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Try a Traditional African Recipe Today.

African Recipes listed Alphabetically

It is easier than ever to find a market that sells African food these days, no matter where you live. If you aren't lucky enough to find a grocer that sells these foods, you can order just about anything online. But now that you have your egusi or your palm oil, how do you prepare that dish you have been longing for? This page has free recipes from all over Africa. Find recipes in alphabetical order in the list to your right, or browse by region below. Visit the kitchen to learn how to prepare tropical foods, such as cutting up a mango or cracking a coconut.

East African Recipes

Ethiopian Recipes

North African Recipes

South African Recipes

West African Recipes

A wooden bowl full of mangoes sits on a table.

Mango Sauce

I grew up eating mangoes that I picked up off the ground, dropped from the laden branches of huge, dark-leaved trees. Mangoes were ripe and plentiful. If I didn't find one on the ground I would come across it in a bowl of fruit served as dessert. Many of the Americans living in Nigeria missed their apple sauce and they settled on the ubiquitous mango as a substitute.

Ironically, now that I live in the United States I miss my mangoes. Lucky for me they are no longer such an exotic fruit. I've found mangoes in the produce section of even the tiniest grocery stores in northeastern US. I generally don't like to buy rock hard mangoes, no matter how rosy red they look. Try to find mangoes that are just turning soft, so they give to a bit of pressure from your pinch, but aren't mushy.

You can't beat eating a fresh mango just standing over the sink and letting the juice run off your hands. However if you want to actually serve them in a civilized way, this mango sauce makes a delicious side dish.


3 large ripe mangoes
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 teaspoons lemon juice (or to taste)

See instructions for cutting up a mango.


1. Cut the mango fruit into small pieces. In a medium saucepan combine fruit with ½ cup water, lemon juice and sugar.

2. Bring fruit to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, on medium-low heat. It will get very tender, and you can mash it up with a potato masher as it cooks.

3. When sauce is thick and bubbly remove from heat and cool. You can leave it a little bit chunky, or if you want a smooth sauce you can put it in a blender. Adjust lemon juice and sugar to taste, and feel free to add whatever spices or seasonings take your fancy.

Yield: About 4 servings

A bowl is heaped with delicious mango sauce. This is a black and white checkered line

Liberian Coconut Bread

A slice of coconut bread on a plate.

Coconut bread is a traditional West African favorite. This recipe, which is similar to shortbread
but with a coconut filling, is made the Liberian way.
It is courtesy of Sonia Cooper Weeks, who has a web site devoted to Liberian cooking.
You can see more of Sonia's recipes at


1 lb frozen grated coconut (found in the frozen dessert section of supermarkets)
2 cups water
2 Tbsp margarine
5 oz can evaporated milk (one small can)
2/3 Cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp coconut essence
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Defrost coconut by setting at room temperature or microwaving for a minute or two. Place coconut along with other ingredients in a deep pot. Bring mixture to a boil on medium high. Reduce heat to medium and cook until most of the water is gone (about 10 minutes.) Stir frequently so that the coconut does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Coconut should be moist, not dry. When done, set aside and allow to cool.

Bread Dough

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/3 cups milk

Measure out and combine 4 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Use a fork to cut the butter into the flour. Cut and mix until the small pieces of butter are more or less spread out in the flour. Stir sugar in milk. Pour sweetened milk into flour mixture. Fold milk into flour evenly. Use your hands to gather dough into a ball. Dough will be sticky so you will have to use some of the extra flour. Place on lightly floured surface.

Coconut Bread

Divide the dough into two. Use a floured rolling pin to flatten each piece of dough into a 14 x 9 rectangle. Grease and flour a 13 x 8 inch pan. Place one of the rectangles into the baking pan. Spoon the cooled coconut mixture on the rectangle in the pan and spread evenly with a knife. Cover the coconut with the second piece of rectangle. Seal the filling by pinching the two layers of dough together around the edges. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until the coconut bread is golden brown.

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East African Recipes

Maandazi look delicious dusted with powdered sugar.


Every culture seems to have thier own version of fried dough. This recipe has a sweet taste and pleasant chewy texture. You might eat maandazi for breakfast in a Kenyan cafe.

