Sunday, 30 September 2012

Some West African food and recipes

I decided to blog on some west African food  trying not to be bias about concentrating more on Nigeria food.... Below are some west African food  i could come up with... HAPPY VIEWING

               Ghana :"Eto" (Plantain Version)


2 Riped plantains (Hard)
Peanut Butter
Palm Oil
Roast Peanuts


  1. 1Boil plantains for 30 minutes
  2. 2Boil onions and peppers for 5 minutes
  3. 3Mash plantains in mortar and pestle till you get smooth texture
  4. 4Grind onion, peppers and peanut paste till you get a smooth texture
  5. 5Add peanut mixture to cooled mashed plantains and mix thoroughly
  6. 6Add a little palm oil to the "Oto" until evenly mixed
  7. 7Garnish "Oto" with roasted peanuts and avocado

Ghana: Fufu and nkrakra soup recipe


750g-1kg Meat of your choice (eg. lamb shanks cut into rounds of 1cm thick, approximately 2-3 pieces per person)
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 small, red chili peppers (seeded and chopped very finely)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Sea salt and pepper to season meat generously
6 big shallots or 3 large red onions (peeled and diced)
750ml/3 cups tomato purée
1 small egg plant / aubergine (peeled and finely diced)
100g fresh mushrooms (cleaned and stalks removed)
1 small, red capsicum (seeded and quartered)
2 red chillies (optional extra, seeded & left whole)
2 medium bunches of fresh basil
2½ litres/10cups hot water

Fufu (dumpling) 
1 litre (4cups) boiling hot water (including 250ml/1cup to warm up pan)
21 x 115g packet of instant mashed potato
100g (¾cup) potato flour
250ml (1cup) warm water


Put the pieces of meat in a bowl, season thoroughly with paprika, chopped chili, sea salt and vegetable oil and stir well to coat each piece of meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight preferable so seasoning can permeate meat. Next day, pre-heat oven to 180C and dry roast the seasoned meat for about 45minutes, or until cooked and brown. Remove from heat and arrange meat in a Dutch oven or a large, 3-litre capacity saucepan. Set aside baking pan with caked juices.

In a large blender or food processor, blend together the onions, tomato puree, egg plant / aubergine and half (5 cups) of the hot water until smooth. Pour mixture over the meat and bring to the boil. Use some of the remaining hot water to de-glaze the baking dish and add that too plus, the remaining hot water to the meat in the saucepan.

Add the mushrooms, capsicums, chillies (if using) and basil and bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat and simmer on low to medium until soup thickens slightly and the meat is soft and tender, about 1 hour. You will see small globules of pink oil starting to collect on top of the soup, that is an indication your soup is either cooked or very nearly there.

Fufu (dumpling) 

Traditional way

Traditionally, one would boil enough root vegetables of choice i.e. yam, taro, plantain, cassava etc then drain and with the addition of small amounts of water, pound with a pestle and mortar until it binds together to form a smooth, malleable, slightly sticky fufu dumpling. It is then portioned out and formed into neat balls and served with the soup. However, large pestles & mortar set-ups are neither readily available nor used in western kitchens so try the following method.

Modern way

Warm a medium non-stick saucepan with 250ml (1cup) of boiling water, leave water in it and let it stand. In a small jug or bowl, blend together the potato flour with 250ml/1cup) warm water, this water must not be boiling or too hot or it would cook the starch prematurely.

Discard boiling water from saucepan and pour in the instant mashed potato powder. Stir through remaining boiling water to make it just runny (750ml/3 cups) and quickly pour in the blended potato flour. Using a wooden spoon, briskly stir the mix together, pressing mixture against inside of pan as you go to avoid lumps and form a smooth, malleable, big dumpling of fufu. Wet your hands under a running tap of water, divide dumpling into four portions. Moisten 4 soup bowls; shape each dumpling into a smooth mound of fufu and place in the middle of bowl.

Ladle hot soup generously over the top and around it. Arrange some meat and mushroom on top of each mound of fufu. Serve straight away and tuck in. Bon Appétit!
If you enjoyed this Ghana: Fufu and nkrakra soup recipe then browse more African recipessoup recipes and our most popular orange and almond cake recipe.


