5 Astounding Ways To Enjoy Your Potatoes – African Edition

ways to be creative with your potatoes

Image from Alibaba

Potatoes are root vegetables, edible tubers that are available all year long and all across the world. They are relatively inexpensive to raise, are high in nutrients, and can be a tasty treat. They are starchy tuber of the plant Solanum tuberosum, and the plant itself is a perennial in the nightshade family. Following rice and wheat, it is the third most important crop consumed by over a billion people globally. Let’s look at a brief history.

Potatoes are thought to have arrived in Africa with colonists, who ate them as a vegetable rather than a staple starch. By the mid-twentieth century, it had established itself as a crop, and in modern-day Africa, it has evolved into a vegetable or co-staple crop.

According to Wikipedia, It is generally believed that potatoes entered Africa with colonists, who consumed them as a vegetable rather than as a staple starch. Shipping records from 1567 show that the first place outside of Central and South America where potatoes were grown was the Canary Islands. As in other continents, despite its advantages as an anti-famine, high-elevation alternative to grain, potatoes were first resisted by local farmers who believed they were poisonous.

As colonialists promoted them as low-cost food, they were also a symbol of domination. In former European colonies of Africa, potatoes were initially consumed only occasionally, but increased production made them a staple in certain areas. Potatoes tended to become more popular in wartime due to their being able to be stored in the ground. It was well established as a crop by the mid-20th century and in present-day Africa, they have become a vegetable or co-staple crop.

In higher regions of Rwanda, potatoes have become a new staple food crop. Prior to the 1994 Rwandan genocide, consumption was as high as 153 to 200 kg per year – higher than in any Western European country. Recently farmers have developed the potato as a cash crop after introducing several new varieties brought back by migrant laborers from Uganda and other varieties from Kenya.

 

Economic importance of potatoes production in Africa

Today, as stated earlier, the potato has become the third most important crop, with numerous different recipes in Africa. Potatoes are economical food that adds low-cost energy to the human diet. Potatoes are high in carbohydrates, vitamins, particularly C and B1, as well as minerals. In many regions, this crop has been a crucial factor in terms of food security, nutrition, population expansion, and urbanization. Its growing area and productivity have expanded more than any other food crop in Africa in recent decades.

 

Nutritional Value

According to Healthline, one medium baked potato (6.1 ounces or 173 grams), including the skin, provides:

  • Calories: 161
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 4.3 grams
  • Carbs: 36.6 grams
  • Fiber: 3.8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 28% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 26% of the RDI
  • Manganese: 19% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 12% of the RDI
  • Folate: 12% of the RDI

The nutritional content of potatoes can vary depending on the variety and how they are prepared. For example, frying potatoes adds more calories and fat than baking them.

It’s also important to note the skin of the potatoes contains a great number of vitamins and minerals. Peeling potatoes can significantly reduce their nutritional content.

