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Photography competition 2023

Urban Recipes

This year, the #AfricanCITYFOODMonth platform gave photographers across the continent the opportunity to share the ways in which inhabitants of their cities prepare tasty, affordable, and nutritious meals using locally produced ingredients. Submissions took us on a culinary journey all over Africa, and our final 12 shortlisted entries are show below. 


Alongside a series of three photographs, depicting their recipe from gathering ingredients to the final product, entrants submitted recipes that responded to one or more of the following themes: 

Comfortable & Nostalgic

This recipe is from my family or friends or gives me comfort to make and eat

Fair & Sustainable

This recipe uses ingredients that are equitably and sustainably produced or processed


This recipe uses indigenous or traditional ingredients, uses indigenous or traditional ways of cooking, or is part of a cultural tradition (festival, gathering, etc)


This recipe is vegan or vegetarian


This recipe includes meat

Under a dollar

Good food that’s affordable to lower-income earners


A warm hearty Rice and Beans

Chisomo Gondwe


Blantyre, Malawi


“In Malawi, the culinary symbol of celebration is a dish of steamed rice and bean stew made with Kilombero rice, grown traditionally in Northern Malawi’s fertile soils. This dish, served with a drink, represents joy without words. The versatile, aromatic rice pairs perfectly with various stews and side dishes, like the flavorful bean stew with its diverse varieties.”

Bean stew
2 Cups boiled Beans
1 Tomato medium size
1 Onion
6 Cloves garlic
3 tablespoons oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon molasses
1 Cup water


Steamed rice
4 Cups Kilombero Rice
5 Cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small carrot and bell pepper


I start by soaking the beans overnight prior to boiling, preparing a large batch that I then divide and freeze away the excess ready for the seasoning, this not only cuts the cooking time but saves on energy and ensures constant availability of this nourishing side dish.


Chop tomato, onion and garlic. Heat oil in a saucepan and add onion and garlic sauté till translucent, add tomato and simmer until mushy. Add in the beans salt and molasses mix and simmer for ten minutes.
In a thick base sauce pan, bring water to a boil, add salt and oil then rice thoroughly washed. Boil until all water is absorbed, cover and let steam for 10 minutes on low heat adding finely chopped carrot and green paper-on top for a garnished.

Serves 4 people

Hot spicey Akara

Kenny Oni


Lagos, Nigeria


“Akara also known as bean cake is made of beans with little amounts of pepper, tomatoes, onions, and other ingredients that you may like to add. On the other hand pap is a corn extract made with sugar, milk, and water. It is best consumed while fairly hot. Akara is a type of food that is high in protein that comes from beans. Most houses in Nigeria serve akara and pap on weekends since they are filling and light. “

1½ cups black-eyed beans
¼ to ½ cup water (to blend)
1 medium onion
½ to 1 scotch bonnet pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon salt
2 seasoning cubes
4 cups vegetable oil (for frying)

For corn pap
1 cup of fermented cornstarch
½ cup of room-temperature water
3 cups or less of boiling water
Sugar or sweetener


Prepare the beans by soaking and removing the skin on them. The washing and skinning can be done days in advance. When ready to use, simply soak the beans for at least 2 hours.

Place the soaked beans into a sturdy blender and begin to pulse until smooth. Add a tablespoon of water at a time to facilitate the blending process. The batter should be quite thick, otherwise, the beans will disperse in the oil.

Add the onion and scotch bonnet pepper to the blender and pulse until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add the seasoning cubes and salt, then mix them into the batter.

Whip the batter for about 2 minutes to incorporate air into the mixture. For extra fluffy bean cakes, whip with a handheld whisk until the mixture doubles in volume.

Heat the cooking oil in a small to medium-sized saucepan. Test the readiness of the oil by adding a shaved piece of ginger. If it sizzles and rises to the top, the oil is hot enough.
Using a tablespoon to scoop the batter, spoon it into the oil. You will see them puff up into round balls. Fry and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn them in the oil to ensure they are evenly browned.

