Gambia food belongs to the cuisine of the West African country of Gambia. Traditional Gambian dishes are home cooked and mostly made up of rice. These rice preparations are served with spicy sauce and other flavorsome side dishes. Cassava, steamed millet, couscous are some of the staple foods eaten throughout Gambia. These staples are flavored by palm oil, ladies finger, peanut butter and edible leaves such as cassava and spinach leaves.
Gambian cuisine is highly influenced by the Arab, Portuguese and British styles of cooking. The culinary imprints of these food cultures are visible on most of the foods enjoyed throughout Gambia. The food in Banjul and other popular tourist spots around Gambia are not restricted to traditional Gambian delicacies, instead, Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian foods are also eaten popularly.
Features of Gambian Food Culture
The Gambia food culture is valued for its vibrancy and uniqueness. The meals in Gambia are primarily based on local dishes prepared from vegetables, meat and fish. They are usually served with "domodah" and "mafay" on a bed of freshly cooked rice. Meats like beef, lamb, goat, chicken and fish are commonly used in the preparation of various stews. Pork is rarely used in any of the Gambian food preparations because a major portion of Gambians are Muslims.
Domoda (peanut butter sauce), Chicken Yassa (chicken fried in onions), Supakanja (Okra stew) and Benachin (Jolof Rice) are some of the popular Gambian dishes which are uniquely enjoyed throughout the country.
Lunch is a royal affair in any Gambian household. The lunch is cooked over different courses and served in large common bowl. The diners sit next to each other and eat with right hand. In Gambia, food for dinner mostly comprises fried sea food and rice. They are at times accompanied by salad or bread too.
Gambia Food: Popular Recipes
Here are some of the popular Gambian food items -
- Chicken Yassa: Many variations of this dish are popular throughout Africa. The chicken Yassa is prepared by frying marinated chicken. The chicken is marinated in a marinade prepared using wine vinegar, oil, lime juice, garlic cloves, ginger, chicken-bouillion cubes, red pepper and black pepper.
- Pepper Soup: This hot soup is used to heal flu and common cold. Red pepper, black pepper, garlic salt, seasoning salt, tomato paste, chicken flavoring and chicken are the ingredients used in the preparation of soup.
- Chicken and Beef Benachin: This dish is prepared using chicken and beef and vegetables like cabbage, tomatoes, pumpkin and aubergine. The dish is flavored by fresh spices like peppers, bay leaves, garlic, etc. Freshly pureed tomatoes are added for enhanced flavor. This dish is served with bread. This is often projected as one of the highlights of Gambia food culture.