Six delicious recipes inspired by Africa Utopia

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Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 11:25

Presented by Pop Up Africa, The African Food & Drink Takeover 2017 brings tastes from across the continent to Africa Utopia.

We thought we’d help you try some of the best dishes of the festival at home, with a little help from our vendors. Read on to discover how to make some of the best things on the menu, from Beef Ayamase to Vegan Mandazi.  

Jollof and plantain arancini, from Chuku's

makes eight arancini, serves four

Africa Utopia - Jollof Rice and Plantain Arancini - Chuku's

‘Jollof rice is a popular dish across Nigeria and the rest of West Africa and is made by steaming rice in a seasoned tomato and red pepper purée. It’s loved passionately by Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike, and everyone will tell you their mum or auntie makes the best pot.

‘To stay out of the debate, Chuku’s put our own special twist on it by swapping rice for the superfood quinoa. Here’s another food fusion - jollof and plantain arancini, with the superfood boost coming this time from the nutritional moringa powder, found in Nigeria.’

by Emeka and Ifeyinwa, Chuku’s

ingredients, for the jollof rice
  • 200g parboiled long grain rice
  • 6 plum tomatoes
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 Scotch bonnet chilli (or to taste)
  • thumb-size piece of fresh root ginger, peeled
  • 100ml vegetable oil
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt to taste
Ingredients, for the arancini
  • 300g cooked jollof rice
  • Jollof (tomato and red pepper) purée
  • 1 plantain, diced and fried
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp Aduna moringa Powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 slices of multiseed bread
  • 750ml vegetable oil
  • chopped Scotch bonnet chilli to garnish
  • handful of rocket to garnish
method, for the jollof rice
  • Blend together your plum tomatoes, red bell peppers, onion, Scotch bonnet and fresh ginger
  • Pour in a large pot and cook down your purée until it becomes a thick paste. Then cover with 50ml vegetable oil and fry for 10-15 minutes until the purée begins to separate from the oil
  • Now add your thyme, stock cube and salt to taste. Take out half of the tomato and pepper purée and set aside for later
  • To the remaining purée in the pot, add your parboiled rice and remaining oil
  • Pour water over the rice, so the two are level, then cover the pot with a lid
  • Put the pot on a low to medium heat and steam cook the rice until all the water has disappeared – by then it should be ready
method, for the arancini balls
  • While the rice is cooking, set out three bowls. In the first add the flour and moringa powder, in the second beat an egg and in the third add homemade breadcrumbs made by blitzing the seeded bread in a blender
  • Once the rice is cooked, scoop out warm jollof rice from the pot into a fourth bowl and add the purée that was set aside. Mix together, so that the rice becomes sticky like the texture of risotto. The softness of the warm rice and the purée moisture is needed, so that the rice can be moulded into arancini balls. You’ll have made more jollof rice than you need for this arancini recipe, so you have plenty for a chef’s snack!
  • Scoop out a tablespoon of jollof rice onto your palm and flatten with your fingertips. Place a dice of plantain on top. Add another scoop of jollof rice and mould into a round ball. Sit the moulded arancini onto a plate
  • Repeat the process until the bowl of rice is empty
  • Dip the balls one-by-one into the moringa-flour mix, then the egg and then into the breadcrumbs, making sure they are well coated
  • Pour the vegetable oil into a deep saucepan and place on a high heat, ready to deep fry the arancini. Make sure the oil is no more than halfway up the saucepan to ensure it doesn’t bubble over once hot. Test the oil by dropping in some breadcrumbs - if they sizzle and float, it is ready for frying
  • With a perforated spoon, dip the arancini into the hot oil and fry for 3-5 minutes until golden brown. Transfer onto kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil
  • Garnish with rocket, chopped scotch bonnet chillies and serve with a portion of fried plantain (dodo)


Mandazi, from Maskani

makes about 30 bite-sized mandazi

Africa Utopia - Maskani Mandazi

‘Not only are these East African coconut doughnuts amazing, they also happen to be vegan!’