Once cooked, scoop them out of the oil and allow them to drain on a paper towel.


Corn Pap

Pour your fermented corn starch into a bowl and mix with 4 tablespoons of room temperature water to get a slurry (runny consistency).
Boil 3 cups of water. The water must be hot! Stir your fermented corn starch slurry well to crush any lumps and gradually add in your boiling water while continuously stirring the fermented corn starch slurry. 
Continue adding boiled water and stirring until the mixture thickens or to desired consistency.
Your Pap is ready to serve! You can add milk and sugar for more taste.

Matooke & G-nut Katogo

Benjamin Nsubuga


Kampala, Uganda


“Matooke and g-nut katogo is often served as a filling breakfast or lunch. It provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The dish is commonly enjoyed in Uganda for its unique combination of flavors, showcasing the natural sweetness of matooke, the crispness of groundnuts, and the savory taste of the leafy vegetables.”

5x Matooke (Green Bananas) 
1/4kg Ground nuts
UGX. 500 Nakati (Ethiopian Egg-plant)
2x Red tomatoes
1x Onions
5 Litre jerrycan Well Water
2 pinches Salt 
1x Avocado


1. Peel the Green bananas.
2. Place the grounded nuts in a saucepan and add a required amount of water.
3. Place the saucepan with the gnuts on a fire source and stir repeatedly until the sauce starts boiling.
4. On the instance of boiling, drop in the peeled green bananas and add the chopped tomatoes and onions plus a pinch of salt and then wait a few more seconds till the green bananas get ready.
5. Separately, softly steam the nakati as well with an added pinch of salt as well.
6. Plate accordingly to one’s choice and preference.

Shortlisted entries

Falafel, not just an Egyptian meal

Ahmad Mansour


Cairo, Egypt


“It is the most prominent popular dish in Egypt, and people eat it every day in the lanes, markets, and homes there, along with the fava beans dish, so it is the common breakfast meal in Egypt, and it is characterized by its cheap prices, and its main ingredient is beans.”

A quarter cup of fresh parsley

2 and a half cups of peeled beans

A quarter cup of green coriander

A quarter cup of dill

8 cloves of garlic

A teaspoon of dry coriander

A medium-sized onion, chopped

A quarter teaspoon of stimulant

A quarter teaspoon of ground cumin

A tablespoon of water

Half a teaspoon of baking soda

A quarter of a spoonful of spices

pinch of salt

A quantity of oil for frying Half a cup of leeks

Sesame to decorate


First, wash the beans well with water, making sure they are free of pebbles, then soaked in warm water for 8 hours. The vegetables are mixed well with the beans, then the mixture is minced in the mincer until we get a smooth mixture. Dissolve the soda bicarbonate in the water, then add it to the mixture with the addition of spices, and knead well. Falafel is formed into small balls, decorated with sesame, then placed over medium heat in a pot of hot oil for 5 minutes, until tender. Placed in the serving dish, and bon Appétit.

Le Kokotcha

Esdras Okamon


Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

“Kokotcha is an emblematic dish of Ivorian cuisine, appreciated for its texture and unique taste. It is prepared from plantain bananas and accompanies delicious sauces. It occupies a central place in Ivorian culture and is often associated with festive moments and family gatherings. It represents the authenticity and friendliness of Ivorian cuisine. It embodies the richness and diversity of Ivorian gastronomy.”

Kokotcha (Foufou Banana) is prepared from plantain bananas, which are cooked, mashed and shaped into balls. This traditional preparation technique gives it a smooth texture, which is a real treat for lovers of Ivorian cuisine. Its preparation takes a little time and effort, but the result is worth it.


