West African Food Recipes You Have To Try (2024)

Want to try west African food but don't know where to start? Well, look no further because this list features delicious, easy-to-follow West African Food Recipes You Have To Try!

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Table of Contents

About West African Cuisine

From delightful savory to sweet and crunchy, West African cuisine promises a 3D flavour that will make your taste buds dance! As West Africans use the same or similar ingredients, most dishes are fairly similar but tend to have different names in different languages. This article provides a brief overview of some popular West African foods.

Jollof rice

When people talk about West African food, Jollof rice jumps to mind. It is worth noting that jollof rice is a relatively new addition to West African kitchens as rice originated from China and was first brought to West Africa by the Portuguese in the 16th century. All West Africans eat Jollof rice but it is made with a slight variation across the region. Ghanaian jollof rice usually includes vegetables while Nigerian jollof rice does not.

Chilli

As West Africa climate is characterized by high sunshine and high temperatures throughout the year (average of about 26o C), food tends to go off quickly due to high microbial and fungal activity in the hot weather. West Africans use chilli to preserve food due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties and to prevent or cure infectious diseases. Also, eating chilli often causes sweating which helps to cool the skin. Hot meals are also believed to help in clearing sinus in West Africa. So, over time West Africans developed a taste for chilli!

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Stew

Although stew in West Africa may be compared with gravy in Western dishes, it is slightly different. Stew serves the same purpose as curry in South East Asia and the main course, particularly during lunch and dinner is typically served with stews. For example, swallows (eba, fufu, semolina, pounded yam etc) are served with vegetable, fish or meat stew. Stew is also served with rice and, can be eaten with bread.

Flour-Based Recipes

Flour-based recipes such as meat-pie, chin-chin, bofrot, botokin, mikate, bofloto, kala or puff-puff are relatively new additions to West African cuisine. The main ingredient, wheat flour arrived from Europe to West Africa.

Palm Oil

In addition to animal fat, West Africans were also using palm oil. Extracted from the palm tree which grows freely in West Africa, palm oil is an essential household produce in the region as it is also medicinal. Koose/akara, dun-dun/yele kakro, alloco/dodo/kelewele are examples of popular fried West African food. The alcoholic beverage: palm wine also comes from the palm tree.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil was introduced into the world cuisine in 1856 when people discovered methods of extracting oil from plants such as olive, sunflower and coconut. Prior to this people around the world relied on animal fat as the main source of cooking oil.

What Ingredients are Used in West African Cooking

West African food culture includes vegetables, meat & poultry, seafood, and seasoning. Most ingredients used in West African food are grown in the region and are typically tropical. Here is a West African food list to consider before you get started.

Vegetables

  • Beans (e.g., black-eyed beans, brown beans, peeled beans, etc.)
  • Bell peppers
  • Cassava
  • Eggplant
  • Maize
  • Okra aka lady fingers
  • Onions
  • Plantain
  • Scotch bonnet
  • Squash
  • Spinach leaves (e.g. red root spinach, bitter leaf, tete, alefu, ndole, etc.)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Yams
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Meats & Poultry

In African cooking whole parts of animals are used in Africa animals are bought then made when ready or from the market. Here are some pieces that are added to dishes:

  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Cow foot
  • Lamb
  • Chicken gizzards
  • Turkey gizzards
  • Tripe
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Cowskin

Seafood

Smoked or sundried seafood adds delightful flavourings:

  • Catfish
  • Crayfish
  • Crab
  • Tilapia
  • Red Snapper
  • Crocker
  • Mackerel
  • Shrimp/prawns

Seasoning

Here are some popular West African spices:

  • Salt
  • Grounded dry pepper
  • Thyme
  • Bay leaves
  • locust beans
  • Maggi or knorr

West African Food Recipes You Have To Try

So let's get started. Have a scroll through these delicious West African staples and give them a go!

Nigerian Jollof Rice Recipe From Sims Home Kitchen

This Nigerian Jollof Rice recipe is easy to make for a hearty dish or dinner. It includes red bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spicy peppers. Serve Jollof rice with chicken, or your favorite protein.

