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African Health Drinks

Diversity in recipes among communities is good because recommendations can be made in terms of nutrition. African healthy drinks are characterised by high diversity and play an important role in traditional diets in rural and urban areas.

Wari Wombeke (finger millet brew)
  • 2 kg finger millet flour (germinated flour)
  • 2 kg ripe banana 
  • 2 litres of water
  • Peel, mash, boil the ripe banana with 2 litres of water until well cooked (colour change to pinkish red)
  • Pour in a wooden drum and leave for 3-4 days on fermentation process
  • Add 3 litres of water into the fermented ripe banana and leave for 12 hours
  • Prepare finger millet porridge and cool for more than 6 hours
  • Strain the fermented ripe banana and put into a clean wooden drum (at least 7-8 hours)
  • Add finger millet porridge and stir well than leave for overnight to ferment
  • Taste and serve early in the morning
  • Add the dried bark of quinine to stimulate and add taste
  • Serve as a soft drink that is, before the mixture continues to ferment and change to liquor
  • Serve as a drink, beverage, entertainment or refreshment
  • Used in ceremonies such as, weddings and funerals, dowry, penalty payment. It can also be commercialised
  • Rich in carbohydrates, protein, iron, vitamin B complex
Processing of finger millet flour
  • Pound the husks of finger millet in a wooden mortar
  • Wash finger millet thoroughly and spread on a hide than cover on top with Asian cloth or hide or banana leaves for 3-4 days to let it germinate at cool place.
  • Remove and spread on a hide or Asian cloth outside to dry
  • Grind dried finger millet using a grinding stone or machine to get flour
Choya (Rosella drink)
  • 1 kg of dried petals of hibiscus Rosella
  • 3 litres of water
  • 1/2 kg of sugar
  • Harvest the hibiscus Rosella petals and dry
  • Soak the petals with cold water for 12 hours then strain
  • Peel, cut the sugarcane into cubes, pound into the wooden mortar and strain to get the juice
  • Add the juice into the hibiscus Rosella juice, stir and leave it overnight
  • Serve as soft drink
  • Let the juice ferment for 1-2 days 
  • As a drink
  • As a medicinal specially for anaemia
  • For old people in taboos
  • For pregnant and lactating mothers
Note: The Rosella drink is consumed in ceremonies such as wedding and traditional dances. Its contains high nutrition value of iron, vitamin B and C.
    The drink is made from milk, charcoal and sometimes animal blood. The Peanut Butter Cassia (Senna dydimobotrya), whose stem is burnt and its mixed with boiled milk in a gourd and left to ferment for 4-5 days.  The tree has medicinal value and it is used to cure stomach upsets and neutralize acids that might develop during fermentation. The charcoal not only adds flavor to the fermented milk, adds strength to bones, a secret behind longevity and the speed of Kenya's athletes or runners.

    • 1 liter of fresh milk from cow
    • Sugar (optional)
    1. The gourd is first washed then left to dry.
    2. Pieces of charcoal from the peanut Butter Cassia are than put into the gourd and a palm tree branch used to coat the inside of the gourd with the charcoal.
    3. Milk is boiled then left to cool before it is poured into the gourd and covered with tight lid, usually made of animal skin. the milk is then left for 4-6 days to ferment.
    4. When the mixture is ready, the palm tree branch is used to stir up the milk and attain an even texture because butter tends to float on top. 
    Note: The texture of the mursk will depend on the feed given to the cow and what breed the animal is. Mursk made from colostrum is thicker and more nutritious than that made from any other milk.
      Baobab Juice
      • I kg baobab pulp
      • 1/2 liter fresh orange juice
      • 1 liter of warm water
      • Sugar (optional)
      1. Bring 1 liter of water to boil for 5 minutes
      2. Add the baobab pulp to boiled water and stir until well mixed
      3. Strain or sieve the mixture to remove fibre and unwanted particles
      4. Add the orange juice and sugar to taste
      5. Lay it cool or keep in a refrigerator
      6. Serve

      Note: Baobab pulp has levels of vitamin C averaging 300mg per 100 g nearly 6 times higher than that of orange. Two times more calcium than cow milk, high in potassium, phosphorus and anti-oxidants. It is a good fruit for pregnant and breast feeding women. Also its seeds can be used to treat dysentery.
      Tamarind juice
      • Tamarind
      • Boiled water
      • Pot
      • Sugar
      • Plastic basin
      • Plastic filter
      1. Boil enough water in accordance with the quantity of fruit or tamarind
      2. prepare tamarind and put into boiled water
      3. Stir to get smooth porridge, and strain in the plastic filter
      4. Add sugar to taste (optional)
      5. Serve well when chilled
      Note: Helps protect skin and heal wound, Refreshes the body by increasing water and Increase appetite to eat.