8 plantains
4 smoked fish
Oxtail or chops
3 fresh tomatoes
2 onions
150 ml red oil
10 akpi
5 fresh peppers
10 dried peppers
5 fresh eggplants
4 fresh okra
1 bunch of kable
2 seasoning cubes


Remove the skin from the banana and cut it into 4 or 5 depending on the size.
Peel all the vegetables and wash them.
Clean the fish and cut it into pieces.
Arrange the fish pieces in a saucepan. Add half an onion
Crush and half a glass of water.
Simmer for 5 minutes then add all the salted vegetables and cover with water.
Let boil.
As soon as it boils, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of red oil.
Cover and cook for 10 minutes then add the bananas to the sauce.
Cook for 30 minutes then remove the bananas.
Crush them in a mortar. Once well crushed, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of red oil, salt and mix everything well using the pestle. Then make shapes according to your choice and reserve.
Back to the sauce in a pan, grill the akpi.
Remove all vegetables. Crush everything with the akpi and immediately add to the sauce. Crumble the cube, salt and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Mix a teaspoon of chilli powder and a pinch of salt.
Coat the foufou ball with the mixture

Watery, peppery, and spicey

Kenny Oni


Lagos, Nigeria


“Nigerian pepper soup is a delicious, simple comfort food. It is also referred to as “African Pepper Soup,” and as its name suggests, it’s a fiery dish prepared with a blend of flavorful African spices. It may be made with different kinds of fish and meat, which makes it such a flexible recipe. The kind of pepper soup I prepared is the catfish pepper soup, popularly known as “point and kill”. Pepper soup seeds are the core ingredients used in preparing this dish, all which are healthy to consume.”

Irish Potatoes- 2 medium sized tubers
Fresh catfish- 4 pieces of fish
Ehuru- 2 seeds
Umilo/emilo/omilo- 2 seeds
Gbafilo- 1 seed
Uda-3 pieces
Uziza seeds- ½ teaspoon
Alligator pepper- 1 teaspoon
Cameroun pepper-1 tablespoon
Habanero pepper- 2 pieces
Onion-1 bulb


Wash the catfish with hot water to remove the slime.
Grind spices with a mortar and pestle.
Wash and peel potatoes; cut into medium-sized cubes; and set aside.
Chop the fresh habanero pepper, onions, and scent leaves separately.
In a large pot with water, put the washed catfish, add onions, pepper, a seasoning cube, and salt, and allow it to boil for 5-7 minutes.
Add the potatoes. Add the blended or ground pepper soup spice and cameroun pepper.
Taste for salt and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add the shredded scent leaf. Cook for a few seconds, and the food is ready.

Suya: The King of Meat Dishes

Kenny Oni


Lagos, Nigeria


“Suya is roasted skewered meat blended with herbs, spices, and greens. Every state in Nigeria has its own unique local street food, but suya is one that is enjoyed by all and is most common across all states the nation. It is a marker of culture, a meal unique to Nigeria as a nation that is adored by Nigerians both at home and abroad. Most states in Nigeria serve suya, which is considered to be a very popular street cuisine in Nigeria, notably in Lagos State.” 

1 tablespoon finely ground roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon of cloves
4 seasoning cubes
1 ½ pounds beef tri-tip steak, cut into bite-size pieces
1 African nutmeg
¼ onion, cut into bite-size pieces (for garnish)
2 tomatoes, cut into bite-size pieces (for garnish)
1 Cucumber, cut into bite-size pieces (for garnish)


Mix ground peanuts, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, ginger, garlic powder, and onion powder in a bowl.
Combine spice mixture and beef in a resealable plastic bag; shake until well coated. Marinate in the refrigerator, for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
Place the beef onto skewers.
Cook on the preheated grill, flipping once, until the meat it becomes brown.
Garnish with your tomatoes, cucumber and onions.
Enjoy your Suya!

Shiro: A Comforting and Flavourful Ethiopian Dish

Liyu Alemayehu

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


“Shiro is a traditional Ethiopian dish made from ground chickpeas or broad beans, mixed with spices and served with injera, a type of sourdough flatbread. It is a hearty and flavorful meal that is often enjoyed with family and friends during special occasions or everyday meals, and is known for its comforting and satisfying qualities.” 