by Eric, Maskani

  • 360g plain flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried yeast
  • 7 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 rounded tsp ground cardamom powder
  • 175ml thick coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 100ml warm water
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Mix the yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a mug with the warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and set aside to allow the yeast to activate (even if you buy fast-action yeast, it's worth doing this step as it makes the mandazi even fluffier)
  • In a bowl, mix the remaining sugar with coconut milk, cardamom powder and 1tbsp oil. Stir to dissolve the sugar
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour and make a well in the centre. Once the yeast mixture has started to bubble add it, along with the other liquids, to the flour
  • Mix to form a dough which feels soft, but is firm enough to be handled. Gradually add more flour if needed
  • Flour a work surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes
  • Place back in the mixing bowl, cover with a damp clean tea towel and set somewhere warm to rise for 20 minutes 
  • Start to heat the frying oil in a deep pan. You should not fill the pan with more than 2/3 oil
  • Remove the dough, and roll out onto a surface until it is about 1/2" thick. Cut the dough into diamond shapes about 1.5" long
  • Test the oil by dropping one piece into the pan. If it bubbles and the dough rises to the surface, it is hot enough
  • Fry your mandazi in batches of 10, turning to ensure they cook evenly. When the mandazi turn a golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a kitchen towel to drain
  • Enjoy fresh, or save them for another day! You can eat them hot or cold and they'll keep for up to three days in an airtight container


Pepper chicken and sweet potato rosti, by CHAM CHAM

serves four

Africa Utopia - CHAM CHAM - Pepper Chicken

‘This is the perfect chicken dish to start off the barbecuing season. You could say it is a West African version of satay chicken but certainly more fiery, with just enough heat to get your tongue tingling and not mask the gorgeous flavours. This dish can also be roasted in the oven. Both cooking methods are just as good though with barbecuing you get a crispier charred skin and amazing smoked flavour, that just takes it to another level! Teamed with roasted lemons and sweet potato rostis, this will be your go-to dish for all your summer barbecues.

‘You can make a large batch of the marinade and then split it up into smaller batches to freeze. It’ll keep for a month and means half your prep is done for your barbecuing feast. It is best to marinate the chicken overnight for it to be truly tasty from the skin to the bone.’

by Nimatu Owino of CHAM CHAM

ingredients, for the pepper chicken
  • 4 large chicken thighs with skin (if you’re not keen on chicken skin, at least keep it on to barbecue so as to keep it moist)
    2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 salad tomato
  • 1 ½ tbsp peanut butter – I use Whole Earth organic crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ white onion
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1 tsp Scotch bonnet pepper - I usually have a jar of blitzed Scotch bonnet in the fridge and top it with a little olive oil so it keeps longer.)
  • 1/3 low-salt Kallo vegetable stock cube
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
ingredients, for the sweet potato rosti
  • 480g sweet potato, grated (the Beauregard variety is a good all-rounder for boiling, mashing and baking, as well as being a beautiful colour)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • pinch of salt
method for the chicken
  • Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and blitz until near smooth
  • Place the chicken thighs in tupperware, cover with marinade and place in the fridge overnight
  • The next day, or after 2-3 hours if cooking on the same day, preheat the oven at 175°C
  • If you are just going to roast the chicken, and not barbecue it, place it skin-side down in a tray with the lemons on the top shelf (keeping some of the marinade back to brush or spoon on when turned). Roast for 20 minutes.
  • If you are going to barbecue the chicken, follow the instructions on the charcoal packaging, ensuring the coal is white before you place the chicken on the barbecue, skin-side down, for 10 minutes. Then turn and brush with the remaining marinade and barbecue for a further 10 minutes.
  • You can place the lemons near the edges of the barbecue where it is cooler and allow to cook for 5 minutes and then place in a tray
  • After 20 minutes, if you are roasting the chicken, turn the oven up to 185°C, turn the chicken and brush with the remaining marinade. If you are barbecuing it, after 20 minutes on the barbecue, transfer the chicken to a tray and place in the oven on the top shelf
  • After a further 20 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest.
  • To check the chicken is cooked, pierce at the meatiest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear the chicken is cooked. If there is any sign of blood, place the the chicken in the oven, turn down the heat the oven and cook a little more
  • Serve with some fine beans or a green salad
method for the rostis
  • Preheat the oven at 175°C
  • Add a pinch of salt to the grated sweet potato and leave to sit for 5 – 10 minutes to draw out any excess water
  • Then squeeze out any excess water and mix the chopped garlic cloves and plain flour in with the sweet potato
  • Divide mixture into 4 and mould into discs to form rostis
  • Place the sweet potatoes rostis in a tray on the middle shelf in the oven, at the same time you begin cooking the chicken.
  • Roast for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, turn the oven up to 185°C, and turn the rostis
  • Give the rostis a further 30 minutes to cook


Kelewele, from Chalé! Let’s Eat

serves two as a snack; four as a side

Kelewele - Chale Let's Eat

'The smell of these is too good, be aware it may attract family, neighbours and exes and, or,  raise the dead.'

