Before diving into the most delicious African breakfast recipes, it’s worth mentioning that for many, breakfast isn’t a time for creativity and exploration in the kitchen. Instead, it has become something to be dreaded and feared, as if there is something inherently evil about cooking in the early hours of the morning.
At the same time that may simply be a case of culinary fatigue setting in after decades of fixation on the same rotation of breakfast recipes without fail for years at a time. Shaking up a breakfast routine can be just as freeing as changing up the rest of your days’ worth of cooking, and it doesn’t have to be a huge hassle, either.
Before you tuck into these traditional and re-imagined African breakfast recipes, it bears mentioning that a lot of early morning hassle can be saved by making sure your cookware is in good shape and hasn’t degraded with use. If it’s been some time since you last purchased cooking utensils, finding a solid non-stick pan can save you from many an early morning headache as you try to scrape burnt eggs into the garbage.
So now that you are all ready to give it a try, let’s start preparing these delicious African meals!
TAKEAWAY: Nutmeg, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, and cloves are the top five most popular African spices. These add a local flavor to the dishes that is unique to the area. Combined with the customary methods of slow cooking and fermenting foods before serving, the continent’s cuisine sets itself apart from other specific global cooking styles thanks to smooth textures and tangy tastes.
Green Plantain Pancakes
Pancakes are a foodstuff that is just plain hard to make any better. And yet, swapping away from a traditional flour for a plantain-based approach might just be a step towards improving on perfection. There’s a lot to like about this recipe of green plantain pancakes, too. It is downright simple to make, with just a few ingredients being more than enough. What’s more, it acts as a perfect gluten-free substitute for friends or family members with allergies.
To start off, take a single plantain and quarter it, then add it to your blender with a quarter teaspoon of baking soda and a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon along with two whole eggs. If you’re feeling like spicing things up further, adding a dash of vanilla extract always helps.
Blend until you have a fine mix with no visible lumps. Pre-heat your skillet or frying pan with a teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Then, add two tablespoons of your pancake batter and cook for six to seven minutes per side.
Service options are as varied as with any other kind of pancake. Butter, syrup, and jam are always popular toppings or try a chocolate or caramel sauce if you’re feeling like shaking things up. It’s not exactly traditional, but it sure is tasty.
Nigerian Egg Stew
Don’t let the name fool you. Nigerian egg stew has a lot in common with an egg scramble or omelet than with a proper stew. Any egg lover should give this meal a shot. Tomatoes play a big part, but the addition of onions helps balance out the dish’s flavors and provides more veggies in your breakfast than you may usually get.
Before you begin cooking proper, slice your onion and tomato, ensuring you remove as many seeds as possible from the tomato in the process. Beat your eggs and add salt and pepper, then turn your attention to your cooktop.
Heat up the vegetable oil, lowering the heat to medium once it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently, then add the tomatoes and cover your pot. Stir occasionally for five minutes, then add the rest of your ground pepper, seasonings, and salt.
You’ll know you’re ready to add the eggs when the tomato has separated from the oil and is soft to the touch. Pour in the eggs, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Resist the urge to stir, as you want the eggs to surround the dish rather than scramble up traditionally. Cook the eggs through and serve! For added African flavor, serve with boerewors or similar sausage.
The ingredients list for this East African take on the beignet, also known as Swahili Bun or Swahili Coconut Doughnut, may look intimidating at first glance. However, the whole thing is about as difficult as mixing dry and wet ingredients separately before frying them together into a spiced pastry that you will have to make yourself.
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, sugar, salt and spices), then add your eggs, butter, milk and other wet ingredients carefully. You’re looking for a smooth mixture, so add extra flour or water if the mix is too sticky or dry, respectively. Roll the dough out to one inch in thickness and cut into bite-sized shapes. Traditionally, mandazi is triangle-shaped but feel free to go wild.
Pour vegetable oil into a large saucepan until three inches deep and heat to 350 degrees before frying each mandazi for 3-5 minutes, depending on size and shape, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow them to dry, then serve.
As you can see, many traditional African breakfast recipes aren’t very different from staples you may already have worked into your breakfast routine. Stepping outside of your comfort zone could lead you to a tasty treat you never knew existed. Thus, it’s time to be brave and see what the world of cooking has to offer!