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10 Most Popular African Rice Dishes

Rice is a favorite staple food in Africa. It’s taste, availability and instant energy makes it a main dish in most homes. Unlike cassava which goes through a lot of processing, rice is easy to process and relatively quick to prepare.

There are different ways to prepare and eat rice. In this article, we will look at ten most popular rice dishes in Africa. These rice dishes are tasty and cut across different African countries.

Nigerian Food jollof rice

Jollof Rice

Jollof rice originated from the Wolof people in Senegal and the Gambia and is the most debatable African dish when it comes to origins. Of course, the great Jollof debate between Nigerians and Ghanaians is not a hidden matter. Nigerians and Ghanaians can’t seem to agree on whose Jollof rice tastes better. Nigerian Jollof rice is made from long grain parboiled rice, tomatoes, tomato paste, pepper and onions. Ghanaian Jollof rice is made from basmati rice and lots of chili peppers which makes it spicier than Nigerian Jollof. Jollof Rice is considered the most popular African dish outside the continent. And of course it should be. It is tasty, spicy and quick to prepare.

White Rice

White rice is a common dish eaten with different types of sauces, soups and stews. In most African countries, white rice is usually eaten with tomato stew. Other side dishes include; chicken sauce, vegetable sauce, and local dishes like ofada sauce, pepper soup, ofe nsala and ofe akwu, also known as palm nut soup.


This rice dish is native to Kenya. Historically, Biyarni is said to have originated from Asia. It was brought to East Africa by Arab traders. Made from basmati rice, Biyarni is a delicious dish. Other key ingredients include spices, yoghurt, coriander, cinnamon and cardamoms.

Palm Oil Rice

Palm oil rice is fondly called concoction rice in Nigeria. This is because the dish is prepared by putting all the ingredients at once into the rice. This spicy dish is made with palm oil and all sorts of assorted fish, meat and peppers. Local spices are commonly used in place of seasoning cubes, curry and thyme. Common spices are locust bean, oil bean seed and uziza seeds.

Yellow Rice

Yellow rice is native to South Africa. Like palm oil rice, yellow rice is quick to prepare because all the ingredients are instantly placed into the rice and allowed to cook. Important ingredients for this dish include: onion, olive oil, turmeric, garlic powder, black pepper and salt. Yellow Rice can be eaten as a main dish or with gravy.

Fried Rice

Fried rice is a popular dish in Nigeria. Originally a Chinese dish, Fried rice is considered a party dish for celebrations and festivities in Nigeria. This dish is a rice and vegetable stir fry made with parboiled rice and an assortment of vegetables, chicken, and bits of cow kidney or liver.

Tuwo Shinkafa

This is a rice pudding dish made in the northern part of Nigeria. Tuwo Shinkafa is a main dish served hot with soups. Tuwo is made from rice flour and its light fluffy texture can be substituted for other heavier swallows like eba, fufu, pounded yam and amala. In Northern Nigeria, Tuwo is commonly eaten with Miyan Kuka, a soup made of powdered baobab leaves and dried okra.

Mupunga Une Dovi

Also known as peanut butter rice, mupunga une dovi is native to Zimbabwe. Peanut butter rice is best cooked with basmati rice and is served as a main dish with stews and sauces. Mupunga une dovi can also be eaten as a single dish.

Coconut Rice Dishes

Nigerian Coconut Rice

Nigerian coconut rice is another festive dish eaten commonly in West Africa, particularly Nigeria. Originally from Asia, Nigerians have successfully created their own version of coconut rice using coconut milk instead of water. Nigerian coconut rice is eaten with different types of meat, fish, plantain and salad. This is a delicious dish with a tropical taste.


Waakye is native to Ghana. This is tasty dish of rice and beans  is usually eaten with Ghanaian pepper sauce, fried fish and beef. Sometimes, it can be eaten with spaghetti, vegetable salad or kelewele (fried plantain). Kidney beans or black eyed peas are types of beans used to prepare this dish. Waakye is commonly eaten for lunch or dinner.

These ten most popular rice dishes in Africa are not only delicious but also nutritious. We encourage you to select a rice dish you’ve not tasted before and give it a try. This is a great way to appreciate the cultural values of other countries.