Chickpea flour or broad bean flour (or a combination of both)
Ginger (optional)
Berbere spice blend (includes chili peppers, paprika, ginger, coriander, cardamom, fenugreek, and other spices)
Niter Kibbeh (Ethiopian spiced clarified butter) or oil
Tomato paste (optional)


1. In a large pot, heat the niter kibbeh or oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic and Berbere spice blend, and sauté for an additional minute until fragrant.
Add the chickpea flour or broad bean flour (or a combination of both) to the pot and stir well to combine with the onion and spice mixture.
3. Gradually pour in the water, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
4. Add salt to taste.
5. Reduce the heat to low and let the Shiro simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened and the flavours have melded together.
6. Serve hot with injera or your favourite flatbread.

Maami's Spicy Stirred Veggies

Muktarah Banire


Lagos, Nigeria


“Locally called Efo riro (Vegetable Soup), Maami’s Spicy Stirred Veggies is a meal made up of vegetable leaves and an assortment of proteins. It forms a core part of Yoruba culture and perfectly depicts the vibrancy and fiery spirit of the Yorubas. Loved for its richness and heat levels, it has found its way into the hearts of many Nigerians as a result of its versatility in pairings. It can be eaten as a meal on its own or paired with foods like white rice, eko (cornmeal), pounded yam etc.” 

Vegetable Leaves (Spinach) – 1 bunch
Locust beans (iru woro) – a handful
Ponmo (cow skin) – 2-4 pieces
Palm Oil
Pepper mix – Red bell peppers (tatashe), Scotch bonnet peppers and tomatoes
Seasoning (salt, bullion cubes etc) – to taste


Pluck the vegetable leaves from their stalks, rinse and cut them into medium sized pieces then set aside.

In a pot on heat, pour in some palm oil, allow to heat before adding the sliced onions and rinsed locust beans and allow to fry gently. Pour in your proteins; which in this case is the cow skin but can include fish, meat etc, lightly season and allow to fry. After frying, add your roughly grinded pepper mix. Stir and allow to fry for another 10 minutes.

Boil some water, pour in a bowl then add your cut vegetable leaves to it and let it sit for 2-5mins. This is called blanching. After this, drain the water while squeezing out the leaves to remove excess water. Add the blanched leaaves to your pepper sauce, mix evenly and allow cook for 3-5minutes.Serve and enjoy your soup with any accompaniment of your choice.

Ila Alasepo (okro soup) and Amala

Oluwapemi Oladipupo


Ilorin Nigeria


“Ila Alasepo (okro soup) and Amala is best eaten with hands, and thus; well served with a bowl of water to rinse the hand. It is common among the Yoruba people, specifically, the Oyo(s). Ila Alasepo also known as “lady’s fingers”, it’s a green flowering plant, and a nutritious food with many health benefits. It’s rich in magnesium, folate, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C, K1, A. It also benefits pregnant women, heart health.”

Smoked fish
Ila (okro)
Elubo (yam flour)
Apon (wild African mango seed)
Iru (locust beans)
Ponmo (cowskin)
Epo pupa (palmoil)


Blend pepper
Put 2 cups of water inside pot and place on fire
Let it boil
After about 40secs
Add maggi, salt
Add already mixed apon and palmoil
Allow it to stay on fire for 10mins
While at it, keep stiring,
Then add your iru, fish, Ila
Then keep stirring
After about 4 mins, your ila Alasepo (okro soup) is ready

Iyan (pounded yam) the white royalty

Oluwatosin Ajayi


Lagos State, Nigeria


“Pounded yam is a staple food in Nigeria,
I call it the white royalty because of it’s skillful and delicate cooking process. Pounded yam plays a significant role in social gatherings and celebrations, hence, gaining its royalty status.
Today’s pounded yam is paired with efo riro (vegetable) soup, made from green leafy vegetables accompanied with Ogunfé (goat meat) that has marinated in stew.
The delicate transformation of yam is a reflection of the Nigerian culinary heritage passed down.”