2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
¾ cup water
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying

1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, cardamom and salt in a large bowl.

2. Whisk egg and water together in a small bowl. Make a well in center of dry ingredients and add egg mixture. Mix together gradually with a fork until mixture forms a soft dough. You can add 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour (one at a time) if it is too sticky. Cover dough with a wet towel or plastic wrap and leave 30 minutes or longer.

3. Heat oil in a deep, heavy pot (cast iron is preferable) until is reaches 360° F. While oil is heating, roll dough out on a floured surface into a rectangle ½ inch thick. Cut into 2-inch rounds with a glass or small biscuit cutter. You can also use a knife to cut rectangles. Form ball again with remaining dough and repeat process until all of dough is cut. You should have about 20 rounds.

4. Fry maandazi in batches of 5, for about 5 minutes per batch, turning to brown both sides. Hint: Turn the mandaazi before it gets too puffy, or the air bubbles will prevent you from turning it at all. I usually turn them several times during frying process. Remove from oil when both sides are golden brown. Serve warm, dipped in powdered sugar if desired.

Yield: about 20 maandazi

Vegetable Curry

This fragrant curry has a beautiful light green color. The curry powder gives it just a hint of hotness. Flour creates a thick enough sauce for this curry to hold it's own on a plate. It is the perfect consistency to be scooped up in a chappati.

A bowl of vegetable curry sits on the table.

3 large potatoes
1 onion, sliced
4 tablespoons (2 oz) butter or ghee
2 cups broth
1 small zucchini or squash (about ½ pound), sliced in rounds
1 cup green peas, fresh, frozen or canned and drained
1 cup cooked pea beans
½ cucumber, peeled and sliced
juice of ½ lemon (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 tablespoons flour

1. Peel potatoes. Slice lengthwise 3 times to make long strips, then slice into thin strips about ½ inch wide by 2 inches long.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet or wok, add potatoes and onions and fry over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Add broth, zucchini, peas, beans, cucumber, lemon juice and curry powder to skillet. Simmer over low-medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. If most of the liquid has evaporated, you can add more broth or water.

4. While vegetables are simmering, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan. Add flour, mix well and simmer over low heat until mixture is browned, taking care not to let it burn.

5. When vegetables are tender, add flour and butter mixture to skillet. Stir in well and continue to simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Chappatis with Coconut Milk

Coconut milk adds a velvety texture to this traditional Indian bread. The dough is easier to roll and shape than the whole wheat flour version. Canned coconut milk is very convenient for this recipe. Be sure to buy pure coconut milk with no sugar added. Shake the can well to distribute the cream before opening.

A stack of chapati made with coconut milk rests on a plate. 3 ½ cups white flour, plus a bit extra to dust the counter top.
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or ghee

1. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add coconut milk and stir to make a soft dough. Mix with hands until thoroughly combined, and knead well about 10 times. If the dough is too wet or too dry, add a bit more coconut milk or flour as needed. At this point you can leave the dough, covered,for an hour or two, while you prepare the rest of your meal.

2. Preheat a large (9-inch or more) cast iron or other heavy skillet or griddle. Brush surface with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Heat until hot but not smoking.

3. Divide dough into 10 equal balls. Dust work surface with flour, and begin rolling balls into large, flat rounds, about 8 inches in diameter and very thin. You can trim the edges with a sharp knife or pizza cutter to make a round shape.

4. Place first round of dough in hot skillet. Press surface lightly with a paper towel to make air bubbles appear in dough. This makes a nice speckled surface. Cook for about 1 minute, then flip and cook other side, pressing dough again with towel. When dough is cooked through and lightly browned in spots, remove from pan. Continue with remaining rounds of dough. Usually you do not need to add more oil to the pan after the first chappati. You can stack chappatis on a warm plate as they are taken from the pan.

Yield: 10-12 chappatis This is a black and white checkered line.

Passion Fruit Freeze is a refreshing treat.

Passion Fruit Recipes

The ice cream recipes are courtesy of White Dove Farm
in Santa Paula, California. White Dove Farm sells passion fruit wholesale direct to residential and business customers.