Health benefits

  • Enhances general health: Potatoes are commonly assumed to cause weight gain, but their calorie value is actually quite low, making them an excellent meal choice. Potatoes also provide sustenance, preventing hunger for extended periods of time. Because they are half soluble and half insoluble, they help to lower cholesterol levels.
  • Prevents vitamin A deficiency: Because sweet potatoes contain a high amount of beta-carotene, they are an excellent source of Vitamin A. In human livers, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, with each molecule of beta-carotene creating two molecules of vitamin A.
  • Beneficial in skincare: Minerals including potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, as well as vitamins C and B-complex, all contained in potatoes, may be beneficial to the skin. Aside from that, the pulp from mashed raw potatoes, when combined with honey, can be used to make skin and face treatments. This could even assist with acne and skin blemishes. Again, if applied externally to burns, this pulp may bring immediate relief and recovery. Smashed potatoes and even water in which they have been washed may also be very good for softening rough skin, especially around the elbows.
  • Has anti-inflammatory properties: Those who suffer from chronic internal or external inflammation might benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of potatoes. The make-up of a soft, cooked potato is readily digested, reducing discomfort in the digestive tract. Simply massage a raw potato on the afflicted area(s), including any ulcers in the mouth, to relieve any external inflammation. Therefore, people who suffer from arthritis and gout may use potatoes for their anti-inflammatory impact. However, this humble vegetable may cause weight gain, which exacerbates these conditions and is commonly eaten with meat and other rich foods that make gout worse. As a result, a fine balance must be achieved.
  • Helps relieve stress: Ingesting potatoes can help to relieve stress in the body and mind, and the high vitamin B6 content boosts cellular regeneration. One of the most significant advantages is the production of adrenaline hormones, which help in stress reduction. They also generate GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid), a hormone that can assist the brain prepare for relaxation or sleep by reducing tension.
  • May lower blood pressure: Diabetes, stress, being overweight or obese, indigestion, and poor food choices are just a few of the causes of high blood pressure. Potatoes can help alleviate multiple causes and can be used to treat high blood pressure caused by stress. Additionally, the fiber included in them may aid with cholesterol reduction. Furthermore, the potassium found in potatoes (46% of daily requirement per serving) might lower blood pressure since it functions as a vasodilator.
  • May helps in the fight against cancer: The purple-fleshed sweet variety has also been found to be particularly beneficial in the battle against cancer in studies. This sweet potato variety has components that can suppress the growth of some malignancies, such as breast cancer, stomach cancer, and colon cancer, by causing cancer cells to die. The vegetable’s high anthocyanin content is believed to be the reason behind the sweet potato’s anti-cancer activity when it comes to gastric and breast cancers
  • Minimizes the risk of cardiovascular diseases: In the body, oxidation causes complications like atherosclerosis, which can lead to the development of a variety of cardiovascular diseases. Scientists tested sweet potato leaf extracts and discovered that the high levels of polyphenols in the extracts were able to suppress oxidation in humans, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Because of their comparatively high levels of radical scavenging activity and a substantial number of polyphenol chemicals, the vegetable’s leaves offer significant antioxidant capabilities. Its antioxidant capabilities are aided by its scavenging action and high amounts of polyphenols, which assist to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s also thought that the purple-fleshed sweet potato’s high amounts of anthocyanin contribute to the vegetable’s capacity to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

How to reduce loss of nutrients when cooking potatoes

  • Before boiling the potatoes, avoid peeling them. During the heating process, the outer shell may provide adequate protection against nutrient loss. Because the protein and mineral content beneath the skin may be extremely high, most of these proteins and minerals will be lost if you boil them after peeling them.
  • Minimize frying this vegetable, as frying causes a loss of about 75 percent of the vitamin C in this vegetable. Other cooking methods include baking, air fryer cooking, and steam cooking.
  • When cooking potatoes, bring the water to a boil first, then add the potatoes. This will cut down on cooking time while also preserving vitamin C levels.

 

5 Astonishing Ways To Enjoy Your Potatoes – African Edition

Now we’re well-grounded on the benefits of including lots of potatoes in your diet, let’s look at 5 astonishing ways we prepare this delicious vegetable in Africa.

African potato stew (Hot pot potatoes)

african potato stew
Image from Immaculate Bites

This meal is very common in Africa, especially in countries like Cameroon, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. This dish is made of potatoes simmered in a tomato, onion, and vegetable sauce, flavored with garlic. It is nutritious, delicious, spicy, savory, and filling! It is perfect as a complete family meal or an impressive addition to a weeknight dinner or dinner party. It is sometimes said to be “the ultimate comfort food”.  Let’s get down to the preparation of this delicious meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into medium-size cubes
  • 2 large carrots, cut into thin rounds
  • 2 green zucchini, cut into thin half-rounds
  • 1 small can (15oz) of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in one of the soup pots on medium heat and sauté the onion and garlic until translucent (3-4 minutes).
  • While the onions and garlic cook, chop up the sweet potato, carrots, and zucchini.
  • Add sweet potato and vegetables to the pot; saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, and curry powder, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, add the peanut butter and thyme to the stew. Let it cook, covered, for another 3-5 minutes.

Your dish is ready to be served. Enjoy with a cold drink, probably a cup of juice.

 

Cheesy potato casserole

cheesy-potatoes-casserol
Image from Mom on Timeout

The potatoes in this meal are cheesy! Baked to a golden brown casserole dish, creamy, delicious hashbrown potatoes filled with sour cream and cheddar cheese and topped with buttery cornflakes! One great thing about it is how relatively easy it is to prepare, once you’ve got all your ingredients. Here’s a quick and easy recipe to get your delicious casserole ready in no time.

