6 ingredients in African cuisine to spice up your life

6 ingredients in African cuisine to spice up your life

Craving some new flavors to spice up your cooking? Well, start the year off right by expanding your palette with these fresh ingredients. Rich in nutrients and flavor, you won’t want to miss these 6 staples of African cuisine. While you’re at it, you might even pick up a few new recipes!

Raw Cassava Photo Credit: shelookbook.com

Raw Cassava Photo Credit: shelookbook.com

Cassava

Sick and tired of eating potatoes? Looking for a low fat, high protein alternative to that starchy favorite? A popular Central African starch is cassava. Found primarily in the tropics, Cassava can be boiled, fried and baked just like potatoes. You can even cook its leaves, adding some color to your meal.  Try Congolese Saka Saka yourself.

Pear Millet Photo Credit: archive.gramene.org

Pear Millet Photo Credit: archive.gramene.org

Pearl Millet

Originally found in wild, West African grass, Pearl Millet is a staple grain to African diets. It’s gluten free and high in protein and fiber, making it an even healthier alternative to quinoa. So consider shelving that quinoa for a while and try millet. Start your breakfast off right with Nigerian Millet pancakes.

Coconut Chicken with East African flavors Photo Credit: panningtheglobe.com

Coconut Chicken with East African flavors Photo Credit: panningtheglobe.com

 Coconut Milk

Rich in a variety of nutrients and high in fiber, coconut milk is a favorite curry thickener in many African dishes. And unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free. Try your hand at Tanzanian coconut chicken, it only takes 30 minutes to prep!

Egusi Photo Credit: http://database.prota.org/

Egusi Photo Credit: http://database.prota.org/

Egusi

Egusi is a large melon, similar in shape and pattern to a watermelon. However, unlike sweet watermelons, egusi is more bitter. But egusi seeds are the true prize. Usually ground into a thick paste, egusi seeds are used to make a flavorful Nigerian soup. The seeds even contain a nutrient that helps you maintain healthy skin! Try this Nigerian Ibo favorite here.

Avocado Photo Credit: newsroom.ucr.edu

Avocado Photo Credit: newsroom.ucr.edu

Avocado

You’ve had your fair share of avocado in guacamole, but what if this fruit was not only a relish but also a dessert? South Africa has a love of avocados using it in salads, drinks and even in an ice cream! Rich in proteins with an even higher rate of potassium than bananas, avocado is a great fruit to experiment with. Try your hand at a famous South African Avocado-Mint Shake.

Tamarind seeds Photo Credit:http://growingupbilingual.com/

Tamarind seeds Photo Credit:http://growingupbilingual.com/

Tamarind

Indigenous to East Africa, Tamarind is both a sweet and sour spice that can be added to any dish. Tamarind has a variety of ayurvedic benefits including protecting against gastric problems and taken as a Vitamin C alternative. Get your nutrients in a refreshing Tamarind juice.

Have a favorite dish that uses these ingredients? Tell us in a comment below!

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