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Tag: Iron

Papaya and Hibiscus Tea Smoothie

Inspired by my recent visit to the Lou Bess? Dakar Farmers Market and the wonderful array of local products I found there such as moringa and baobab powders, and lemongrass, hibiscus and kinkeliba teas, I thought about how I could combine some of these flavours to create a uniquely West African drink.

The result is a Papaya and Hibiscus Tea Smoothie, with a baobab powder boost. Adding tea to a smoothie is a great way of introducing an extra depth of flavour and added nutrients without adding calories. The sweetness of the papaya balances out the naturally tart flavours of the baobab and hibiscus, and the overall result is a zingy and refreshing antioxidant-infused treat.

Dried hibiscus flowers and baobab fruit

Here’s a closer look at some of the ingredients:

Hibiscus tea or Bissap, is a popular drink across West Africa. It helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, supports a healthy immune system, and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body.

Baobab fruit has received a lot of attention in recent years as an African superfood, and deservedly so. It contains more vitamin c than oranges, more calcium than milk and a host of minerals like iron and magnesium.

Papaya is a rich source of antioxidants such as carotenes, and contains vitamin c and fibre.

I’ve been drinking this tasty concoction as a caffeine-free boost when my energy levels start to flag, and as a nutritious alternative to a cup of coffee or sugary snack mid-afternoon.


One tablespoon of dried hibiscus flowers (or a hibiscus tea bag)

A quarter of a medium sized papaya cut into chunks

One tablespoon of baobab fruit powder

One cup of milk (your choice of soy, almond, cow’s etc.)

A couple of teaspoons of honey

Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)

Steep the hibiscus flowers (or tea bag) in a cup of boiling water for 3-5 minutes then strain.

Place the liquid from the hibiscus and all the rest of the ingredients into a blender.

Blend until a creamy consistency is achieved.

And enjoy your Papaya and Hibiscus Tea Smoothie; packed with West African flavours and bursting with vitamins and antioxidants. Your body will thank you for it!


You can easily make substitutions to this recipe to add variety. For a Southern African twist why not try rooibos instead of hibiscus tea, or mango instead of papaya?


The Ultimate West African Comfort Food


Fondé, a West African dish made from millet and yoghurt, is a lovely combination of textures and flavours; the sweetness and creaminess of the yoghurt combined with the grainy and nutty flavour of the millet make this simple, healthy and filling snack taste like a rich indulgence.

Un-cooked rolled millet
Un-cooked, pre-rolled millet

Millet has in the past dismissively been thought of as the ‘poor man’s grain’ but this humble and hardy crop – staple food to many across Africa and Asia – deserves to be considered an African superfood. Here’s why:

  • It’s gluten-free and one of the most easily digested grains around
  • It contains B vitamins, Iron, Magnesium and Calcium
  • It helps lower cholesterol
  • It’s a great source of protein
  • It has high levels of Tryptophan

Tryptophan is the ‘magic ingredient’ which makes Fondé the ideal comfort food and evening snack as it produces Serotonin, the ‘happy’ hormone which calms your mood and helps you sleep. Here in Senegal, Fondé is usually eaten as a snack in place of dinner, most commonly on Sunday night before a long week of work begins.

Here’s how to make it:

Bring 3 cups of water to the boil

Add 1 cup of millet

Reduce the heat to medium and stir regularly

Turn off the heat once all the water has been absorbed into the millet (about 25 minutes cooking time)

Cooked millet alongside packet of 'Arraw' brand pre-rolled millet
Cooked millet next to a packet of ‘Arraw’ pre-rolled millet

Place a couple of tablespoons of the millet into a bowl

Add lait caillé, a special Senegalese yoghurt which is slightly curdled and runnier than normal (to make your own version of lait caillé use two cups of plain or vanilla yoghurt, one cup of sour cream)


Add a tablespoon or two of condensed milk

Add 1-2 teaspoons of plain or vanilla sugar


And there you have it, fabulous Fondé! An easy, nourishing snack that tastes like an extravagant treat. For an added nutritional punch, why not have your Fondé alongside a steaming cup of West African Kinkeliba Tea? See my post on how to make it here.


Fondé is made with millet flour rolled into cous-cous-like balls. While it’s possible to make this at home, most people buy it ready-made. If you’re outside West Africa, head to your nearest African shop or food market to find pre-rolled millet. Here is a directory of African supermarkets around the world.