The canon of African cuisine is wide and deep — as any veteran traveler or foodie knows — but many dishes are better with totally snack-worthy African dips. Whether you’re wanting to cool down the spice of chili peppers with a refreshing yogurt dip, or wanting a smooth texture to accompany a crunchy carrot, here are 10 scrumptious dips you can seek out on your next trip to Africa.
This article originally appeared on AFKInsider.com.
You might associate tzatziki sauce with Greek food, but it’s also popular throughout Africa, especially North Africa, where yogurt is a standard dip base. Made with a whole cucumber, this dip is refreshing and keeps the yogurt from getting too thick. The vinegar gives it a nice tang, and the garlic makes it savory without overloading it with extra salt.
Chermoula is often used as a marinade on meats, but it’s also great as a dipping sauce for kebabs and pita bread. It’s a really light dip, with three-quarters of a cup of olive oil for the base, but it’s bursting with flavor from the parsley, cilantro, paprika and other spices. It comes out a beautiful green color that looks nice on chicken kebabs. Find it in the markets next time you go to Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria.
Goreme is a hearty spread that can double as a dip. It’s made by mashing yogurt and feta cheese together, seasoning the mixture with garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper, then topping it off with olives and olive oil. It tastes great with crackers, bread, or fruit. Although it originates in Turkey, it can be found in restaurants throughout Africa.
4. Black-Eyed Bean Dip
Did you really think we’d leave you without some form of a bean dip? Black-eyed beans are one of the most nutritious beans, but they’re a bit fluffier when mashed up than pinto or black beans, and they look naturally appealing because of the little black specs. Black-eyed beans are a very popular protein source throughout Africa (particularly in Nigeria).
5. Carrot and Coriander Dip
This dip is so light, airy, and healthy, it will make you wonder where its been all your life. The texture, flavor and creaminess comes from carrots, cannellini beans, lemon juice, honey, and a variety of spices. It tastes great with anything hummus would taste good with, such as carrot sticks and pita. The dish can be found in many restaurants throughout Morocco.
6. Hot Ricotta Dip with Thyme, Chili and Garlic
Ricotta is perfect for a cheese dip because it’s a little lighter than hard cheeses, and it’s slightly sweet so it tastes great on grainy, seedy breads, and wholegrain chips. This dip is totally addictive with delicious artichoke, fresh thyme, grated Parmesan, chili flakes, and lemon juice. Search it out in South African restaurants for a spicy palate explosion.
7. Spiced Red Lentil Dip
Red lentils are packed with fiber and protein and popular throughout East Africa. This dip has plenty of great spices, but the star ingredients are tomato paste and pine nuts, giving it that great dip texture and slightly nutty flavor.
8. Harissa and Goat Cheese Dip
Harissa is a wonderful hot and sweet spice from Africa, most popular in Moroccan dishes. This dip has very few ingredients, but each brings a lot of flavor from the sweet goat cheese to the zesty lemon juice and, of course, the harissa.
9. Lemon Basil Hummus
We had to include a hummus dip when talking about African dips, but instead of the standard variety, we chose this tangy, herbaceous hummus that balances out grainy breads well. The piquant flavor goes excellent with flax seed tortilla chips. Hummus is especially popular throughout the Maghreb, or just about anywhere these days.
10. Peanut Butter Dip
Also known as Ose-Oji and popular in Nigeria, this is not what you’d expect from a peanut butter dip. With dry prawns, two types of peppers, and nutmeg, this spicy-nutty concoction is a bowl of delight with a smooth but slightly crunchy texture and a hint of sweetness. Try it when you’re in Nigeria, with cool and crispy jicama for a delightful contrast.