Top 10 African foods to celebrate Christmas with

It is the Christmas season and I am sure you’re looking forward to stuffing your stomach with delicious food. There are African foods to celebrate Christmas that will surely satisfy your palette. After all, Christmas is not a season of watching your weight (well…!). It is a season of enjoyment. You can watch your weight later, thank you (although medical professionals and fitness trainers may say something different).

If there is anything we know about African foods, it is that they are rich in nutrition, full of flavours and stomach-filling which generally makes them perfect for Christmas. So in the spirit of the holiday season, let’s take a look at the top 10 African foods to celebrate Christmas.

Top 10 African foods to celebrate Christmas

1. White rice and chicken stew

White rice and chicken stew

Chicken stew is the most popular Christmas dish in virtually all West African countries. Christmas would not be complete without Chicken stew and white rice. Visit any African family, especially in Nigeria, and if they do not serve you white rice and chicken stew, then that is their way of saying you are not welcome. As long as the food is ready, you must be served. Heavily spiced and well cooked, the chicken flavour of this dish alone will remind you why you must celebrate the season even if you’ve forgotten. As you’re munching the fleshy chicken, don’t forget the bones. E get why.

2. Goat stew and rice

Goat stew and rice

If you visit an African family during Christmas celebrations and you are not served chicken stew, you will most likely be served goat stew with white rice. Some families choose goat meat rather than chicken maybe for variety’s sake. Goat meat is popular across Africa and making stew with them is one of the most delicious ways of utilising the goat flavour. There are several ways to prepare goat meat. You can fry, grill, roast or simply cook them with enough seasonings and spices. Whatever method you choose is fine as long as they’re well seasoned.

3. Jollof rice and chicken

Jollof rice and chicken

I am sure by now you must have heard of the Jollof debate between Nigeria and Ghana. But understand that jollof rice is an African dish, originating from Senegal. However, this dish remains one of the most popular on the continent, especially during the Christmas season when there will be lots of parties and events. In Nigeria, you cannot attend a function without seeing jollof rice served to guests. You can serve this dish with any proteins and vegetables of your choice but the most popular is chicken because it’s Christmas. What’s Christmas without chicken?

4. Chicken gravy

Chicken gravy

I ask again, what is Christmas without chicken? You already know the answer. Now let us head over to Liberia where you will find some of the tastiest chicken gravy ever. Loaded with chicken, fish, shrimp and other proteins that have been well seasoned with garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes and herbs, this classic African dish is a must-eat during Christmas. The depth of flavour is second to none. Try it and thank me later.

5. Green banana dish

Green banana dish

Welcome to Uganda where green bananas are the favourite among the people during Christmas celebrations. The green banana dish is called matoke and it is prepared with plenty of butter, softened onions, cumin, tomatoes and cinnamon. It is a favourite snack, filling and healthy. They are often wrapped in banana leaves and cooked for up to six hours. You can eat matoke as a snack or accompany it with the popular luwombo sauce.

6. Luwombo


Luwombo is another favourite food among Ugandans during the Christmas celebration. Luwombo is a sauce mostly made with chicken and steamed in banana leaves. The people of Uganda love meat. So Christmas in Uganda always smells meaty. Other popular proteins for luwombo sauce are goat and sheep meat. Apart from the proteins, other ingredients include vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes and carrots, onions, salt, oil and spices.

7. Peri peri grilled chicken

Peri peri grilled chicken

Now, we are in Mozambique, where the peri-peri grilled chicken will put you under a spell. This dish is bursting with interesting complex flavours from the peri peri sauce (a blend of chillies, lemon, olive oil, herbs, and spices). Popularly known as Piri Piri Chicken, the dish was introduced in Angola and Mozambique when the Portuguese settlers came with Chili Peppers which the people called piri piri. If you want to elevate the flavours, add some olive oil and coconut milk and watch angels sing Joy to the World as you sit back and enjoy.

8. Malva pudding

Malva pudding

Malva pudding is a decadent traditional South African dessert and is perfect for Christmas. Remember that the Yuletide season is a season of indulging in decadent dishes. Malva pudding will do it for you. It is rich, moist, chocolaty and easy to make. All you need is sugar, unsalted butter, eggs, milk, flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate, vanilla extract and orange zest which you will mir. Malva pudding usually has a caramelized exterior and a spongy interior when baked. Then soak it in a warm butter sauce and serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Yum!

9. Fried rice and chicken

Fried rice and chicken

When we talk of fried rice, we are talking about Nigerian fried rice and chicken. Like jollof rice, this dish is very popular in Nigeria. It is also a very familiar dish at Nigerian parties and other events. Fried rice is beyond yummy especially if you accompany it with salad. If you’re fed up with the usual jollof rice or white rice and chicken stew, try fried rice. You won’t regret it.

10. Chin chin

Chin chin

Where is the fun of Christmas if you do not eat a delicious bowl of crunchy chin chin? Chin chin is a popular snack in Nigeria. It is easy to make but if you do not like the stress, you can buy it in malls or from street vendors. There’s hardly a street in Nigeria where chin chin is not sold. So, there is no excuse why you should not try it. Chin chin is made of flour, sugar, butter, salt, milk, nutmeg and vanilla extract (optional). Then cut the dough into desired pieces and deep-fried in hot oil.

Finally, have you noticed that most of the dishes listed above are made with chicken? Yes, chicken is the symbol of Christmas in Africa. Apart from chicken, you can use other proteins too. It does not matter which part of the world you are currently living in. If you are a foodie like me, try any of these dishes and have an extra yummy Christmas.

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