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Celebrating Easter with authentic African flavours

The cuisine of North Africa is characterised by its bold flavours and aromatic spices.

I VENTURED to Victoria Falls to the tourism hub of Zimbabwe to look for my next stepping stone as a professional chef looking for greener pastures.

Hopefully I will soon be excelling my career and learn more on how I can always give the customer that feeing of "I need to go back".

This is if it all goes well with a professional position that will put me on the right path of my life as a chef.

I have enjoyed so many Zimbabwean delicacies and international meals, such as cashew rice or fresh vegetable (carrots, peas, onions and garlic), plus cashew nuts fried at the end.

I have also made multi-cultural friends, whom I have cooked for; and who have also made me appreciate what Southern Africa has to showcase, good food.

I thoroughly enjoyed being exposed to my culinary dream with the support of the friendly community of Victoria falls .  

Let us embark on a gastronomic adventure through the diverse and vibrant culinary landscape of Africa.

From the rich spices of North Africa to the hearty stews of West Africa and the flavourful curries of the east and the blend of flavour in the south, African cuisine offers a cornucopia of tastes and textures that are sure to delight the senses.

In this article, we will explore the essence of African cuisine and celebrate Easter with two unique recipes that capture the spirit of this extraordinary continent.

North African delights

The cuisine of North Africa is characterised by its bold flavours and aromatic spices.

From the fiery harissa of Tunisia to the fragrant tagines of Morocco, North African cuisine is a celebration of the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Traditional dishes like couscous, falafel, and baba ghanoush are beloved staples that have captivated food lovers around the world.

West African wonders

In West Africa, food is not just sustenance; it is a celebration of life and community. Staple ingredients like cassava, plantains, and yams form the basis of many West African dishes, which are often accompanied by spicy sauces and stews.

Jollof rice, a flavourful one-pot dish made with rice, tomatoes, and a blend of spices, is a beloved favourite across the region.

Southern African sensations

Southern African cuisine is a reflection of the region's diverse cultural influences, blending indigenous traditions with European and Asian flavours.

The use of grilled meats, maize, and a variety of spices is common in Southern African dishes, creating a unique and flavourful culinary experience.

From the iconic South African braai to the hearty stews of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Southern Africa offers a wealth of gastronomic delights.

East African enchantment

The cuisine of East Africa is a melting pot of flavours influenced by Arab, Indian, and Portuguese culinary traditions. Dishes like pilau rice, samosas, and chapati reflect this rich tapestry of influences.

Coconut milk, cardamom, and cloves are commonly used to infuse dishes with a distinctly East African flair.

Ndole ingredients – Cameroon

500g bitter-leaf (substitute spinach or kale if bitter-leaf is unavailable)

500g shrimp or prawns

1 cup roasted peanuts, ground

1 onion, diced

2 tomatoes, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Palm oil for cooking


Wash the bitter-leaf thoroughly to remove bitterness.

In a large pot, heat palm oil and sauté onions, garlic, and peppers until fragrant.

Add tomatoes and cook until softened.

Stir in ground peanuts and cook for a few minutes.

Add bitter-leaf and shrimp, then simmer until the shrimp is cooked through.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with steamed rice and experience the flavours of Cameroon in every bite.

Bobotie ingredients - South Africa

2 slices of white bread, crusts removed

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons curry powder

1 tablespoon apricot jam

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup slivered almonds

Butter for greasing


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

In a bowl, soak the bread slices in milk until softened.

In a large pan, heat some butter and sauté the onions until translucent.

Add the ground beef or lamb and cook until browned.

Stir in the curry powder, apricot jam, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Squeeze the excess milk from the bread and add it to the meat mixture. Mix well.

Stir in the raisins and slivered almonds.

Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish.

Beat the eggs and pour them over the meat mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

Serve hot with yellow rice 

Hot Cross Buns ingredients - African Style

4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup dried mixed fruit (such as raisins, currants, and candied peel)

1/4 cup chopped nuts (such as almonds or pecans)

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup warm milk

1/4 cup melted butter

1 egg

1/4 cup honey

For the Cross:1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup water

For the Glaze: 1/4 cup apricot jam, 2 tablespoons water


In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and spices.

Add the dried fruit, nuts, and citrus zest to the dry ingredients and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the warm milk, melted butter, egg, and honey.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place for about 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces.

Shape each piece into a ball and place them on a greased baking sheet, leaving some space between them.

Cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for another 30-45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

In a small bowl, mix the flour and water to form a paste for the cross. Transfer the paste to a piping bag or a plastic bag with a corner snipped off, and pipe crosses on top of each bun.

Bake the buns in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and fully cooked.

While the buns are baking, prepare the glaze by heating the apricot jam and water in a small saucepan until melted. Brush the warm buns with the glaze as soon as they come out of the oven.

Allow the buns to cool slightly before serving. Enjoy these delicious hot cross buns with a cup of tea or coffee for a delightful Easter treat.


Celebrate Easter with these diverse and flavourful African recipes that showcase the richness and depth of the continent's culinary traditions.

From the spicy Bunny Chow of South Africa to the savoury Ndole of Cameroon, and the comforting Bobotie of South Africa, to the sweet and spiced Hot Cross Buns, these dishes offer a taste of Africa's vibrant gastronomic heritage.

Experiment in your kitchen and savour the flavours of Africa this Easter season.

  • Muzamhindo is a young chef with seven years’ experience in a professional kitchen and has enjoyed the concept of food since the tender age of two. She studied at the South African Chefs Academy in Cape Town and the Culinary Arts Academy in Zimbabwe to become a level three advanced chef. Her specialties range from indigenous ingredients to fine dining, gourmet food, food health and safety and food research and development. — ruwarashemuzamhindo@gmail.com.

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