My fondest childhood memories in Nigeria center around food. Waking up to the sweet and savory smells of milk and cinnamon in Akamu mixed with the tangy goodness of gently scrambled eggs mixed with tomato puree sauce, onion, and sweet peppers served on top of soft yams. Snack and lunchtime memories of the sweet smells of nutmeg from the chin chin, puff puff, and well ripe yellow plantain diced into immaculate circles sizzling in a well-used skillet. Dinner hours with smooth and strong smells of palm oil in yam and bean porridge as well as crayfish and salt in okra soup served next to fufu.
Kids get bored easily and can be very finicky eaters. Switch things up a bit and keep their culinary experiences interesting with some quick and easy African recipes that will wake-up their taste buds and leave long-lasting memories. Here are some fun, kid-friendly recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time!
Other names: ‘Ogi’ or ‘Pap’ is great baby food; however, it can be made to the right consistency for a kid at any age. It has a nice custard-like texture. It is often served hot but can be eaten cold as well. Sugar and cinnamon are often added to it for a sweet taste.
Ingredients: cornstarch, water, evaporated milk, sugar, and cinnamon (for taste)
Cooking Directions: African Bites.
Yams and Eggs
This is a great recipe to turn to when the same omelet and scrambled eggs recipe starts to get “old.” You can season this recipe to your family’s taste bud preferences. Consider sweet potatoes as an alternative to use in this recipe if you cannot get a hold of yams. Tuna chunks are optional as well in this recipe and adds a savory taste and texture to the dish.
Ingredients: Yam, eggs, tomatoes, onion, tuna chunks, salt, chili peppers, mixed herbs/all-purpose seasoning, chicken/vegetable bouillon cubes, and vegetable oil.
Cooking Directions: Nigerian Food Channel
This is the fun recipe to try and make with the kids during family time. It is a crunchy deep-fried snack that the kids will love. No baking is involved in this recipe. It mainly requires rolling, dicing and frying! This can be packed in your child’s lunch box as a quick midday snack at daycare or school.
Ingredients: all-purpose flour, evaporated milk, sugar, butter, ground nutmeg, and vegetable oil.
Cooking Directions: African Bites
This deep-fried doughy goodness will be a common favorite in the home. This can be a tricky recipe, but if you follow directions, your child will enjoy this snack to the fullest. This can be served next to Akamu in the morning to add some texture to your child’s breakfast.
Ingredients: all-purpose flour, yeast, ground nutmeg, sugar, salt, water and vegetable oil.
Cooking Directions: see below
Okra Soup and Fufu
This is a tasty, quick and healthy dish. This soup can be even more filling when you load it up with some shrimp, oxtail, and egusi (ground protein plant seed).
Ingredients: okra, onions, maggie, spinach, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, egusi, and salt/pepper.
Cooking Directions: African Bites
Yam and Beans Porridge
This meal can become a family staple meal if seasoned just right. There are many ways to add some texture to this meal. One of the favorite options for the kids are adding yams, and sweet potatoes swirled into the porridge. Another favorite that the kids will definitely enjoy is adding sweet flavors of fried plantains on top of the porridge. Sweet baby corn can also give the perfect texture for the toddlers without overwhelming their taste buds.
Ingredients: black-eyed beans, palm oil, onion, beef or chicken stock cube, pepper, and salt – optional ingredients (yams, plantain, sweet potatoes and baby corn).
Cooking Directions: All Nigerian
There is something for everyone in each of these African dishes. Make the cooking time fun and create new memories with your kids!