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Gambian Food – Traditional Dishes & Recipes

Gambian Food – Traditional Dishes & Recipes

Want to cook some Gambian food? Gambia is the smallest country on the African continent, but despite that, Gambia has a cuisine that’s rich in both flavors and old traditions.

Thanks to Gambia’s sub-tropical climate and sandy soil, they grown various vegetables, fruits and crops that they use in their cooking.

It’s a country that has a lot to offer when it comes to food. Below you can read more about Gambian food and some traditional Gambian dishes.

Yassa

This is a Gambian dish that’s commonly found in restaurants throughout the country. It’s a spicy dish made from chicken or fish together with lemon, onion, garlic, mustard, chili sauce, lime, salt and pepper.

It’s a delicious dish that’s a must to taste when you’re in Gambia. It’s usually served with rice.

Benachin (Jollof Rice)

Benachin, also known as “Jollof Rice”, is a dish made of rice, onion, tomato, red pepper, and various spices. Common spices in this dish include ginger, nutmeg, cumin, and chili.

It’s a dish that can be served vegetarian with vegetables, or with meat or fish.

Benachin

Ebbeh

Ebbeh is a soup made from vegetables (usually cassava), meat and various spices (lime, chili and tamarind etc.). It’s a delicious Gambian recipe that gives a tasty and filling soup.

Superkanja

Superkanja is a Gambian stew made from okra, which is one of my favorite vegetables. Meat, onion, oil, molokhia, chili and fish are also added to the stew.

It’s a classic dish in Gambia, so make sure to taste it during your next trip!

Domoda

When it comes to Gambian food, you have to taste this dish. Domoda is a Gambian peanut stew that’s delicious, tasty, and easy to cook.

It’s a stew made from meat or fish, peanut butter, vegetables and various spices. It’s the national dish of Gambia, and is loved by both locals and tourists.

gambian food

Base nyebe

Base nyebe is a tasty and thick stew made from beef, beans and various vegetables. The stew is usually served with “Chere” which are steamed millet flour balls.

Tapalapa

Tapalapa is not a dish, but is a bread that’s often eaten with various Gambian dishes. It’s also popular to eat during breakfast. 

Most locals eat this bread for breakfast with butter and jam, or with akara, beans and fish. It’s a bread that you find in most local bakeries, but is also possible to bake at home.

gambian food

Fou-Fou

Fou-Fou is another classic when it comes to Gambian food. It’s a simple dish made from sweet potatoes and cornmeal that’s mixed until it has a creamy consistency.

This mixture is usually served with various Gambian stews and soups.

Mbahal

Another Gambian food is Mbahal. A dish cooked with smoked and salted fish, beans, onions, tomatoes, rice and crushed peanuts.

It’s a simple but tasty dish from Gambia.

Akara

Akara is a delicious local dish often served for breakfast in tapalapa bread. This dish is made from ground black-eyed peas that’s then fried in oil.

Akara can be served as they are or flavored with various spices.

Akara

More about Gambian food

Thanks to Gambia’s climate, a variety of crops, vegetables and plants are grown in the country. In addition to peanuts, some of the main crops include rice, millet, corn, taro and beans.

In Gambia, a variety of fruit is grown. For example, they grow mangoes, bananas, oranges, limes, coconuts, and grapefruits. They also grow several vegetables in Gambia. Okra, pumpkin, peppers, onions and tomatoes are common and are used in lots of Gambian recipes.

Several of the Gambian dishes are also well seasoned. Common spices in Gambian food include ginger, chili, nutmeg, turmeric, thyme, sesame, lemongrass and coconut.

The Gambian cuisine is similar to the cuisines of West Africa and has influences from the Arabic, British and Portuguese cuisines.

What’s the national dish in Gambia?

Domoda is Gambia’s national dish. It’s a delicious stew with taste of peanuts.

Gambian desserts

When it comes to local desserts, you have to taste Chakery.

Chakery is a dessert made from yogurt, sour cream, couscous, vanilla, pineapple, nutmeg, sugar, and condensed milk. It’s a pudding that’s creamy and has a delicious sweet taste.

Chakery can be served as it is, with whipped cream, with fresh fruit or with chocolate sauce on top.

Gambian drinks

Below you have some tips on Gambian drinks. There’s everything from alcoholic to non-alcoholic beverages to taste in Gambia.

  • Baobab Juice – A non-alcoholic evening drink made from the fruit of the large baobab tree.
  • Palm wine – A white and sweet alcoholic beverage made from the juice of palm trees.
  • Jul Brew – Beer from Gambia
  • Wonjo Juice – Non-alcoholic drink made from dried hibiscus flowers.
  • Freshly squeezed juices of local fruits
gambian drinks

Photo: Salvador Aznar / Shutterstock.com


Do you have more questions about Gambian food? Leave a comment below!

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Tanya

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Hi do you have a recipe for making tapalapa bread I’ve only found one and it’s not good

Christine

Sunday 7th of March 2021

Hi! No, I haven't found one either. But when I do, I'll definitely make a recipe and post it!