West African food is enriched with generous amounts of fats, spices and starchy foods. Meat is also included in the West African cuisine, but not in abundance. Fufu, Banku, Kenkey, Foutou, Tô, Couscous, and Garri are the staple foods that are consumed widely across West Africa. These foods are normally served with stews and soups in West Africa. Rise dishes are highly popular in West Africa. Jollof rice and Benachin are two examples of rice dishes which are liked the most by people of West Africa. Also, local West African food revolves around local traditions and customs.
West African Cuisine- Commonly Used Ingredients
• West African food is normally prepared with the help of cereal grains, hot spices, peanuts, rice, plantains, green peas, okra, black eyed peas, pineapples and citrus fruits. Also, root vegetables such as cassava, cocoyams and yams are sued in the preparation of West African food.
• The starch and staple grains used in food preparation may vary from one area to another. Also, the prevailing culture in a particular area determines the choice of ingredients to be used in food preparation.
• Corn is used popularly as it is inexpensive, helps in imparting a beautiful appeal to the finally prepared dish and augments the volume of the dish.
West African Cuisine- Cooking style and techniques
West African food is prepared with the help of various cooking techniques like baking, roasting, boiling, mashing, spicing, and frying. Also, the cooking style has now changed from use of native oil and less meat in the past to spicy and meat enriched dishes in the present. In traditional times, local greens and baobob leaf were the regular staple foods. However, these days West African food is heavy in spices, fats and meats, where meat and fish are combined together to come up with entirely a unique dish. Dried and flaked fish is fried and cooked in a mix of water, onions, tomatoes, hot peppers, and various other spices to come up with a delicious and flavored stew. Mutton and beef are also preferred in few areas of West Africa, with goat meat as the dominant form of red meat.
West African Cuisine- Popular Foods
Suya – It is a very popular West African food item which is widely sold as a popular snack item by the street vendors. It is considered as an evening snack, which makes use of grilled and spiced chicken or beef and flavored with spices and peanuts.
Kyinkyinga (West African Kebabs) – it is a popularly sold West African food by the street vendors. These kebabs are defined as moist and seasoned meat and capsicum skewers. Apart from the above two common foods in West Africa, other dishes like curried corn, chicken sosaties, jollof rice, palava sauce and mwambe beef are also highly popular.