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Gambian Cuisine

Benachin

Gambian cuisine is part of West African cuisine and includes the culinary practices and traditions of the nation of Gambia. Common ingredients include fish, rice, peanuts, tomato, black eyed peas, lemon, cassava, cabbage, salt, pepper, onion, chilli, and various herbs. Oysters are also a popular food from the River Gambia, and are harvested by women.

Dishes

  • Benachin is a Wolof dish traditionally cooked in one pot (the practice giving it its name) Various ingredients including fish or meat are added, seasoned with herbs, lemon juice, basil, aubergine, parsley, onion, chilli, tomato, pumpkin, carrot, cabbage, vegetable oil, and water, with tomato paste sometimes added for colour.
  • Caldo is a lemon flavoured steamed whole fish dish, a variation of Yassa. Jorto or sompat are usually used.
  • Domoda, a Mandinka dish made with concentrated peanut paste (groundnuts), meat or fish seasoned with salt, small medium onion, fresh tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, medium cabbage, water, tomato paste, lemon juice, soup stock, and white rice. Domo means eating and Dait the word for a stew pot.
  • Mbahal a smoked and salted fish dish prepared with groundnuts, locus bean or black-eyed beans, spring onion, fresh chillies, white rice, and bitter tomato or Jattoo.
  • Nyombeh Nyebbeh, a cassava and bean dish made with oils, onion, chili, soup stock, salt, pepper water and fried snapper.
  • Pepeh Soup, a spicy fish stew and cow leg or foot stew.
  • Yassa is a lemon whole chicken or fish dish made with salt, pepper, onion, clove, garlic, mustard, chilli sauce, lime juice, rice and water (if making it with chicken).
  • Fish balls made with ground bonga, onion, tomato, breadcrumbs, parsley, black pepper, oil, soup stock, tomato paste, chillies and white rice.
  • Jollof rice, known as ‘Benachin’ in the Wolof language, it is made with rice, onion, tomato and red pepper and seasoned with ingredients such as nutmeg, ginger root, Scotch bonnet (pepper), cumin and chilli peppers. It can include meat, fish and vegetables.
  • Maafe, a peanut stew.
  • Oyster stew, a stew made with oysters.
  • Tapalapa bread.
  • Thiakry, a sweet dish made from couscous (wheat or millet), milk (or sweetened condensed milk or yoghurt), and spices.

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