For many people, breakfast is the best meal of the day. If you’re one of those folks, you’ll love African breakfasts.
Colorful, often spicy, and full of fiber and protein, African breakfasts are hearty enough to keep you going for hours. Forget bland oatmeal and berries, or eggs and toast … here are some delicious African breakfasts to try next time you visit the continent, or make at home.
A version of this article originally appeared on AFKInsider.com.
We love that this breakfast can be made in one skillet that really locks in the flavors. Also called chakhchoukha, this traditional North African dish comprises braised eggs in a robust, spicy bell-pepper sauce. The high water content of the bell peppers will help fill you up on few calories, and the eggs deliver a lot of protein.
This is a traditional African breakfast platter of scrambled eggs, pap (a cornmeal polenta-like porridge), spicy vegetable relish, grilled tomatoes and sausage. The soft, gritty polenta is a great base for the spicy, salty flavors of the vegetable relish, which is slightly sweet. You’ll want a little bit of every ingredient in every bite.
This is a traditional Ghanaian dish of cooked rice and beans, and for breakfast it’s eaten with fried plantains and boiled eggs. Plantains are the perfect mix of sweet and savory to eat with the beans, and the eggs and beans will keep you full for hours.
This is a slightly sour porridge you’d find in Botswana. You can have it as the base for your lunch or dinner, but it’s delicious in the morning with sausage or eggs. Made usually from sorghum or millet, it’s a great complex carb full of fiber. The porridge is traditionally served in a chicken stock with tomato sauce and onions.
This Egyptian breakfast food (also spelled foul medamas) is one of the country’s national dishes. It’s a really impressive-looking platter with a fava bean mash, olive oil, garlic, chopped parsley and lemon juice. Pita bread is usually used to scoop up the main ingredients.
Firfir with Dulet
This Ethiopian dish is very hearty. Dulet is made from tripe, beef, liver, and peppers and is often eaten with firfir, which is made from the flatbread injera and spices. If you like sausage and grits, this is the African version.
This traditional Nigerian breakfast is made with mashed beans, mashed potatoes, peppers, various meats, eggs and spices. All of these ingredients are put inside an aluminum can, which is then steamed in a pot before it is cooled and the contents served over rice.
If you need your bowl of oatmeal with fruit and nuts every morning, you’ll love this Tunisian alternative. Instead of oatmeal, the base is couscous, and it’s topped with toasted nuts, dates, milk and sugar. Dates are a nice change from prunes and the toasted nuts add protein.
Peanut Porridge and Mashed Beans
In Gambia, breakfast is simple, usually made of rice and peanut porridge or mashed beans with oil gravy. If you usually mix peanut butter into your oatmeal or muesli, you’ll love the peanut porridge.
In Somalia, breakfast is called quraac. The day normally starts with some tea, or shaah, and canjeero, a thin and porous bread that’s a cross between pancakes and injera — the popular Ethiopian bread. It is sometimes eaten with ghee (clarified butter) and sugar, sometimes with a mix of tea and sesame oil, and sometimes with goat meat or liver. Boorash, or porridge, is also eaten in the mornings, mostly around the Mogadishu area.
Millet and tea
Get used to this word: millet. It’s eaten all over Africa (actually, about a third of the world) in various forms. Considered a holy grain in some areas, it’s easy to grow and cheap. It’s often made into a creamy porridge known as asida in Sudan and South Sudan. Don’t be surprised if you get it served up with a side of liver, salad, and of course a hot cup of sugary hibiscus tea, as is the culture.
Formerly colonized by Spain, this West African coastal enclave still cooks with lots of “caliente” (heat) and bananas. The dish known as akuadu is sweet and includes bananas, without or without their skin, doused in butter, orange juice and coconut, and baked. Voila, how can you go wrong?
In Zambia, porridge is often made with corn or maize. Nshima is the stiff “mealie meal” (as Zambians call it) made from ground corn maize, usually served in a lump. Rip off chunks with your hand, roll them up into a little ball, make an indentation for gripping the corn fluff, and dip it into whatever sauce is served that morning — usually a tomato relish or vegetable or meat stew.
Sweet potato or chickpea stew, known as wat, is the breakfast of champions in Ethiopia. It’s normally vegetarian, tomato based and full of roasted ground chickpeas and Indian-style spices in a blend known as berbere. Bebere is best soaked up with the amazing, sour, fluffy, dotted-with-holes injera bread. It’s not uncommon to find a bowl of figs on the side to wash it all down with.
The Swahili Coast includes various countries and islands such as Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zanzibar. This “Swahili Bun” is the rage in the regions where Swahili is spoken most. Mandazi aren’t as sweet as American doughnuts and don’t have glaze, frosting or a hole in the middle. Normally triangular-shaped, the dough is deep fried in cooking oil. They’re eaten for breakfast, or munched on throughout the day. Often, dessert is mandazi served with powdered sugar, peanuts, or fruity dips. Nom, nom, nom!
Mark Rausch contributed to this article.
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This article was originally published on February 6, 2015.