See the glossary to learn more about passion fruit,
or try one of the recipes below.

Passion Fruit Freeze

2 Cups orange sherbet
1 Cup milk
3 Passion fruit

Cut open 3 passion fruit and scoop pulp and seeds into the milk. Stir with a fork to extract the juice from the pulp. Strain into blender. Add the sherbet and blend for 15 seconds or just until all the sherbet is smooth. Pour the passion freeze into a tall, chilled glass. If available, place a sprig of mint on top and serve immediately.

Passion Fruit Milk Shake

1 cup cold milk
2 passion fruit
2 large scoops of chocolate ice cream
whipped cream for garnish (optional)

Scoop the pulp from the two fruit into the milk. Stir the mixture with a fork to extract the juice from the passion fruit pulp. Strain if desired to remove the seeds. Place ingredients in a blender and process on HIGH for 30 seconds or until smooth and creamy. Serve in a tall, chilled glass with a straw. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

Note: use more fruit if a stronger passion fruit flavor is desired.

Passion Fruit Viniagrette

This is delicious on a hearty green salad, with grilled chicken pieces and toasted walnuts added.

4 passion fruits, pulp removed and strained (about 1/4 cup juice)
2 tablespoons orange juice
juice of one lime
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl or food processor mix all the ingredients EXCEPT the oil. Add the oil in a thin stream, whisking or processing constantly. This is a workout for the arm, but very important if you want the oil to emulsify and not separate out later from your vinaigrette. Strain to remove any leftover passion fruit seeds or ginger clumps.

Passion Fruit Curd

Many recipes require that you make this in a double boiler, and you can do that. Just mix all the ingredients and cook slowly in the double boiler for about 10 to 15 minutes, until thickened. If you do not have a double boiler, don't worry. This recipe works just as well if you keep an eye on your heat and keep stirring.

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
2 eggs
pulp of 3 passion fruit, strained (about 3 tablespoons)

Melt sugar and butter in a small stainless steel or porcelain saucepan over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add passion fruit juice, lemon juice, lemon zest and eggs, in that order, stirring constantly. (You don't want the eggs to congeal before they are incorporated into the mixture, therefore you add the other ingredients first to cool the temperature slightly, and then make sure you stir the eggs well when you add them) Return to stove and cook on low heat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and coats the spoon. The curd will thicken more as it cools. Refrigerate or store in sterilized jars.

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South African Recipes

These recipes are courtesy of Allen and Heather Botha, owners of Tyal International, in Houston Texas. They import South African foods and make their own biltong. For more information, contact them at Tyal International, 203 Calypso Lane, League City, TX 77573,

Monkey Gland Steak
Curried Chicken
Portugese Flat Chicken

Bobotie (Beef Pie)

2 ounces butter
1 cup onions, thinly sliced
1 apple, peeled, diced
2 pounds chopped cooked beef
2 bread slices soaked in milk
2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
6 bay leaves
1 egg
1/2 cup whole milk
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes, then add the apple 
dice and cook for another minute. Add the chopped beef and combine. Squeeze out the excess 
milk from the bread slices, then tear up and add to pot. Add the curry powder, raisins, 
almonds, lemon juice, egg, and turmeric, and stir well. 
Place mixture in a greased 9 x 13" baking dish. Place bay leaves vertically in the 
casserole. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven. Mix together 
the egg and milk, then pour it over the Bobotie. Bake for 15 more minutes. Remove bay 
leaves before serving.
Monkey Gland Steak   A Sweet Marinade Sauce

1 kg (about 2½ pounds) rump steak
6 Tbl Mrs Ball's Chutney
6 Tbl Tomato Sauce (Ketchup)
3 Tbl Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbl white vinegar
3 Tbl Brown Vinegar
2 sliced onions
1 small tin mushrooms, drained
salt and pepper to taste 

Cut and season steaks. Mix the remainder of the ingredients together and place the steak 
in this sauce. Marinade for at least 1 hour. Grill the steak. At the same time, 
simmer the marinade in a saucepan to be poured over the steak when served.
Curried Chicken