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Image from: https://simshomekitchen.com/

Ghanian Kelewele From Global Kitchen Travels

Kelewele or Alocois Ghanian style Fried Ripe Plantains. This recipe transforms ordinary fried plantain into something special by first being marinated with aromatics.

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Image from:https://globalkitchentravels.com/

Senegalese tomato stew – Thiou From Ina Foodies Kitchen

Thiou is a very simple and delicious tomato stew. This dish is made in many different ways and this is a basic version of it.

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Image from: https://inafoodieskitchen.com/

Sweet Crunchy African Chin Chin Recipe From Sims Home Kitchen

Sweet, crunchy, African Chin Chin! A delicious snack recipe that tastes like mini biscuits. It’s easy to make and can be customized.

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Image from: https://simshomekitchen.com/

Groundnut Peanut Soup or Maafe From Immaculate Bites

A rich, nutty and tasty groundnut/peanut soup meal. Serve with rice, plantains or any starch.

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Image from: https://www.africanbites.com/

Sparkling Turmeric Gingerade Immune-boosting Detox Soda From Dash of Jazz

A healthy West Africa homemade soda, or immunity tonic, depending on how you look at it.

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Image from: https://www.dashofjazz.com/

Spicy Grilled Tilapia Recipe From Sims Home Kitchen

This spicy grilled tilapia recipe is filled with flavour! It includes, tomatoes, red bell peppers, onions and scotch bonnets. Serve as a side.

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Image from: https://simshomekitchen.com/

How to Make Fufu From Low Carb Africa

African fufu is a common dish eating in different regions of Africa.

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Image from: https://lowcarbafrica.com/

Cameroon Ndole (Bitterleaf Casserole) From Afro Vitality Eats

Cameroon Ndole! This rich, creamy casserole-like dish is a delicacy even in Cameroon.

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Image from: https://afrovitalityeats.com/

Suya Yaji Spice From Dash of Jazz

West African spices:Suya spice is also known as yaji or suya pepper. It is a staple in West African cuisine and is typically used to marinate grilled meat skewers.

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Image from: https://www.dashofjazz.com/

How to Make Nigerian Puff Puff (West African Doughnuts) From Sims Home Kitchen

This Nigerian Puff Puff with Pepper recipe will change your life! Puff puffs are a popular Nigerian snack that’s similar to doughnuts.

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Image from: https://simshomekitchen.com/

Côte d'Ivoire Kedjenou Chicken From Immaculate Bites

Kedjenou. A magnificent chicken dish that is very easy to make. It includes chicken that is basted in its own juice in a “canary,” or earthenware jar, on a wood fire.

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Image from: https://www.africanbites.com/

How to Make Efo Elegusi (Two Ways) From Sims Home Kitchen

This traditional Nigerian golden stew combines rich, savory, sour flavors and is filling enough to feed the whole family. Serve with rice or swallows like eba, pounded yam or amala.

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Image from: https://simshomekitchen.com/

Eggplant Chicken Stew From Low Carb Africa

Eggplant chicken stew is a delicious, healthy, and nutrient-packed stew. It goes perfectly well with low carb rice and noodle dishes. It is low carb and gluten-free and has only 6 net carbs!

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Image from: https://lowcarbafrica.com/

Tatale Ghanian Street Food From Global Kitchen Travels

Ghanian Plantain Pancakesare a popular street food in Ghana and a great way to practice no waste by utilizing over ripe sweet plantains.

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Quick and Easy Suya Recipe From Sims Home Kitchen

Finally West African street food. This quick and easy suya recipe is a spice lover’s dream and can be prepared with minimal effort! Serve with tomatoes and onions as an appetizer or main.

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Image from: https://simshomekitchen.com/

Finally, don't forget to leave me a comment letting me know how it went!

More Delicious Recipes:

  • Sweet Crunchy African Chin Chin Recipe
  • Rainbow Layer Cake with Sprinkles
  • Traditional South African Pancakes
  • Must-Try Nigerian Food Recipes
West African Food Recipes You Have To Try (2024)
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