The Central African Republic is a landlocked country located in Central Africa surrounded by Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the DR Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. The country is known to be rich in diamonds, gold, oil and uranium.
The population of the country is composed of different ethnicities, including Baya-Mandjia (50%), Banda (40%) and M’Baka (7%). The Central African Republic’s cuisine is undoubtedly reflected in the country’s diversity, with hundreds of special delicacies to try.
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Most Popular Central African Republic Dishes
Locally grown food in the Central African Republic includes millet, sorgum, banana, yam, okra, yellow onion, garlic, spinach, rice and palm oil. There are also many crops of American origin that are imported into the country such as maize, manioc (cassava), peanuts, chili peppers, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Some of the other commonly used ingredients include chilies and peanuts.
Staples of the Central African Republic’s diets are starches such as millet, rice, sesame and sorghum. A wide range of vegetables and sauces are also eaten, and some of the common sources of protein are peanuts and insects like cicadas, grasshoppers, crickets and termites. The most commonly consumed meats are chicken and goat.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try traditional dishes of the Central African Republic along with recipes to try for yourself.
Egusi soup is a soup made with egusi seeds as the main ingredient, along with tomatos, onions, chili peppers and palm oil.
Egusi seeds are the seeds obtained from several cucurbitaceous (squash, melon and gourd) plants. These seeds are considered healthy as they are packed with protein.
This dish is widely consumed throughout Central Africa and is typically accompanied by rice, cooked vegetables, or grilled meat, including goat, chicken, beef or fish.
Other foods that it can be served with include fufu, omelettes, amala and eba. Occasionally, people also eat it with chicken.
Chichinga is a dish composed of skewered and grilled meat, generously seasoned with a spice mix called suya. Suya is prepared using peanuts, ground spices and hot chili peppers. The name of the dish is a translation of the Ghanaian term kyinkyinga, which means kebab.
Originally from Ghana, this street food is is usually eaten along with jollof rice, Ghanaian salads or fried plantains.
Moambe Chicken (Muamba de Galinha)
Moambe chicken, also known as muamba de galina, is a chicken stew prepared with tomatoes, onions, salt, garlic, pumpkin, lemon juice and palm oil.
It is usually accompanied by yuca or served over rice. Also considered one of the staple dishes of the CAR, as well as the national dish of Angola, Muamba is eaten in many other countries across the African continent.
Kanda Ti Nyma
Kanda ti nyma is a dish prepared using minced beef formed into meatballs and seasoned. They are then cooked in a peanut butter sauce that is made thick using okra (also known as “ti nyma”).
Kanda simply translates as meatball which, when made on its own, uses pumpkin seeds and is served in a tomato sauce. However, when kanda is used in kanda ti nyma, pumpkin seeds are not included.
This dish is generally accompanied by rice or fufu which helps absorb the peanut butter sauce.
Fufu, also known as foofoo, foufou or foutou, is a dough prepared using boiled and mashed starchy soil foods including, plantains, cassava or malanga, or a mixture of two or more. In several countries, fufu is also prepared using semolina and water.
It is commonly consumed family-style in the form of a huge, round dough. Every consumer pulls the dough by hand and uses it to absorb the juices from stews or stew dishes.
As well as from the Central African Republic, fufu is also widely consumed in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Angola and Gabon.
Spinach stew is a dish prepared using boiled spinach and green leafy vegetables along with other ingredients like onions, tomatoes and palm oil. Sometimes the onions and tomatoes are sautéed first.
This dish is typically consumed along with fufu or boiled plantains.
Igisafuliya is a dish prepared using chicken, vegetables (like onions, leeks, peppers and celery), tomatoes and plantains. The name of the dish translates as pot in Kinyarwanda because, as the name suggests, it is made in a single pot with all the ingredients are combined in it, resembling the Moroccan tagine method.
Originally from Rwanda, Igisafuliya is now widely popular throughout Central Africa.
Yams are widely grown and consumed throughout Africa. They can be consumed boiled, fried, roasted or pounded. Some people simply serve boiled yams, while others accompany it with egusi soup.
Boiled yams are generally served with egg sauce, corned beef stew, egg stew, ata dindin (fried stew), garden egg stew or simply an omelette. They are also frequently served at parties and special occasions.
Palm Nut Soup
Palm nut soup, also known as banga soup or ofe akwu, is a dish prepared using palm fruit extract or palm fruit concentrate, a mixture of spices and a variety of meat and fish. This soup has a nutty flavor and is particularly popular in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, typically among the Urhobo ethnic group.
Banga soup is generally used as a side dish to other dishes such as fufu, banku, eba (prepared using Garri), pounded yam, rice, boiled plantains, etc. As well as the Central African Republic and Nigeria, palm nut soup is also eaten in several other West African countries, such as Ghana and Cameroon.