1 kg (about 2 ½ pounds) chicken pieces (thigh, breast or whole bird dissected) 
2 large onions (sliced) 
1 or 2 chopped chillies. Remove seeds and membrane for less heat
2 tbl. olive oil
1 tin diced tomatoes
2 tbl. Mrs Balls Chutney
1 tbl. Curry powder
1 tsp. Jeera powder (optional)
1 tbl. flour
1 tbl. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar 
½ cup milk
2 cups water to cover
your choice of veggies (optional, but potatoes go well with this dish)

Fry chicken pieces in the oil until golden brown.   Remove from pan. Add the onion and fry 
until soft. Sprinkle in the curry and Jeera powders.  Fry for about 20 seconds. Add the 
water and simmer. Meanwhile, add the chicken and remainder of the ingredients.  Simmer 
until chicken and vegetables (if added) are tender (about 45 mins.). Serve on a bed of 
Basmati or Jasmin Rice with a generous helping of Mrs Balls Chutney.
Portugese Flat Chicken

Preferably spatchcock a baby chicken or small sprig chicken by laying it on its back, breast 
side up. Cut through this side only so that chicken can be opened out .

In a food processor/blender, place
      4 large cloves of garlic
      1 tablespoon of coarse salt
      1 teaspoon Coarse ground black pepper 
      Juice of two lemons 
      Half cup dry white wine
      Half cup olive oil 
      Good quality ground red chili

Liquidize and pour over the chicken in a roasting pan.

Cover with foil and roast for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove from oven, strain liquid and thicken by reduction in pot on top of stove.

Meanwhile crisp the chicken up on slow open fire or under grill of stove if open fire is 
not available. (Fire is first prize) Baste liberally with thickened sauce before serving.

Serve with good savory rice, vinaigrette dressed salad, French fries and light, chilled 
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Surinam Cherry Recipes

Several people have been looking for a recipe for Surinam Cherry Jelly. Dottie Kellogg was kind enough to send me a recipe, so I can share it with the rest of you who have trees loaded with Surinam cherries. (Pitanga cherries). Also, from Lawrie Gordon, a recipe for Surinam Cherry Preserves.

Surinam Cherry Jelly

Wash cherries. Remove stems and blossom ends. Place cherries in a saucepan. Add water until it can be seen through the top layer of cherries. The fruit must not float in water. Cover the pan and simmer until cherries are soft (25 or 30 minutes). Strain the juice through a flannel or heavy muslin jelly bag. Measure the juice, and place it in a deep kettle that will allow for the boiling up of the liquid. Cook no more than 4 cups of juice at a time. Boil juice rapidly for 5 minutes. Skim, if necessary. Add ½ cup sugar to each cup of juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil the juice rapidly, without stirring it, until it has reached the "sheeting stage" or 220° to 222°. Pour the jelly into hot sterilized glasses and seal immediately.

Recipe by Mrs. Clifford Ulmer in "The Gasparilla Cookbook"

Surinam Cherry Preserves

6 cups Surinam cherries, flower picked off and seeded
2-3 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Cook slowly over low heat till soft, stirring occasionally. Mash with potato masher or in ricer or even in the food processor for a short time. Adjust sweetness as needed. The consistency will depend on length of simmering and how much one smashes things up.

Thanks to Lawrie Gordon for sending this recipe.

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Ethiopian Recipes


An alecha, also called an alich'a,is typically a milder alternative to the spicy wat. It will still have plenty of onions, garlic, turmeric or curry, and other ingredients that give it typical Ethiopian flavor, but the berberé and other spicy peppers are not there. An Alecha might be vegetarian, or it might use beef, chicken, fish or lentils. The following recipe is adapted from "Exotic Ethiopian Cooking" by D.J. Mesfin. See the end of the Doro Wat recipe above to make it a Doro Alecha.

Miser Alich'a (Mild Lentil Sauce)

6-8 servings

2 cups lentils
2 cups red onions, chopped
½ cup peanut or vegetable oil, or butter
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 mild green pepper, such as Anaheim peppers, seeded and cut in strips
1-2 fresh hot peppers, depending on taste, seeded and minced
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. Wash lentils and bring to a boil in 6 cups of water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove lentils from heat.
2. Heat oil or butter in a large pan and add onions, cooking over low heat so that they soften but do not brown.
3. Add lentils and their cooking water to the onions. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for another half hour or so, until lentils are tender.
4. Serve with injera or bread.