by Alicia Ama of Chalé! Let’s Eat

  • 3 plantains (going black)
  • 2 knobs fresh ginger
  • 1 Scotch bonnet
  • salt
  • 1 tsp ground cloves or cinnamon powder
  • vegetable oil
  • roasted peanuts
  • Peel and chop three soft plantains, yellow but going black, into small chunks
  • In a blender, puree together 2 knobs of fresh ginger and 1 Scotch bonnet. Add a little water to get a smooth paste
  • Pour this paste onto the plantains and mix
  • Add salt to taste, and 1 tsp ground cloves or cinnamon powder (or both if you're like me!) to the plantain 
  • Heat vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pan 
  • Dip one of your plantain pieces into the oil. If the oil is ready, the plantain will sizzle and rise up and float as it cooks. Fry the rest of the plantain until golden brown
  • Remove the excess oil by draining on kitchen roll
  • Sprinkle some roasted peanuts on top and eat the kelewele immediately. 


Tilapia coconut curry, from The Lemur House

serves two

Africa Utopia - Tilapia Coconut Curry - The Lemur House

‘Coconut fish curry is a very simple dish to cook. Back in Madagascar we normally use a whole tilapia fish but for this menu I have chosen the fillet version because it's easier to eat and has fewer bones. Fresh food is the key.’

by Prisca Bakare, The Lemur House

  • 2 whole tilapia fish that have been filleted.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • black pepper
  • rice
  • Cut the fillet into strips
  • Marinate the fish with the curry powder, salt, ginger, garlic, black pepper and oil
  • Dice your onion and fry it with the fish for 3 minutes 
  • Add the coconut milk 
  • Cook it for a further 10 minutes on a low heat
  • Drizzle some lemon juice on top to serve with rice


Beef Ayamese and jollof rice, from Tokunbo’s Kitchen

serves four

Africa Utopia - Ayamase

For the Beef Ayamese:

  • 15 mins prep time
  • 115 mins cooking time

For the rice:

  • 15 mins prep time
  • 30 mins cooking time
ingredients, for the Beef Ayamese
  • 1kg chuck beef
  • 3/4 green peppers 
  • 1/2 Scotch bonnet (optional or adjust according to taste)
  • 1 large red onion (half chopped / thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cups of smoked crayfish (optional)
  • 2 cups palm oil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • salt to taste
method, for the Beef Ayamese
  • Season beef with black pepper, garlic powder, ginger and thyme. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Drain and place in grill for 5 minutes turning till brown on each side. Set aside. Beef can also be fried for a crispier taste
  • Add peppers and half onion into a blender. Process into a coarse, almost smooth, texture. Pour mixture into a strainer to drain out excess water
  • Heat palm oil in a large pot with a tightly fitted cover for 10 minutes on medium-high heat. As this will get very smoky, leave the cover on the pot during this bleaching process. Remove from heat and leave for about 5 minutes
  • Once the smoke is gone, return to high heat and add in chopped onions. Fry until the onion turns a bit golden
  • Add in crayfish if using, pepper mixture and salt. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for 10 minutes
  • Add grilled beef to the sauce, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until the oil floats to the top (about 45 minutes to 1 hour)
  • Serve with jollof rice and plantain
ingredients, for the jollof rice
  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 capsicum peppers
  • 1 onion (1/2 chopped aside)
  • 1 can Cirio passata tomatoes (550ml tomatoes)
  • 100ml tomato puree
  • 1⁄2 tsp curry powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp thyme
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • bayleaf (handful)
  • 1⁄2 tsp ginger
  • 1⁄2 tsp white pepper
  • 120ml vegetable oil
method, for the jollof rice
  • Soak rice in hot water for about 12 minutes. Wash with cold water to get rid of extra starch
  • Blend half onion, pepper and tomatoes together and set aside in a strainer to drain excess water
  • Add vegetable oil into a pot, pour chopped onions and fry until the onions are translucent
  • Add pepper, onion and tomato blend. Cover pot and fry until the oil rises above the sauce
  • Once the oil has risen to the top, add tomato puree and seasoning
  • Dissolve stock in two cups of water and add to sauce
  • Add rice, cover with foil and steam cook for about 30 minutes on low heat
  • Serve with plantain and coleslaw for a tasty vegan meal


Want to sample the taste, before you rustle up your own? You'll find all of the above chefs at The African Food & Drink Takeover 2017, under Hungerford Bridge, as part of Africa Utopia on 13-16 July.

find out more