crossroads between the north, west, and centre of the continent; added to this is the profound influence of French food, a legacy of the colonial era.
Staple foods in Cameroon include cassava, yam, rice, plantain, potato, maize, beans, and millet. The French introduced French bread and Italian pasta, which are not as widely consumed, however, due to their price. The main source of protein for most inhabitants is fish, with poultry and meat being too expensive for anything other than special occasions. Bush meat, however, is commonly consumed, some of the most sought after species being the pangolin, the porcupine and the giant rat. Unfortunately, there is also a thriving trade in such exotic bush meat species as chimpanzee and gorilla.
The soil of most of the country is very fertile and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, both domestic and imported species, are grown. Common vegetables include tomatoes, bitterleaf, cassava leaves, okra, and garden egg (eggplant).
Among Cameroonian specialties are brochettes (a kind of barbecued kebab made from either chicken, beef, or goat), sangah (a mixture of maize, cassava leaf and palmnut juice) and ndoleh (a spicy stew containing bitterleaf greens, meat, shrimp, pork rind, and peanut paste). In the larger cities, however, such as Douala and Yaoundé, there are many restaurants offering a wide variety of Western dishes, as well as Chinese and Indian food. There are also numerous burger bars serving American-style fast food.
Want to find out all about the Cameroon recipes?
Ndole is the national dish of Cameroon. There are many recipes for it, but the things that they all contain are – it is a soup made from bitterleaf (or other green leaves if you can’t find those, e.g. kale, collard or spinach), peanuts and shrimps with additions of salted or smoked fish and/or almost any sort of meat. Some contain chilli, garlic and/or ginger and some contain tomatoes. We ended up mostly following this recipe.
When you visit this charming country you should not miss the local cuisine cameroon offers cuisine with its own characteristics and phenomenal variety. It is a combination between of the Slavic, Greek and Turkish cuisines. The Bulgarian cuisine is lots of onion, garlic and many seasonings like red and black pepper, pimento, bay leaves, and savory. The cooking in Bulgarian cuisine usually includes roasting, boiling and frying.
chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers sprinkled with “sirene” (Bulgarian white cheese), parsley, vinegar, sunflower oil and salt. Serve in the shape of a pyramid, top with chopped parsley and grated cheese.
Ndole is considered the nationalCameroon food dish. It is a meat or fish stew cooked with bitter leaves and nuts.  Fufu is one of the staple and most filling dishes in Cameroon.  It is a thick paste or mush, usually made from cassava, yams, or corn.  The mush can be handled with the hands and bite sized pieces can be dipped into stews or gravies
Fried bananas are ever present in the Cameroon  style cuisine.  Slightly sweet plaintain banana are cooked in oil until golden brown and served with meals or just for snacks.  Kedjenou is a delicious chicken and vegetable stew slowly cooked with only a little liquid to emphasize the chicken flavor.  Fufu like in much of West Africa is a very common starch filler.

Senegal: Cuisine and Recipes

Senegalese cuisine is an amalgam of influences, from local Wolof traditions to the cuisine of Morocco and that of former French colonizers.

(Senegalese black-eyed pea fritters)
(Senegalese black-eyed pea fritters)
These bean fritters originated in Western Africa, but with the slave trade they spread to the Caribbean and Brazil. Crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle, they are variously known as akraacraaccra,acrat and acarajé.
Image Creative Commons by Jose Oliveira
Makes 25 to 30 fritters


  • Black-eyed peas, soaked overnight -- 1 pound
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Water -- 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  • Hot pepper sauce -- 1 or 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Oil for deep frying


  1. Place the beans in a large bowl and add water to cover. Rub the beans back and forth with your hands to remove their skins. The skins will rise to the surface and can then be skimmed off. Drain the beans.
  2. Place the beans and the chopped onion in a food processor. Process to a puree, adding just enough water to form a thick paste. Season with hot sauce, salt and pepper.
  3. Heat about 1 inch of oil in a sauté pan over medium-high flame until it shimmers. Or use a deep fryer and heat the oil to 365 to 375ºF. Drop spoonsful of the batter into the hot oil, turning until they brown on all sides. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate hold warm until all the batter has been used up. Serve immediately with hot pepper sauce.


  • Akkra are traditionally fried in red palm, or dendê, oil, but peanut or any vegetable oil will do if you can't find palm oil.
  • Add minced chile pepper to the bean puree for a little added heat.
  • Dried shrimp is sometimes added to the batter. Use about 1/4 cup dried, ground shrimp to the above recipe. Or press a whole dried shrimp into each ball of batter before frying.
  • Some recipes call for the onion to be minced and sautéed before it is stirred into the bean puree. The onion can also be eliminated if you like.
  • A little beaten egg or breadcrumbs can be stirred into the batter to keep it from falling apart in the oil as it fries.

(Senegalese fried fish balls in tomato sauce)

The Senegalese love eating these tasty little fried fish balls with a spicy tomato sauce or served over their famous rice and vegetable dish, ceebu jen. Use any kind of skinned and boned white-fleshed fish; cod, hake, perch, tilapia all work well.


Fish Balls
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Chile peppers, chopped (optional) -- 1 to 3
  • Parsley, chopped -- 1/2 bunch
  • White fish fillets, chopped -- 2 pounds
  • Bread crumbs -- 1/2 cup
  • Water or milk -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Oil for deep frying
Tomato Sauce
  • Oil -- 3 tablespoons
  • Onion, finely chopped -- 1
  • Chile peppers, minced (optional) -- 1 to 3
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
  • Tomatoes, chopped -- 2 cups
  • Tomato paste -- 2 tablespoons
  • Water -- 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Add the onion, chiles and parsley to to a food processor or large mortar and process until smooth. Add the fish and continue to process until smooth and pasty. Remove to a bowl.
  2. Stir the bread crumbs and water or milk together in a small bowl, then stir into the fish mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Using oiled hands, form the fish mixture into golf ball-sized balls and set them on a tray.
  4. Heat the oil in a deep fryer or around 1-inch deep in a large pot to around 365°F. Add a few of the fish balls and deep fry, turning often, until golden brown on the outside. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat with the remaining fish balls. Set the fish balls aside.
  5. For the sauce, heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium flame. Add the onion, chiles and garlic and saute until the onion is cooked through and translucent. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes. Stir in the water and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 4 or 5 minutes.
  6. Stir the fish balls into the tomato sauce and simmer another minute or two. Adjust seasoning and serve over rice pilaf or ceebu jen.