Vegetable Alecha

An alecha is typically a milder alternative to the spicy wat. This recipe does call for a small amount of red pepper, and you can omit it or increase it according to your taste.

4-6 servings

6 small red or white potatoes
3 carrots
½ pound green beans
¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil
2 onions, cut in eight pieces each
1 sweet green pepper,seeded and cut in strips
1-2 fresh hot peppers, depending on taste, seeded and minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
6 scallions, trimmed and cut in thin strips
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Peel potatoes if desired. Slice in ¼ inch slices, then cut into thin strips. Peel carrots and cut into thin slices about 2 inches long. Trim ends from green beans and leave whole.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots and green beans. Bring water back to a simmer and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Drain vegetables immediately and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add onions, green pepper and hot peppers. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring, until onions begin to soften.
4. Add garlic, ginger, scallions, salt and pepper to skillet. Simmer 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
5. Add drained cooked vegetables to skillet, stirring well to coat with oil. Continue to cook and toss vegetables for about 10 minutes more, until they are heated through and tender. Serve with injera (recipe this page) or rice.

Buttermilk Curds

This is a firm, white cheese similar to feta, but not as salty or crumbly. It is easy to make with commercial buttemilk and cheesecloth or a cotton napkin. You can spice it up and serve it with injera, as in this recipe, or simply crumble it into a green salad.

3 quarts buttermilk
¼ cup niter kebbeh (see recipe below)
1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon salt

1. Heat buttermilk in a large pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, the curds will separate from the whey and float around in chunks. Remove from heat.

2. Line a large colander with cheesecloth or a clean cotton or linen napkin. Pour buttermilk into colander, draining curds from whey. You may discard whey or save it for another use. Wrap cloth tightly around curds and squeeze out excess liquid. Place a heavy weight on top of wrapped curds and let them set and drain for another 30 minutes or more at room temperature.

3. Unwrap cheese. You can store it at this point for later use, or crumble into a bowl to finish this recipe.

4. To the crumbled cheese, add niter kebbeh, garlic, cardamom, pepper and salt. Mix well. Remove garlic clove halves and discard before serving. Serve at room temperature with collards and injera.

Yield: ½ pound, or about 2 cups of curds (4 servings)

Yellow Spice Bread(Yewollo Ambasha)

1 tablespoon yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
10 tablespoons niter kebbeh, melted and cooled to room temperature (recipe below)
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon fenugreek
½ teaspoon black or white pepper
2 teaspoons salt
4½ to 5 cups white flour
1 teaspoon berberé

1. Measure lukewarm (body temperature) water into a large mixing bowl. Make sure your water is not too hot or it will kill the yeast. Sprinkle yeast over water and let it stand for about 10 minutes until soft. Stir with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula.
2. Add 8 tablespoons of the niter kebbeh, the coriander, the cardamom, the fenugreek, pepper and salt. Mix well.
3. Add the white flour one cup at a time, mixing well. When mixture becomes thick enough begin kneading it with your hands or a dough hook, adding more flour until the dough is not sticking to the pan. Knead 10 minutes by hand or 2 minutes with a dough hook. Lightly oil the top of the dough and set aside, covered, to rise in a warm place for about an hour.
4. Punch dough down and form into a flat round. Tear off a small piece about ½ inch wide, and set aside. Place the rest on a large, greased cookie sheet. Flatten with your hands to form a round about 8 to 10 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick.
5. Slash the shape of a cross into the top of the round with a sharp knife. Then make shallow cuts at ¼ inch intervals all around the outside of the round to form a wheel design. Take the small piece of dough you reserved, and press it firmly into the center of the round. Leave in a warm place, covered, to rise for about an hour, or until it is doubled in size.
6. Bake loaf in a 350° oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is golden and it sounds hollow when you rap it with your knuckles.
7. Mix the berberé with the remaining 2 tablespoon niter kebbeh, and brush gently all over the outside of the loaf. Cool on a rack and serve with a stew.

Yield: 1 large, round loaf