1 Delicious Kanda (Central African Pumpkin Seed Meatballs)

1 Delicious Kanda (Central African Pumpkin Seed Meatballs)

1 Delicious Kanda (Central African Pumpkin Seed Meatballs). Looking for an exciting adventure for your taste buds? Kanda, a Central African dish, takes meatballs to a whole new level! Made with ground meat and a surprising addition of toasted and ground pumpkin seeds, Kanda offers a delightful textural contrast and a burst of nutty flavor. Simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce, these unique meatballs are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

More recipes

1 Delicious Kanda (Central African Pumpkin Seed Meatballs)

1 Delicious Kanda (Central African Pumpkin Seed Meatballs). Get ready to embark on a delicious adventure to Central Africa with Kanda! This unique dish takes the classic concept of meatballs and infuses it with a surprising twist: pumpkin seeds! Traditionally made with ground meat, these savory meatballs boast a delightful textural contrast and a burst of nutty flavor thanks to the toasted and ground pumpkin seeds. Simmered in a vibrant tomato sauce, Kanda offers a symphony of tastes and textures that will tantalize your taste buds.

To embark on your Kanda adventure, you’ll need a few readily available ingredients:

Ground meat: Traditionally, beef or a combination of beef and lamb is used. But feel free to experiment with ground chicken, turkey, or even a vegetarian option using lentils or mushrooms.
The star ingredient: raw, shelled pumpkin seeds! Toasted and ground into a coarse meal, they add a delightful textural contrast and a burst of nutty flavor.
Aromatic Base: Onion and garlic form the foundation of the flavor profile.
Spice Symphony: Paprika, thyme, and a touch of cayenne pepper come together to create a warm and inviting aroma. Adjust the quantities to your spice preference.
Tomato Magic: Freshly chopped tomatoes or diced canned tomatoes form the base of the vibrant simmering sauce.
Broth (optional): A splash of chicken or vegetable broth adds extra depth of flavor.
Fresh Touch (Optional): Chopped parsley or cilantro for a final touch of freshness.

In a dry skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds until golden brown and fragrant, stirring often to prevent burning. This step enhances their nutty flavor.

Transfer the toasted pumpkin seeds to a mortar and pestle. Using a steady rhythm, pound them into a coarse meal for a satisfying tactile experience.

If a mortar and pestle aren’t available, pulse the toasted pumpkin seeds in a food processor until coarsely ground.

Heat olive oil in a large pot and add chopped onions and garlic. Let them cook until softened and fragrant, releasing their aromatic oils to infuse the entire dish.

Once the onions are translucent, sprinkle in the paprika, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Stir everything together for a minute, allowing the spices to bloom and release their essence.

Add the ground meat to the pot and brown it thoroughly, breaking it up with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Now for the fun part! Add the ground pumpkin seeds to the pot and stir them into the meat mixture.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stir to combine. Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes, allowing the flavors to meld and the tomatoes to soften.

For extra depth of flavor, you can add a splash of chicken or vegetable broth.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and let the meatballs simmer for 20–25 minutes, or until cooked through.

Once the meatballs are cooked and the sauce has thickened, remove the pot from the heat. If using, stir in chopped fresh parsley or cilantro for a final touch of freshness.

Spoon your Kanda meatballs and sauce onto a bed of rice or couscous. Enjoy this dish hot or at room temperature. Pair it with a simple green salad or roasted vegetables for a complete and satisfying meal.

The beauty of Kanda lies in its versatility:

Spice It Up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.
Vegetarian Twist:Substitute the ground meat with cooked lentils or mushrooms for a vegetarian option.
Herb Adventure: Explore using different chopped herbs like oregano or basil for a unique flavor profile.
Vegetable Symphony: Saute chopped bell peppers, carrots, or green peas with the onions and garlic for added flavor.


  • 3 cups pumpkin seeds, shelled and lightly toasted
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 7 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cold water, if needed


  • 1/4 cup 1/4-1/2 palm or peanut oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 large tomatoes peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 chili 1-2 peppers seeds and stems removed and minced
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 small bunch parsley stems removed and roughly chopped
  • Steamed rice for serving
  1. Using a food processor, blitz the pumpkin seeds into a fine powder.
  2. Add the ground meat, chopped onion, and garlic to the food processor.
  3. Pulse the mixture until it becomes smooth and well-combined.
  4. If needed, add up to 1/2 cup of water to achieve the right consistency.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
  6. This allows the flavors to meld and helps the meatballs hold their shape during cooking.
  7. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  8. Add the sliced onions and cook them, stirring occasionally, until they soften and start to turn golden brown.
  9. This step adds sweetness and depth of flavor to the sauce.
  10. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and chilis. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to develop.
  11. Then, add the water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  12. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot again, and simmer the sauce for a richer flavor.
  13. Take the chilled meat mixture out of the refrigerator.
  14. With wet hands, form it into bite-sized meatballs, roughly the size of golf balls.
  15. Increase the heat of the sauce to medium-high.
  16. Gently add the formed meatballs to the simmering sauce.
  17. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  18. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking the meatballs for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  19. This ensures the meatballs cook through evenly.
  20. Reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for an additional 30 minutes.
  21. This step allows the flavors to fully infuse and for the sauce to thicken slightly.
  22. Once cooked through, fold in the chopped parsley for a final touch of freshness.
  23. Serve your kanda meatballs and sauce immediately with steamed rice for a satisfying and flavorful meal.
African, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Central African Republic

AboutOluwaseun Oniyitan

I am Oluwaseun Oniyitan Food Blogger. Based in Nigeria, it embodies the fusion of creativity and culinary arts. Known as an author and writer, Oluwaseun pushes her traditional boundaries with her skills. But where Oluwaseun really shines is in the area of ​​food blogging. Driven by an insatiable passion for exploring new recipes, Oluwaseun embarked on a journey to share the joy of cooking with the world.

As a dedicated food blogger, Oluwaseun strives to simplify the dining experience for lovers around the world. Oluwaseun's blog serves as a culinary haven that caters to both beginners and experienced chefs through carefully crafted articles and easy-to-follow instructions. From traditional Nigerian dishes to flavors from around the world, Oluwaseun's recipes reflect a diverse tapestry of culinary influences, united by a shared love of food and community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!