Africa is well-known for its wide variety of exotic dishes. But often overlooked is the daily staple that goes with almost any meal: bread. So if you’re headed to the continent, here are 10 fluffy, crunchy, nutty, doughy, flaky and amazing breads for you to try while you’re there.
This article originally appeared on AFKInsider.com.
East African Chapati
You’ve probably heard about Indian chapati, but a variety of it is also eaten in Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and Tanzania. Chapati is a heavenly bread that is sort of like a hybrid between a crepe and a pita, with a really doughy and bubbly outside, and fluffy inside. It tastes amazing with curries, or even just rolled up, sprinkled with some salt or sugar, and even eaten solo. Just one side of the chapati is browned, while the other remains soft and doughy.
Injera is the super thin and spongy bread you’ll find lining the bottom of the platters of Ethiopian food. It’s usually brown because it’s made from the nutritious teff flour, which also gives it a nice nutty flavor. The tiny holes in the bread make it great for soaking in the generous sauces of Ethiopian food, and it’s used in place of utensils.
Vetkoek is used sort of like a burger bun, and in many cases like a hoagie roll in South African food. It’s usually split down the middle or hollowed out and stuffed with ground meat. It has a semi-sweet and delightfully crispy outside that’s deep fried, with a dense and chewy inside. Once you try them, these might be your new favorite burger buns!
South African Seed Bread
For those that like a really hearty, dense, and nutritious bread, you’ll love this recipe. South African seed bread is loaded with different types of high-nutrient flours and seeds, like wheat bran, sesame seeds, flax seeds and wholewheat flour for a bread that’s rich in flavor. It tastes equally good toasted with some deli meats or heated up and smothered with jam and butter.
South African Rusks
Rusks are South Africa’s version of the dinner roll or biscuit. They’re buttery, flaky, and fill your kitchen with an incredibly tempting aroma. What makes them really good is the drinking yogurt that’s often used instead of butter, giving them a sweet and salty flavor and moist dough.
Liberian Rice Bread
Liberian rice bread is the country’s version of banana bread: it’s sweetened with ripe plantains, very dense, and can easily be eaten for breakfast or dessert. Traditional recipes use country rice — a starchy, unprocessed version found in Liberian markets, but are sometimes substituted with cream of rice.
Puff Puffs are a popular street food and snack in Tanzania, similar to slightly savory doughnut holes. They’re made of simple dough, then sweetened with a little nutmeg giving them their unique flavor. They are often served for dessert with a bit of fresh cream.
East African Coconut Bread
This yummy bread is sweet with a little kick from the cardamom, and is often compared to a doughnut because it’s very light and fluffy on the inside, but deep-fried on the outside. It can be eaten for breakfast, but because of its coconut flavor, goes well with with a light, creamy curry for lunch or dinner.
Here is another delicious coconut flavored dish that could not be left out. While technically a pastry, coconut rolls are filled with a decadent filling of grated coconut, evaporated milk, vanilla essence, margarine, and nutmeg. The final product is a creamy and slightly custardy concoction. You may never buy another cinnamon roll again after trying these.
Durban Naan Bread
Book-ending our list is another bread usually associated with Indian food, naan, but South Africa has its own version that’s quite delicious. Very different from the flat Indian naan, Durban naan comes out round and fluffy, like a large roll or round bread loaf. There is a good amount of melted butter and yogurt in the dough, making it exceptionally moist. Finally, it’s topped off with a hefty amount of crunchy poppy seeds. Use it to dunk into sauces, or slice it in half to make a large sandwich.