I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth but savoury crunchy things can’t get in my mouth fast enough. In my quest for quality snack action, I recently discovered Chika’s a food company, founded by Nigerian-Brit Chika Russell, with a mission to “bring Africa’s most delectable snacks to the West!” Whenever I make West African food for my friends they always lick their plate clean and say how tasty it is. I’ve often wondered why African food generally is not very well known in the same way that Asian food is.
I asked Chika what she thought:
“Africa although the second largest continent it is not known for its cuisine or food. We also do not export much by the way of food. It’s quite an internally focused continent. Exports have been done by countries which have previously invaded Africa’s various regions and that’s been for high value items such as minerals and oil. Not food. At Chika’s, that’s one of our goals. To put African food/snacks in focus and on the map.”
I put the above selection of snacks to the taste test. Firstly a glance at the ingredients list shows a short ingredients list of natural items with no artificial additives, colourings, preservatives or other unnecessary nasties. If you follow a vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diet these snacks are suitable.
Chika’s Chilli Plantain Crisps
Plantains and yam are the potatoes of West Africa. I adore plantains, chilli and crisps so what’s not to love? These were an instant hit. Delicious as a snack in their own right, I also like to add them to salads as an alternative to croutons. I’ll be sharing the recipe for the mouthwatering salad below later in the week.
Chika’s Chickpea Crisps
I don’t recall ever eating anything like these chickpea crisps before here or in Nigeria. Made from just chickpeas with cumin and black pepper and fried in olive oil. I was half expecting these to have a whiff of hummus but they didn’t – instead the taste really reminded me of sausage roll pastry, in a very pleasant way. These have double the protein of a similar amount of potato crisps and much less fat.
Chika’s West African Peanuts
Peanuts but so much more than peanuts. Known as groundnuts in Nigeria, if you’ve ever bought roasted peanuts in a bottle on the roadside whilst stuck in a traffic jam, the first sniff of these will have waves of nostalgia washing over you. Chika’s use freshly harvested peanuts from Northern Nigeria and dry roast on a wood fire which imparts an authentic natural smokiness which is mouthwatering. If you’re looking for a new snack adventure that’s full of flavour and relatively healthier, give Chika’s a try.