Mali food is specific to Mali, located in the west of Africa. The food of this country is as diverse as its ethnic culture and regional preferences. Rice, millet and corn are the most common grains that are cooked in the form of porridge and served with a range of sauces. Vegetables, especially the root varieties such as potatoes, yam and yucca are very common in Mali. Cattle farming and agricultural farming are major avocations of this country and this reflects in its wonderfully delicious and very rich cuisine.
History of Malian Cuisine
The food of Mali is greatly influenced by the French cuisine as Mali was occupied by the French for over six decades who left their imprints not only on the architecture, but also on the cuisine of the country. In fact, the classic French vinaigrette, salads such as “salade mixte” that is topped with French dressing are certain French culinary legacies that have been left behind and seen in the Mali food.
Popular Dishes of Mali
Malinese are known to enjoy their Chicken Yassa/Poulet Yassa (a spicy roast chicken served with rice), Mafe (a beef dish that is spiced with minced garlic, unsalted peanut butter, salt and pepper), Fufu (mashed vegetable dish – this can include potatoes, yams or yuccas and served as an accompaniment with meat dishes, Couscous (semolina kind of pasta) and Meni Meniyong (dessert made from sesame seeds, honey and unsalted butter). Fakoye, Saga saga, Poulet Kedjennou Tcheke, Larho, Riz, Goya, and Seri are certain other well-known dishes of Mali.
Widely Used Ingredients of Malian Cuisine
The people of Mali love their root vegetables such as yucca, potatoes and yam, which are used in different ways in a variety of dishes. Other than these, corn is an important ingredient of this country’s cuisine. Fish, chicken, goats and sheep too are quite popular; however, milk products are not that common in this country and it is rare to find them in Mali food.
Malian Dishes Enjoyed by the Tourists
The tourists of Mali are sure to be treated to some wonderful local dishes, other than the international cuisines that they can enjoy in their hotels. Some recommended dishes are Sweet Millet Fritters, Yassa Chicken, Fufu, Couscous, etc.
Trivia: Malian Dishes
Tea drinking is a ritual in Mali which is drunk in three rounds. The first round is for life, hence the tea is slightly sweet, the second is for love, hence it is very sweet and the third round is for death, hence the bitterness in the tea.
As per custom, Mali food is supposed to be eaten only with the right hand.