Ingredients

  • frozen hashbrown potatoes
  • cheddar cheese
  • sour cream
  • cream of chicken soup
  • butter
  • cornflakes – essential for the topping

South African potato and mushroom bake

south african potato and mushroom bake
Image from The South African

If you’re searching for a little culinary inspiration, this absolutely mouth-watering mushroom and potato bake dish given by The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association would make for the perfect weekday supper.

Ingredients

  • 4 large potatoes (waxy is preferable)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 250ml cream (single or double)
  • 1 pct brown onion soup powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried thyme
  • butter
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup grated cheese (mature cheddar or similar)
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Butter a large, shallow oven-proof dish lightly.
  • Scrub the potatoes well and slice them into thin slices (5mm or less). Crush the garlic and slice the onion into thin rings. In a jug, mix the cream with the onion soup powder.
  • Lay a single layer of potato slices on the base of the buttered dish. Scatter a little crushed garlic, some onion rings, and some sliced mushrooms over the top. Pour about a quarter of the cream mixture evenly over the vegetables, then sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, a little thyme, and salt (but go easy on the salt as the soup is already salty).
  • Repeat until the ingredients are used up – you will probably make at least 4 layers. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and place in the pre-heated oven for an hour to 90 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Turn on the grill, remove the aluminum foil from the dish, and spread the grated cheese on top of the final potato later. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and return to the oven, under the grill.
  • Grill until the cheese is melted and the crumbs are beginning to brown, then remove from the oven and serve.

 

Irish coddle (Sausage and potato stew)

irish cuddle sausage and potato stew
Image from Epicurious

Soups and stews are popular comfort meals. On a chilly, windy day, those bowls of liquid deliciousness packed with boiling hot liquids warm both the soul and the body. And Irish Coddle is one of those delectable stews that every home cook should have in their arsenal.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb pork sausage
  • 1 lb bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth
  • 1 bottle (12 oz) Guinness or dark stout beer (optional)
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  • In a large oven-safe Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels; do not drain grease.
  • Cook the sausages in the saucepan until golden brown on all sides, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. (At this stage, you don’t have to cook them all the way through.) Once cool enough to handle, transfer to a platter and slice into pieces.
  • Reduce to low heat and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking frequently, to eliminate the floury flavor. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the Guinness. (If you don’t want to use beer, simply replace it with more broth.)
  • Add half of the potatoes to the pot, followed by half of the onions, half of the garlic, half of the bacon, half of the sausages, half the parsley, one bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients and season once more.
  • Pour broth over the top and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bake for a minimum of 2 hours, but it can stay in for up to 5 hours if you’d like. Enjoy!

 

Shepherd’s pie

Shepherd’s pie or hachis Parmentier is a ground meat pie made with lamb hence the namesake, with a crust or topping of mashed potato.

Ingredients

  • 3 large (1 1/2 – 2 pounds) potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 8 tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1-2 cups vegetables—diced carrots, corn, peas
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground round beef
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt, pepper, other seasonings of choice

Instructions

  • Peel and quarter potatoes, place in a medium-sized pot, add a teaspoon of salt, pour in some cold water, and bring the potatoes to a boil.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until tender, about 6 to 10 minutes.
  • If using peas or corn, add them near the end of the onion cooking time or after the meat begins to cook, as they take very little time to cook. Vegetables should be added according to their cooking time if you’re using them. Carrots should be cooked alongside onions because they take the same amount of time to cook as onions.
  • Add ground beef to the pan with the onions and vegetables. Cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Add the Worcestershire sauce and beef broth. Bring the broth to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, adding more beef broth if necessary to keep the meat from drying out.

  • Remove the potatoes from the pot and pour them into a mixing dish with the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste and mash with a fork or potato masher.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Layer the meat mixture and mashed potatoes in a casserole dish.
  • Place in the oven and cook until browned and bubbling for about 30 minutes. If necessary, broil for the last few minutes to help the surface of the mashed potatoes brown.

 

Here are some other potato recipes you’ll love here on African Food Network

 

 

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Amarachi Irobihttp://@Amara_ii
ABOUT ME: My name is Amarachi Irobi, a content writer and food lover who loves to explore traditional African cuisine.

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