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Use a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables
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African Cooking

Use a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables

Traditionally, the various cuisines of Africa use a combination of locally available fruits, cereal grains and vegetables, as well as milk and meat products, and do not usually have food imported. In some parts of the continent, the traditional diet features an abundance of milk, curd and whey products.

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 colour to your meal.

Cooking methods common in African cuisine:

  • Roasting. Roasting refers to cooking food over an open fire, without water.
  • Boiling.
  • Steaming.
  • Immigrant populations to Africa have brought with them their own ways of preparing food, such as frying food.
  • Baking.

Cassava Looking for low fat, high protein alternative to that starchy favourite? A popular Central African starch is cassava.

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 fibre, making it an even healthier alternative to quinoa.

Coconut Milk Rich in a variety of nutrients and high in fibre, coconut milk is a favourite curry thickener in many African dishes.

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.

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 being taken as a Vitamin C alternative.

African dishes -- especially those south of the Sahara -- are still woefully under-represented on the world culinary scene.

From the humble maize/grain porridges and root vegetables that form the basis of so many diets to grand feasting dishes such as biryanis, tagines, stews and aromatic curries, Africa's favourite foods offer something for every palate.

1. Pap en vleis/Shisa nyama, South Africa

2. Piri piri chicken, Mozambique

3. Jollof rice and egusi soup, Nigeria

4. Bunny chow, South Africa

5. Kapenta with sadza, Zimbabwe

6. Chambo with nsima, Malawi

8. Muamba de Galinha, Angola

9. Cape breyani, South Africa

10. Zanzibari biryanis and pilaus, Zanzibar

11. Nyama na irio, Kenya

12. Koshari, Egypt

13. Ful medames, Egypt

15. Pastilla au pigeon/b'stilla, Morocco

You will find books on African cooking here by booksellers in Zambia