1 tuber of yam
3 cups of water
Goat meat (ogunfe)
Pepper mix ( Red bell pepper, scotch bunnet)
Fresh vegetables (efó shókó)
Cow stripe (shaki)
Cow skin (ponmo)
Dry fish
Palm oil (20cl)
2 tbsp of cray fish
2 big onions
Seasoning cubes
2 tbsp of locust beans (Iru)


1. Peel the yam
2. Pour yam into a pot of water and allow to boil until tender.
3. Pour yam into the mortar and pound consistently with a pestle until smooth, dough-like consistency is archived, adding hot water to the yam as you go
4. Wash and cut the goat meat, cow stripe and cow skin
5. Put them in a pot and add just enough water to cover the meat. Add salt and pepper.
6. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40-45 minutes till the goat meat is tender.
7. Take the meat out of the pot and Reserve the meat water or broth for the stew
8. Blend the tomatoes, red bell pepper, and scotch bonnet with just a little water.
9. Chop the onions and saute in oil on medium heat.
10. Add the pepper mix, tomato, curry, thyme, seasoning cubes and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
11. Add the goat meat, stock, and stir together. add a little more broth if needed till it has a stew-like consistency.
12. Taste for salt
13. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
14. In another pot, pour the palm oil and heat it. Once hot, add onions and fry for 2 minutes.
15. Add locust beans fry for a minute. Now pour your blended pepper mixture, and stir together. Add salt, seasoning cube and crayfish. Allow to cook for about 20 minutes.
16. Once the oil is floating at the top, add smocked fish, ponmo and shaky. Stir and taste for salt.
17. Add the vegetables to the sauce and stir very well, cover the pot and allow to cook for about 4 minutes. After some minutes, take the pot off the heat. Your Efo riro is ready

Hajia's irresistable Tuo Zaafi with Ayoyo

Steyn Hoogakker


Accra, Ghana


Tuo Zaafi with Ayoyo Soup and Stew Cooked in an Electric Pressure Cooker.

Cowmeat (250g)
Ayoyo leaves (150g)
Dawadawa (15g)
Calabash nut (1pc)
Local Salmon (fresh) (200g)
Local Herring (dried) (50g)
Salt (tbsp)
Pepper (hot green) (50g)
Palm oil (350ml)
Onion (3, 300g)
Tomatoes (3, 300g)
Tomatoes (tin)
Garlic (5 gloves, 20g)
Ginger (1 medium piece, 20g)
Corn flour (400g)
Cassava flour (150g)
Water (1.5l)


Note to only use indigenous ingredients: replace tin tomatoes for tomatoes only, avoid maggi cubes (use local spices such as anise, selim) and use millet dough/flour instead of corn/cassava flour (not available at time of cooking).

Note to veganise the recipe: replace Cowmeat, Salmon and Herring with locally sourced (dried) mushrooms and use its broth.




Marinate meat in shallow water with the
blended ginger/garlic before cutting Ingredients
small (cubes for tomatoes). Blend/grind all of
the pepper, half of tomatoes, half of the onions.
Wash the Ayoyo leaves before cutting,
otherwise the sliminess is not activated


Add a little water to the EPC pot and boil for 5
minutes. Preheat EPC pot on high, open lid, add
palmoil, then sliced onion, after a few minutes
add tinned tomatoes, then meat stock and salt


Grind (/blend) the dawada, calabash nut and
herring together, add a boiling of cup of water,
then add the ayoyo leaves. Add salt and
seasoning to your liking. Also bitter salt for
softening the leaves, before stirring


Set EPC to heat with open lid. Boil the water
(1150 ml), meanwhile mix water with maize
powder to get a milky substance. Mix the
cassava and maize powder and slowly add it to
the EPC and stir to mix well. When reached its
thickness, cover put lid on (but not close), now
wait 10 mins for TZ to be ready.