Whether you are an African, Caribbean or an African-American attempting to maintain/showcase your African origins during American holidays, or perhaps you are the renowned chef who has once again been asked to prepare Thanksgiving dinner and you know your guests demand something special as African Thanakgiving meals, you can check out these African adaptations of traditional Thanksgiving dishes as well as a few traditional African recipes to give your guest/family members, an African Thanksgiving experienced.
5 African Thanksgiving Recipes you should try
We all love turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and casseroles. But the year-after-year basic routine recipes can get a little boring. You can Incorporate these new flavors/recipes into your Thanksgiving feast with these amazing African Thanksgiving recipes.
1. Dodo (Fried Plantains)
This is a very simple recipe but it tastes amazing and is a super addition to your African thanksgiving menu. Known in Nigeria as Dodo, this savoury food can be served as a side or dessert. They are deep fried plantains that you cut into circles, cubes, or diagonal slices and deep-fry. Some people like to sprinkle some salt on them before frying them up, but that is up to you! This can also be a side dish or a main meal.
Dodo is a simple preparation of sweet, ripe plantains and You will find it sliced and deep-fried as a snack, enjoyed as the main event alongside stews, sauces, fried yams, and sweet potatoes (another popular street food), or served as an accompaniment to rice and beans.
It is believed that the best plantains for dodo have yellow skins with a few black spots and give slightly when pressed. These characteristics together signify a level of ripeness that will result in soft, sweet fried plantains with crunchy edges. For their candy-like sweetness and custardy texture, some people like to use fully black plantains, while others choose hard, starchy yellow or green ones.
2 large ripe yellow plantains with black spots (about 1 1/4 pounds; 510g), peeled
3/4teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume
2 quarts (1.9L) vegetable oil, for frying ( you can also try butter for a more flavored outcome)
Cut plantains into the shape and size of your choosing: ½-inch dice, ⅓-inch thick rounds, or ⅓-inch thick slices on the bias, using a sharp knife.
Place plantains in a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat; set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 200°F (95°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat to 350°F (175°C). Add half of the plantains and fry, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or spider, transfer plantains to prepared baking sheet, then transfer to oven to keep warm.
Return oil to 350°F (175°C) and repeat with remaining plantains. Transfer plantains to a bowl and serve.
Cooking Note: Frying the plantains at a moderate heat gives them plenty of time to caramelize. Also, the cut of the plantain will determine the cooking time: Long, diagonal slices with more surface area will take a bit longer to cook through than diced plantain.
3/4 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of a spice blend (like pumpkin spice or apple spice) or a combination of ground cayenne pepper, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and ground cloves can be added to the plantain before frying.
Thieboudienne literally means the ‘rice of fish‘ in the Wolof language in Senegal. The name hardly does the dish justice. Thieboudienne is considered to be the national dish of Senegal. Just one of the reasons Senegalese cuisine is known around the world as delicious. Adding this to your menu will make a truly delightful African thanksgiving experience.
- 1 1/2 cups rice broken rice
- 4 Large pieces white fish snapper or grouper
- 3 tomatoes mashed
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 bunch parsley crushed
- 1 large Carrot peeled and cut into medium pieces
- 1 sweet potato peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 1 large onion chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped (divided)
- 1 small eggplant sliced
- 1 small cabbage cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 cup peanut oil
- 2 Seasoning cubes
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 Tablespoon nététou
- 2 Tablespoons smoked fish shredded or ground
- 2 habanero peppers de-seeded and diced.
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- salt to taste
- 4 okra
- 6 cups hot water
Prepare the stuffing or puree/marinade for fish :
- Blend or crush the parsley, the garlic, 1 seasoning cube, plus a little salt and pepper to taste and a spoon of oil.
- Cut slits in the flesh of the fish and stuff the puree inside or slather the fillets with the puree and refrigerate for a couple of hours. (Reserve leftover puree)
Make the tomato sauce.
- Heat the oil to medium high and add the onions , tomatoes, tomato paste , the black pepper and remaining garlic. Then fry for 15 minutes.
- Add the stuffed or marinated fish into the tomato sauce.
- Add the seasoning cube, bay leaves, nététou, smoked fish, habaneros and 1 cup of water.
- Simmer until the fish pieces are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Remove the fish and add vegetables
- Remove the fish pieces and add all the vegetables except okra with 1 cup of water and cook the vegetables until they are cooked approximately 15-20 minutes.
- You must ensure that the vegetables are tender before removing them, but take care to not overcook them. Then remove the vegetables and add the okra with water. Cook for 5 minutes more, then remove the okra.
