Be aware: the following article might trigger the urge to take a trip to an African country or better yet, go running to your African neighbour for some yummy treats! It was not easy to narrow this list down to 10 dishes but here it is.
My all time favorite! A Senegalese meal that you can find in several West African countries with variations. The basis of the meal is a raw tomatoes and tomato concentrate sauce in which you cook your vegetables (carrots, cabbage, eggplant, pepper, gombo). Then, remove your vegetables, add more water and pour your broken grains of rice in. That’s how you obtain this riched red color. You can also add some fish that you fried with a little bit of flour like groupers (merou) or African threadfin.
My specialty: typical Guinean meat balls made with peanut butter, chicken, ginger, mint, oignons, garlic and corn flour. The ingredients are traditionally smash together with a mortar and a pestle, but you can definitely mix everything in a mixer until you obtain a nice texture. Mold small balls with your hand palms and then boil them into salty water. Bonus: add chilli in your dough if you enjoy spicy food!
It is an Ivorian meal based on yuca dough that has previously been fermented and steam-cooked. Attiéké is traditionnally eaten with fish or meat accompanied by a palm seeds or eggplants’ sauce.
They are many variations of this famous arabic meal. I love it with merguez of course – this spicy beef and lamb sausage – and vegetables such as carrots, celery and turnip.
These are handmade millet balls. They are steamed before being incorporated into a sweetened fermented milk mixture. Vanilla extract is added for extra flavour. A simply delicious and creamy dessert from West Africa, halfway between a drink and a yogurt. Serve chilled.
It is a variety of banana, almost considered as a vegetable. It is naturally sweet and often fried in some vegetal oil. I like to accompany them with an onion sauce and grilled fish. A great sweet and salty combo!
7. Mafé soup
Mafé means sauce. It is usually the one that you put on some cooked basmati rice. There are as many varieties of mafé as there are family recipes passed on from generation to generation. Mafé soupe is most of the time based on a tomato sauce with potatoes, with our without meat, and any kind of seasonal vegetables.
8. Chicken Yassa
It is a Senegalese dish made with a fried onion sauce and rice, which can be served with meat marinated in lemon and then fried or braised, chicken or fish.
9. Dapaa/latchiri/rice and Kossan
A typical Guinean meal. It consists into a corn dough – called dapaa – cooked like a potato mash in salted water. You eat the dough with some fresh made yoghurt that we call Kossan. Kids also like the dessert version of dapaa where you add sugar in the Kossan. Another version of this meal would be to replace the dapaa with rice or latchiri: corn meal.
My guilty pleasure: these are not your typical doughnuts, although the dough is pretty simple to prepare (flour, water, sugar and vegetal oil). Mikaté are crispy outside and soft like a cloud inside. One has to learn the technics to form these almost perfect balls. It’s still something that I need to learn from my Mum.
I hope you will try one (or several) of the above and enjoy it. Bon appétit!