Home Forums African Foods and Recipes What food and Drinks originated in Africa?

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    Grace Amos



      Africa is a continent with many diverse and rich civilizations, and much like its cuisine, there are many drinks indigenous to the region. There are many delectable creations available in African cuisine, from dishes from Ghana to South Africa. No matter the nation or region, these regional specialties serve as excellent entryways into the history and culture of the host nation. When you talk about “originate”, it can be denoted as “indigenous”. There are a lot of indigenous drinks peculiar to every region in Africa just like the African dishes or cuisines. From Palm wine to Maas to Karkade, among many others (which we will be looking at in this article), all have their unique tastes or flavor, and histories.

      In this article, you will be introduced to a variety of indigenous African food and drinks that are distinctive to regions or countries in Africa. Firstly we will look at African cuisines and their origins.


      We have the Ugali na nyama choma (Kenya);

      Ugali is a meal created by mixing boiled water and maize flour. Similar to creating porridge, but with the flour being swirled until it stiffens instead. Ugali’s flavor has received mixed reviews. Others claim it has no discernible flavor, while others say it has a light popcorn-like flavor. Boiling water can be flavored by adding salt or butter, or water can be used in place of milk. It is nonetheless best consumed with just water and corn flour. The term “ugali,” which comes from Swahili, is used in Bantu languages. Nonetheless, it is consumed in many forms throughout Africa, with a name specific to each culture. In South Africa, it’s called pap or mielie pap; in Sierra Leone, fufu; in Nigeria, akamu or ogi; and in Zambia, shishima.

      While nyama choma;

      Grilled goat flesh is a specialty dish known as nyama choma. In Kenya, where it is regarded as the national cuisine, as well as in Tanzania, roasted meat is highly well-liked. In Kiswahili, the word “nyama choma” refers to barbecued meat. To prepare this Kenyan dish, goat meat is preferred although beef is also used. And for the traditional recipe for nyama choma, just salt and pepper are needed, however, some people prefer to marinate with a mixture of ground ginge, onions, and garlic with some hot pepper and lemon juice. It is a highly well-liked dish in Kenya, and it is typically prepared and consumed to mark weddings and birthdays. This treat is also served to visitors.



      Egusi soup and pounded yam (Nigeria)

      This Nigerian food combo is one of the most delicious, well-known, and beloved African foods and it gives every chef or cooks the liberty to add their own flair to this Nigerian cuisine by using a variety of spices.

      Pounded Yam

      The Yoruba, Igbo, Ebira, and Tiv ethnic groups in Nigeria are known for their love of pounded yam, or ‘Iyan’ as it is called in the Yoruba language. It is a native food made by smashing boiled yam in a mortar and pestle. It is a smooth and delicious treat typically consumed with the hands, and although poundo yam is an alternative, most Nigerians still prefer pounded yam. Asides from Egusi Soup pounded yam can be served with a variety of soups, including Jute leaves soup, ‘ewedu’ in Yoruba, stewed spinach, ‘efo riro’, as the Yorubas will call it, and okra soup.

      Egusi Soup

      It is a Nigerian delicacy made from ground melon seeds, pepper, leafy vegetables, and meat. It is common among the people of the southern and western parts of Nigeria. Also in Ghana, Egusi is used for soup and stew and is also called ‘akatoa’ or ‘agushi’.



      Banku and Tilapia (Ghana)

      Banku or Akple are swallow dishes made of a slightly fermented cooked mixture of corn and cassava doughs formed into single-serving balls. This Ghanaian cuisine is prepared by cooking in hot water until it becomes a smooth, yellowish paste. It is served with soup, okra stew, or fish in a pepper sauce. The Banku and grilled tilapia is a native Ghanaian dish that is very common across all regions of the country.



      Bunny Chow (South Africa)

      Bunny Chow is an Indian South African fast food meal, often known as a ‘bunny’. It consists of a hollowed-out loaf of white bread filled with curry and a serving of salad on the side. The original ‘bunny chow’ uses only a quarter loaf of bread and is sometimes referred to as a skhambane, kota ‘quarter’, or shibobo. Bunny chows are mostly filled with curries made using traditional recipes from Durban like mutton or lamb curry, chicken curry, trotters, and beans curry.



      Injera (Ethiopia)

      It is traditionally made of teff flour, a sour fermented pancake-like flatbread with a little spongy feel. It is also known as ‘biddeena’ in Oromo and ‘biddeena’ in Tigrinya. Injera is a staple food in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan. Like bread or rice elsewhere, injera is essential to the meal experience. It is a common dish that pairs well with numerous different flavorful ingredients.



      Thieboudienne (Senegal)

      It is a traditional Senegalese dish called tiep or thieb and is eaten in Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali, and Mauritania. Thieboudienne is served as Senegal’s national dish, usually fish, rice, and tomato sauce cooked in one dish. Other additional ingredients like onions, carrots, cabbage, cassava, chill peppers, lime, peanut oil, and stock cubes are frequently used.


      In conclusion, these are some of the many foods that originated from countries in Africa.



      Moving on, we would look at some indigenous drinks unique to regions in Africa.

      We have Karkade, made from roselles Hibiscus that originated in Africa. In most parts of Africa like West and East Africa, dried hibiscus flowers can be found and the tea is commonly sold in markets. Also, hibiscus tea is often flavored with mint or ginger in West Africa. In Nigeria, it is known as ‘zobo’, and ‘sobolo’ in Ghana.  Karkade can be served hot or chilled with ice. It is also consumed in some parts of North Africa, especially in Egypt and Sudan, where it is traditionally used to make a toast during wedding celebrations.




      Munkoyo or Ibwatu is the preferred drink in rural Zambia. It is gotten from crushed and small pieces of maize combined to create a moderately fermented beverage. However, the concoction can be consumed immediately or left to ferment for a few days. Zambians refer to it as “sweet beer”, as it can also be found in central African nations like the Congo, where it is consumed both as a common beverage and as a drink during traditional events.




      Boukha is distilled alcohol gotten from figs, and it is popular in Algeria and Tunisia. It has a sweet, fruity flavor and is normally matured for two years in oak barrels. Boukha is a popular alcoholic beverage in Africa that has the warming aromas of raisins and spices. It can be consumed straight or as a component of a cocktail.




      A traditional Namibian beverage also known as Ontaku gotten from combining fermented millet (mahangu) flour, brans, and malted sorghum flour with lukewarm water. The combination also includes a tiny amount of already fermented Oshikundu. After that, it is allowed to ferment for many hours at room temperature until it turns brown and becomes thick. It is a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage.




      In Kenya, dawa is a well-liked cocktail made of vodka, honey, lime juice, and ice. The Swahili word for the cocktail is “dawa,” which translates to “medicine.” Dawa is frequently consumed to treat hangovers and is regarded as an aphrodisiac.




      Amasi is a well-known fermented milk beverage produced in South Africa using cow’s milk, culture, and enzymes. It tastes sour and acidic and has a thick, creamy consistency. Amasi is typically eaten with pap, a sort of porridge made of cornmeal, but people can also eat it by itself or with bread. Amasi is a wholesome beverage that is high in protein and calcium. It is also claimed to provide a number of health advantages, including strengthening the immune system and assisting with digestion. Amasi is simple to prepare at home and keeps for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.


      There are many more indigenous drinks or beverages, from Botswana to Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, and Ethiopia, to not bore you, others include Pinotage, Jabula, Mazagran, Rooibos Tea, Maghrebi Mint Tea, African Coffee, and Palm Wine.

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