      Papaya juice
      • Whole papaya 
      • Sugar (optional)
      • Lemon or lime
      • Cold water
      1. Choose well ripe papaya
      2. Wash well and peel
      3. Grind papaya to be smooth
      4. Filter and add a little lemon juice and cold water
      5. Stir well and drink this juice when chilled
      Note: Papaya juice has vitamin A which prevents the diseases of the eyes, skin

      Green Porridge (arrowroot leaves and finger millet)
      • 6 arrowroot leaves
      • 2 liters of water
      • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
      • 1/2 kg finger millet flour
      • Honey to taste
      1. Place 2 liters of water in a large pot and put on fire. Wash six large arrowroot leaves, peeling away the skin of the petiole and leaf veins and cut the remaining leaf thinly. Add the cut leaves to the hot water, add 1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda and boil for 20 minutes until very tender
      2. Beat the boiled leaves with a whisk while still on the fire until the leaves form a watery paste. Pass the mixture through a strainer and use the watery paste to make porridge
      3. Place the watery paste back over the fire and when hot, adding  1/2 kg of finger millet and boil the porridge for 10 minutes, stirring often. Cool the resulting green porridge and add honey
      4. This preparation serves five
      Note: Green porridge is rich in calcium and iron, which are helpful in the formation of strong healthy bones and teeth, especially for pregnant women. Green porridge is used as medicine for colds and coughs

      Dried manioc leaves (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
      • 1 kg of hibiscus leaves
      • 1 cup of water
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
      • 2 medium sized onions (chopped)
      • 5 medium sized tomatoes (chopped)
      • 200 g smooked fish
      • Pick only fresh leaves of dried manioc leaves and wash them
      • Blanch them till the leaves become soft ans limp
      • Squeeze the leaves to remove excess water or let them drain for a while to get rid of this
      • Heat the oil, add onions and fry till they begin to turn golden brown
      • Add the tomatoes and allow them to cook till soft
      • Add the smoked fish, salt and 1/2 cup of water
      • Stir, cover and cook for 10 minutes
      • Serve with ugali or rice


      Notes: Hibiscus is naturally sour, therefore by squeezing out excess water you reduce this acidity. Some people drink this water extract to treat cough. It is also given to people who are anaemic. This is a favourite vegetable of the Baluba people in central Democratic Republic of Congo.

      Lemon tea
      • 6 lemon leaves
      • Sugar to taste                                                                                      
      • 6 cups of Water 
      • Boil 6 cups of water
      • Add tea leaves (2 tablespoonfuls)
      • Let it boil for 5 minutes
      • Wash the lemon leaves
      • Put in the lemon leaves whole
      • Boil for 5 minutes so that the tea can get enough aroma 
      • Add sugar to taste (optional)
      • Serve hot
      Traditional Ghee
      • Sour milk
      • 3 cups of cold water
      • The sour milk is usually stored in a big kitete (calabash) and cork is put in the mouth of the calabash
      • The kitete is placed on the lap when skimming
      • The sour milk is rotated in a circular motion slowly on the lap to separate ghee from the milk (skimming). This process takes approximately 2 hours
      • The milk is then poured in a nzele and the ghee collected together using a spoon
      • It is then scooped out of the milk and put in cold water for five minutes in a bowl and then removed from the cold water and put in a clean dry container for later use e.g. making ikie 
      Sour milk (Maziwa lala)
      • Mukukuma (plant)
      • 3 litres fresh milk
      • Mukukuma stick is burnt and inserted into the kitete mouth to smoke the kitete before adding fresh milk
      • Kitete is washed by putting hot water and stones inside and then shaken vigorously to remove dirt
      • Pour out the contents and put clean hot water inside again and shake 
      • Pour out the water again
      • Burn the mukukuma stick in fire when it starts exuding smoke put the stick inside the mouth of the kitete and hold it in for 2 minutes
      • Put the stick in the fire again and repeat the process twice
      • Cover the mouth of the kitete with a cork immediately to hold in the smoke for 10 minutes
      • Boil fresh milk till well boiled,
      • Let the milk cool down and pour it in the kitete
      • Let it stay for 2 days to be sour
      • Remove the ghee by skimming
      • Serve the sour milk with ugali or use it for flavouring porridge
      • Smoking removes the tart taste of sour milk
      Make your day extra special by a refresh of tropical natural drink. 


      1. Ruth Adeka (Kenya Resource Center for Indigenous Knowedge)3:23 PM

        This is indeed exciting to see a diversity of African recipes. there is certainly little information on African Foods and implore you to much on.

        Though, pictures of the food is an added advantage.

        wonderful Natural African Food digital book.

      2. Anonymous9:06 AM

        In Tanzania, baobab is mainly used to make juice. The white part of the seed can be used as an ingredient in different kind of recipes that ask for tamarind or lime. Sometimes it is hard to differentiate baobab juice from tamarind Juice.

      3. Ruth Kagai (National Museums of Kenya)9:21 AM

        In Sudan, baobab consumed as a refreshing drink known as 'gubdi' is made from the fruit pulp and cold water to preserve the vitamins.Baobab fruit was recently approved as a food ingredient in US and UK.

      4. Tsilizani10:45 AM

        Sosophala ( a sorghum-soybean meal) is a new nutritious taste for sorghum from Malawi. You take about 2kg of fired soybean and 5 kg of raw sorghum and mill the mixture into flour. Add moringa leaf powder to make it more nutritious porridge. The porridge made is more nutritious than that of maize for adults and kids.


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