Cooking the Rice
Cook the rice over low heat, stir often and cook until tender.
When the rice is cooked, set the table for serving. place the rice on a dish and arrange the vegetables and fish on top.
Bobotie is a classic dish from South Africa. Pronounced ba-bo-tea, this meal is made with ground beef seasoned to perfection, and a creamy, decadent topping. It is rich, savory and spicy. A comforting meal, full of the flavors of Africa and most definitely one of the recipes you should try for an African thanksgiving experience.
- 3 slices of bread
- 1 cup + ½ cup milk, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 4 teaspoons medium curry powder
- 1 teaspoon dried herbs (oregano, basil, marjoram)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1½ pound ground beef
- ½ cup fruit chutney
- 1 tablespoon apricot jam
- Zest and juice of one medium lemon, divided
- 4 teaspoons tomato paste
- Salt and pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 4 bay leaves
- Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Pour cold water over the bread and set aside to soak.
- Fry the onions in the butter, stir regularly for 10 mins until they are soft and starting to colour. Add the garlic and beef and stir well, crush the mince into fine grains until it changes colour. Stir in the curry paste, herbs, spices, chutney, sultanas and 2 of the bay leaves with 1 tsp salt and plenty of ground black pepper.
- Once the beef is browned, remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the chutney, apricot jam, all the lemon zest, half the lemon juice, tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, give it a taste, and add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper as desired. It should be delightfully zingy!
- Squeeze the milk from the bread, reserving the milk for later, and smooshing and tearing the bread into small pieces. Mix the bread into the beef mixture, and spread evenly into an oven proof dish.
- Strain the milk that has come from the bread, and add the remaining ½ cup of milk. Beat in the eggs, and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Pour this over the meat, and decoratively scatter the bay leaves on top.
- Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Potjiekos is a popular meal found in both Namibia and other parts of South Africa. This is a delicious dish whose name translates to “small pot food.” Because it is traditionally made in a potjie, a three-legged cast iron pot similar to a Dutch oven. This stew is made by slow cooking meat, which is often lamb or beef, in a broth and wine; and then then adding in vegetables, spices, and a bit of milk. One important tip to note is that, you don’t stir potjiekos. Not starring this stew is its trade mark in ensuring a perfect dish. Potjiekos is a wonderful addition to your African thanksgiving recipe.
Cubed Lamb/Beef 3 pounds
Olive Oil 2 tbsp
Beef Stock 3 cups
Red Wine 1 cup
Small Carrots 1 pound
Baby potatoes 1 pound
Sugar 1 tbsp
Curry Powder 2 tbsp
Milk 1/2 cup
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a Dutch oven. Season the lamb with salt and pepper, and saute until browned. Take the lamb out of the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Put the onions in the Dutch oven and fry them for 8 minutes, or until they soften.
Place the meat back in the pot, then pour in the wine and just enough beef stock to cover the meat. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmer for 1 hour.
Stir in the carrots and potatoes and simmer for 30 more minutes.
Stir the sugar, turmeric, and curry powder into the milk, then add the spiced milk to the Dutch oven.
Let the mixture come up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, make sure it cooks slowly for 30 minutes and then Serve warm.
5. Palm Butter Stew
Although the palm butter soup is a delicacy of the African ‘Kru’ tribe-the indigenous people of Liberia, the meal has widespread throughout the country. Also known as Palm Oil Stew or Palm Nut Soup, people enjoy this dish in every county in Liberia. And since the people of Liberia have a variation of Thanksgiving celebration, this is a must try for a delicious African thanksgiving experience.
Ingredients for Palm Butter Soup
- 1 handful hot peppers
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 handfuls palm nuts
- Fish or your choice of meat
- You can also purchase already made palm butter instead of making yours from the scratch.
Boil palm nuts in pot of water for approx. 15 min until semi-soft.
Mash hot peppers, garlic, & onions in mortar, or blender. Set aside.
Parboil chopped fish with pepper/garlic/onion mash in water.
Mash softened palm nuts with mortar. Place into a bowl.
Rinse mortar with water and pour the now orange water into bowl of Palm mash. Press mash into a strainer to squeeze out any juice. Your bowl now has dark orange palm butter. Discard dried mash of fibers.
Add palm butter to parboiled fish or meat. and pepper mash. Boil until soup reduces to desired thickness. Serve over freshly cooked rice.
The recipes listed above are all delicious and you will be glad to try them out and enjoy an African Thanksgiving experience.