West African Cuisine and Recipes

The history of West Africa plays a large role in their cuisine and recipes, and they are largely influences by the traditions and local customs. West Africa traded with the Arab world and this introduced cinnamon and rice into their cuisine, ingredients which have become central parts of their culinary traditions.

Acarajé – Black-Eyed Pea and Shrimp Fritters

A dish made from peeled black-eyed peas formed into a ball and then deep-fried in dendê (palm oil). It is found in Nigerian and Brazilian cuisine. The dish is traditionally encountered in Brazil’s northeastern state of Bahia, especially in the city of Salvador, often as street food, and is also found in most parts of Nigeria, Ghana and the Republic of Benin.

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Alloco – Ivorian Fried Plantains

Alloco is a Ivorian snack made from fried plantain. It is often served with chilli pepper and onions. It is predominantly popular in the Ivory Coast and the surrounding African nations.

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Attiéké

Attiéké is a side dish made from cassava that is a part of the cuisine of Côte d’Ivoire in Africa. The dish is prepared from fermented cassava pulp that has been grated or granulated. Dried attiéké is also prepared, which is similar in texture to couscous.

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Canja de Galinha – Chicken Soup with Lemon and Mint

Canja de galinha, or simply canja, is a popular chicken soup of Portuguese, Cape Verdean, and Brazilian cuisine. The Portuguese term galinha means “hen”. The basic ingredients include chicken, rice or massa pevide. Common flavouring ingredients are olive oil, mint, salt and pepper. It is usually accompanied by slices of Portuguese broa bread on the side for dipping.

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Egusi Sauce

Egusi sauce is a staple in many Western and Central African countries. The egusi seeds are not from the sweet, fleshy watermelon we know but come from any number of melons or gourds native to those regions. Egusi sauce is thickened with roasted ground or pureed Egusi Seeds, giving it a smoky, nutty character.

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Frejon – Coconut Bean Soup

The frejons consumed in Nigeria and West Africa are puddings made of black beans cooked slowly overnight over a wood or charcoal fire, and then mixed with coconut milk to form a thick, sweet, smooth pudding. In certain countries the dish is flavoured with cocoa.

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Fufu

Fufu is a staple food of West and Central Africa. It is made by boiling starchy vegetables like cassava, yams or plantains and then pounding them into a dough-like consistency.

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Gambian Cuisine

Gambian cuisine includes the culinary practices and traditions of the nation of The Gambia. The Gambian cuisine is part of West African cuisine

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Ghanaian Cuisine

Ghanaian cuisine is the national cuisine of Ghana. There are traditional dishes from each ethnic group, tribe and clan. Ghanaian main dishes unlike other cunalyes, are organised around a starchy staple such as rice, fufu, banku/etew, kenkey/dokonu, tuozafi, dzidzii, akplidzii, yakeyake, eto, akyeke, etc. with which a sauce or soup saturated with fish, meat or mushrooms is served.

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Kedjenou – Ivory Coast Chicken Stew

Kedjenou (also known as Kedjenou poulet and Kedjenou de Poulet) is a spicy stew that is slow-cooked in a sealed canari (terra-cotta pot) over fire or coals and prepared with chicken or guinea hen and vegetables. It is a traditional and popular cuisine of Côte d’Ivoire.

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Kelewele – Spicy Fried Plantains

Kelewele is a popular Ghanaian snack dish of fried plantains seasoned with spices. In English, it is sometimes called Hot Plantain Crisps. In Africa, kelewele is sold by street vendors, usually at night. It is sometimes served with rice and stew, peanuts, or alone as a dessert or a snack. Kelewele is also popular for breakfast

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Liberian Potato Salad

Liberian Potato Salad is a traditional Liberian recipe for a classic salad of potatoes, mixed beans, French beans, onions, tomatoes, sweetcorn, and cucumber served in a spiced mayonnaise flavoured with mustard. This dish is frequently used as an accompaniment to fried chicken at a summer beach picnic.

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Mauritanian Cuisine

The diet consists mostly of meat, millet, rice, fish, and sweet potatoes and potatoes. The main meal is lunch among black Africans, whereas Arab-Berbers have the main meal in the evening. Breakfast consists of milk and cereal with French bread and butter. People use a lot of oil in cooking and sugar in drinks.

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Mouton aux Arachides – Beninoise Lamb in Peanut Sauce

Stews featuring peanut butter are prevalent throughout West Africa, and even in parts of Brazil and the Caribbean. This Beninoise stew features vegetables and lamb, though you can use chicken or beef as well.

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Nigerian Cuisine

Nigerian cuisine consists of dishes or food items from the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise the West African nation of Nigeria. Like other West African cuisines, it uses spices, herbs in conjunction with palm oil or groundnut oil to create deeply-flavoured sauces and soups often made very hot with chilli peppers.

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Ogbono Soup

Ogbono Soup is a Nigerian meat and vegetable stew thickened with ogbono seed. Ogbono is the dried seed of the African mango tree, and it is ground and used as a powerful thickener with an earthy flavour. Ogbono soup is popular everywhere in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Each region has its own variations, but meat, greens and ogbono seeds are common elements.

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Pastel Com o Diabo Dentro – Cape Verdean Pastry with the Devil Inside

The filling may be as hot (devilish) as you like; just vary the amount of chillies added to the filling. Grilled fresh tuna gives the best results, but you may use high-quality canned tuna in a pinch. The pastry is a blend of cooked and puréed sweet potato, mixed with fine polenta.

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Poulet Yassa – Chicken Yassa

Chicken Yassa, prepared with onions and lemon (known as yassa au poulet), is a speciality from the Casamance region south of Dakar, and is one of the most popular recipes in West Africa. The chicken can be replaced with fish.

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Puff-Puff – Nigerian Doughnuts

Puff-puff is a traditional Nigerian food similar to a doughnut. There exists a similar version known as bofrot in Ghana. Puff-puffs are similar to the French Beignet and the Italian Zeppole.

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Saladu Awooka àk Mango – Senegalese Avocado and Mango Salad

The creamy avocado, sweet mango, and bright citrus in this salad make a refreshing counterpoint to Senegal’s rich and savoury stews. And great on its own for Meatless Monday.

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