The Rise of African Cuisine
Africa’s rich food heritage is as diverse as its landscape, with great food from every corner of the continent. And yet for many of us in the UK, if we were asked to name our favourite type of African cuisine, we’d struggle to think beyond the aromatic lamb tagines and Moroccan style couscous dishes from north of the Sahara. But there’s a whole continent of food and flavours to explore beyond those North African dishes that we already know and love.
Why is African Food Becoming Popular Now?
In particular, it is West African food that is seeing an increase in popularity. It’s a cuisine that is healthy, full of big flavours and contains many superfoods, so it makes perfect sense that its popularity is growing around the world. In the UK, chefs such as Zoe Adjonyoh have been inspiring us to embrace West African food through her popular recipe book Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen. She has also explored recipes from around the entire continent, some of which we have published on this website.
The Flavours of Africa
As you’d expect, each corner of the continent has its own locally available fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices which have been used over centuries to create distinct cuisines. You’ll even find differences from country to country.
North African Flavours
In the north, the cuisine has developed in contact with the Mediterranean, with foods such as olives arriving from Europe and spices such as cinnamon, saffron and ginger coming from the Arabian Peninsula. Despite that, the region has also developed unique flavours of its own such as spicy harissa pastes which can be used for marinades and incorporated into dishes in all kinds of ways.
Take this Tenderstem® broccoli & Salmon Parcels with Moroccan Butter Sauce recipe as an example, the harissa paste is used to create a spiced butter sauce that complements the freshness of both the salmon and Tenderstem® broccoli.
East African Flavours
In East African cuisine, there’s a particular influence taken from Indian and Middle Eastern spices due to trade routes stretching back centuries. In this Swahili Tenderstem® broccoli Rice Pilaf recipe, the Indian influences are obvious and you can either cook this up as a side dish or as a main in its own right.
West African Flavours
West African food tends to use a lot less spices than Eastern and North African cuisines, however West Africans do have a particular love for hot peppers in their food. For instance, this Senegalese Yassa stew uses minced scotch bonnets to give the dish a real fieriness, while the Tenderstem® broccoli is added at the last minute to give the dish a wonderful bit of colour and tasty crunch.
Staying in West Africa, you could add a side dish of Zoe Adjonyoh's Ghanaian-Spiced Tenderstem® broccoli to all sorts of main dinners. This dish makes use of a suya spice blend that is traditionally used to marinate meats, but can be just as good with roasted vegetables.
South African Flavours
South Africa is the region of Africa that today has the most global influences in its cuisine. Take this Chicken and Tenderstem® broccoli Bake with Durban Spices recipe from Zoe Adjonyoh, which brings together a Durban masala spice mix, sweet white wine in its sauce and cheddar cheese for its topping, all of which creates a mouth-watering hearty dish.
Is African Food Healthy?
With just a few recipes highlighted here, it goes without saying that African food can be incredibly healthy and tasty. It’s all about delicious flavours, and by adding Tenderstem® broccoli to these traditional African recipes, you can give your food that unique crunch and nutty flavour to take it to the next level.
So it’s over to you to cook some delicious and healthy African food, you just need to decide which region’s flavours suit you best!