African Cuisine: Staples You Should Always Have in Your Home

Posted on: 6 July 2015

African food is designed to be both filling and nutritious, using roots, spices, and vegetables to create a tasty meal that keeps you energized. Many African food staples don't come from Africa at all, but were introduced to natives of the land by travelers and then incorporated into traditional cuisine. When you buy African food online and from specialty markets, always make sure you have the basics you need. Here are the spices, fruits and vegetables, and other ingredients you'll want to keep on hand when preparing authentic African food.


African food is well known for ample use of spices. You will find many meals combining seemingly contrasting flavorful aids, such as cinnamon and cumin. Spices are used to flavor meats, roots, and grains. Common spices you will need to make African dishes include the following:

  • cloves
  • curry
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • coriander

African food is also composed of common spices, including pepper, garlic, and parsley.

Fruits and vegetables

Bananas are the most common African fruit consumed on a regular basis, as are plantains. Bananas are usually prepared when they are unripe in many African food recipes. You also want to keep eggplant, spinach, yams, and coconut in your collection of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Roots, beans, and grains

African cuisine consists of a large amount of grains and roots. Cassava, for example, is a very common root used in food preparation, and can be boiled, fried, baked, or even ground into a flour for pastry dishes. Rice is another African staple. Other grains you can find for African meal making in your local specialty produce shop or online include these:

  • millet
  • sorghum
  • lentils
  • barley

Beans are another hearty, healthy food source. African food is made with a variety of beans you are familiar with, including pinto, lima, white, black, and kidney. Many dishes are prepared with the mung bean or red kidney bean. These beans are used in soups, rice dishes, and even sides, flavored with a variety of delicious spices for a unique dining experience.

Exploring true African cuisine means diving into the most popular and well-preserved food staples that are used around the country every day. As you stock your own collection of African food ingredients, you will see how rich in flavor and healthy additives these products are. From the beans you choose to the classic roots consumed every day, you can make delicious and aromatic African meals when you have the right ingredients and produce in your home.