Trends: The Cuisine of the African Diaspora

The foods of West Africa and the West Indies are making appearances on menus from New York to Chicago to Vancouver. Their nutrient-dense ingredients, delicious flavor combinations, and produce-centric recipes are an ideal fit for the wants and needs of today’s health-conscious, adventure-seeking diners.

  • Fonio, one of the world’s oldest grains at over 5,000 years old, is gluten-free, easy to prepare, and extremely versatile. Try it in salads, stuffings, porridges, and fritters paired with ingredients like cashews, mangoes, citrus, and cilantro.
  • Other dominant ingredients include tilapia, peanuts, chile peppers, cocoa, ginger, tomatoes, plantains, okra, sweet potatoes, and baobab fruit.
  • Suya, Nigerian shish kebab, is a popular street food. There are infinite combinations, but the classic recipe is seasoned with kuli kuli paste made with ground peanuts and various spices.
  • Jollof rice is one of the most commonly served dishes across the continent in regional variations. Main ingredients include long-grain rice and tomatoes with onions, garlic, bell peppers, and chile peppers all fried together.
  • Maafe, a ground nut stew, is typically made with peanuts and the region’s holy trinity of chiles, onions, and tomatoes. This spicy
    soup can be served vegetarian/vegan or made with proteins like fish or lamb.