particularly in the international sections.
Servings: 2 liters
5 hibiscus handles
1 bunch of mint
2.5 liters of water
½ to ¾ cups of sugar (depending on sweetness preference)
- Rinse the hibiscus leaves thoroughly
- Bring the 2.5 liters of water to a boil.
- Place hibiscus leaves in boiling water and reduce heat slightly, letting leaves boil until the water is completely colored.
- Remove water and leaves from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Remove hibiscus leaves from juice.
- Combine the remaining juice with the sugar and mint and stir well.
- Chill for at least three hours and serve chilled!
Variations: Add some pineapple juice for a fun twist! But be mindful that you will likely need less sugar when adding juice to this beverage!
Yams are vine tubers grown in Africa, America, and Asia. Yams are often confused with sweet potatoes despite their different origins. In fact, yam is derived from an African word that means “to eat”. They are an important foodstuff because of their long shelf-life in storage.
Serves: 6 people
Preparation + Cooking Time: 90 minutes
3 pounds of yam
1 onion, chopped
½ cup of oil
2 egg yolks
Scant 1 cup of flour (for rolling)
1 sprig of parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Peel and Wash the yams in lemon water
- Fill a saucepan with the yams and enough water to cover them. Add a dash of salt.
- Bring the water to a boil and reduce to medium high heat for 30 minutes of cooking.
- Once you can insert a knife into the yams with very little resistance toward the center, remove from heat and remove the yams from the saucepan, draining the water.
- Mash the yams using a fork or potato masher.
- Add the chopped onion, parsley, salt and pepper to the mashed yams and mix together.
- Once combined, add the egg yolks and beat the mixture vigorously.
- Roll the mixture into palm-sized balls and roll in flour to cover.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan to a low boil.
- Carefully place the croquettes in the heated oil and fry each side until lightly browned.
- Remove from heat and place on a paper towel.
- Serve warm as an appetizer with tomato sauce or alongside a main dish of rice or meat!
Serves: 4 people
35 oz. of beef ribs or grilled meat
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon of coriander
1 teaspoon of paprika
- Crush the garlic and mix with the lemon juice and spices to create a near paste-like consistency.
- Add the pieces of meat and cover with the garlic-lemon mixture so that the meat soaks in the marinade.
- Marinate for at least one hour.
- Ideally you would grill your nyama choma on an outdoor/indoor barbecue grill, but in a pinch you could also use an oven. If grilling, grill uncovered until cooked through and slightly charred. If using your oven, preheat to 350 degrees and bake for 40 minutes (all ovens are different so be sure to start checking around 30 minutes to prevent burning or raw meat!) and then broil under a watchful eye for the last minute or two.
- Serve with ugali (boiled corn flour: recipe coming!) or rice.
Serves: 4 people
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
2 lbs of sweet potatoes
3 cups of milk
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 slice of ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (could substitute with gruyere or another mild hard cheese)
Butter (for dish)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Peel the sweet potatoes and chop very finely.
- Place them in a saucepan, cover with milk, salt, and pepper and bring to a brief boil.
- Add nutmeg, chopped garlic, hint of ginger. Reduce heat to low.
- Cook the sweet potatoes and milk over low heat for 25-30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Once cooked, remove the sweet potatoes from the saucepan and place in a pre-buttered gratin dish, reserving the saucepan liquid.
- Beat eggs in a medium sized bowl and add half of the liquid from the saucepan used to cook the sweet potatoes.
- Pour mixture over the sweet potatoes.
- Sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the sweet potatoes.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve hot.