Chikanda Recipe - Discover the Unique Flavors of African Cassava Cake

Dish recipes: Chikanda

Chikanda, also known as African Cassava Cake or African Polony, is a traditional delicacy hailing from various African countries, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. This unique and nutritious dish is made from ground cassava root and peanuts, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying cake-like treat. In this article, we will share an authentic Chikanda recipe that will introduce you to the distinct flavors of this African specialty.


2 cups grated cassava

1 cup roasted peanuts, finely ground

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons ground dried chili peppers (or to taste)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup water

Banana leaves (for wrapping, optional)

Cooking oil (for frying)

Step 1: Prepare the ingredients

Grate the cassava root using a box grater or food processor. Ensure that the cassava is peeled and any fibrous parts are removed. Finely grind the roasted peanuts using a blender or food processor. Chop the onion into small pieces.

Step 2: Mix the ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the grated cassava, ground peanuts, chopped onion, ground dried chili peppers, ground coriander, salt, black pepper, cumin, and cloves. Mix everything together until well combined. Gradually add water and continue mixing until the mixture holds together.

Step 3: Shape the Chikanda

Take a portion of the mixture and shape it into a small cake or patty. You can use your hands or a round mold to create uniform shapes. Repeat this process until all the mixture is used.

Step 4: Wrap in banana leaves (optional)

If desired, you can wrap the Chikanda in banana leaves. This step is traditional and adds a unique flavor and aroma. Cut the banana leaves into squares and place each Chikanda in the center. Fold the leaves to enclose the Chikanda securely.

Step 5: Cook the Chikanda

Heat cooking oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Carefully place the Chikanda into the hot oil and fry them until golden brown on each side. This process should take about 5-7 minutes per side. Make sure to cook them in batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pan.

Step 6: Drain and serve

Once the Chikanda are cooked, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess oil. Allow them to cool slightly before serving.

Step 7: Serve and enjoy

Chikanda is traditionally enjoyed as a snack or appetizer. It can be served on its own or paired with a spicy tomato relish or chutney. The unique combination of cassava and peanuts creates a nutty and earthy flavor profile that is truly unique to African cuisine.

Optional: Variations and Serving Suggestions

For added texture and flavor, you can include chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley in the mixture. Chikanda can be steamed instead of fried for a healthier alternative. Serve the Chikanda alongside other African dishes for a complete culinary experience.

With this authentic Chikanda recipe, you can explore the rich flavors of African cuisine and delight in the unique taste of this cassava and peanut cake. Whether you're seeking to experience the traditional flavors of Zambia, Zimbabwe, or Malawi or simply curious about new and exciting culinary creations, Chikanda is a must-try dish. Enjoy the nutty and savory flavors of this African delicacy and savor the cultural heritage it represents.