  • Use any type of hot chile pepper you like. Habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers work well. Eliminate the peppers if you don't like spicy food.
  • Africans love Maggi® seasoning. Stir a crushed Maggi cube or a fish or chicken bouillon cube into the fish ball mixture for extra flavor.

Ceebu Jen

(Senegalese fish with rice and vegetables)
Ceebu jen (cheh-boo jen) is one of the most popular dishes in Senegal, especially along the coast. A Wolof term meaning "rice and fish," ceebu jen is a tomatoey mix of fish, rice and cooked vegetables that shows a strong resemblance to Spanish paella and Creole jambalaya.
Image Creative Commons by Jon Stammers
A wide variety of vegetables and fish can be used, making ceebu jen an extremely versatile dish. Also spelled thieboudiennetiéboudiennethiep bou diencep bu jën.
4 to 6 servings


  • Whole fish (or fillets, see variations), cleaned -- about 2 pounds
  • Parsley, finely chopped -- 1/4 cup
  • Hot chile peppers, finely chopped -- 2 or 3
  • Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Peanut, dendê or vegetable oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Onions, chopped -- 2
  • Tomato paste -- 1/4 cup
  • Stock or water -- 5 cups
  • Carrots, cut into rounds - 3
  • Cabbage, cut into wedges -- 1/2 head
  • Pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cubed -- 1/2 pound
  • Eggplant, cubed -- 1
  • Rice -- 2 cups
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Lemons, cut into wedges -- 3


  1. Rinse the fish inside and out with cool water and pat dry. Cut three diagonal slashes about 1/2 inch deep in each side of the fish. Mix the chopped parsley, chile peppers, garlic, salt and pepper and stuff the mixture (called roff) into the slashes on the fish.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, deep pot over medium-high flame. Brown the fish on both sides in the hot oil and remove to a plate.
  3. Add the chopped onions to the hot oil and saute until cooked through and just beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and about 1/4 cup of water and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the stock or water, carrots, cabbage, pumpkin and eggplant and simmer over medium heat for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through and tender. Add the browned fish and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Remove the fish and vegetables and about 1 cup of the broth to a platter, cover and set in a warm oven.
  5. Strain the remaining broth, discarding the solids. Add enough water to the broth to make 4 cups and return to heat. Bring the broth to a boil, stir in the rice and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked through and tender.
  6. Spread the cooked rice in a large serving platter, including any crispy bits (thexooñ) sticking to the bottom of the pan. Spread the vegetables over the center of the rice and top with the fish. Finally, pour the reserved broth over all. Serve with lemon wedges. Ceebu jen is traditionally eaten with the hands from a common serving dish.


  • Fish: You can use whole fish or fish fillets. Any firm white-fleshed fish works well. If using fillets, try marinating the fillets in the parsley mixture (roff) instead of using it as a stuffing, then add the roff to the sauteing onions. Most Senegalese also add small amounts of smoked, dried fish (guedge) and fermented snails (yete) to ceebu jen. They add an incomparable, smoky flavor.
  • Vegetables: Use any vegetables you have on hand. Try yams, cassava, potatoes, green beans, zucchini, okra or bell peppers. You can use any hot chile pepper for heat, but Scotch bonnet peppers come closest to those used in Senegal.
  • Ceebu Yapp (Beef with rice and vegetables): Marinate 2 pounds of stewing beef in the roff mixture for at least 1 hour. Brown the meat in the hot oil and set aside. Brown the onions and roff in the oil, then stir in the tomato paste as indicated. Add the stock or water and return the beef to the pot, but don't put in the vegetables yet. Simmer the beef for 1 to 1/2 hours. Then add the vegetables and 8 to 10 shelled hard-boiled eggs and simmer for 45 minutes. Continue with the recipe as indicated.
  • The fish, vegetables and rice can also be served separately in the Western style.


(West African meat in peanut sauce)
Mafé is a famous and popular West African dish, particularly in Senegal, Gambia, Mali and the Ivory Coast. It is a stew with meat simmered in a sauce thickened with ground peanuts and has a wonderful sweet-salty flavor. Mafé is known by many names, including groundnut stew, mafemaffémaffesauce d'arachidesauce z'aratigadèguèna and tigadene.
Image Creative Commons by tamburix
6 to 8 servings


  • Oil -- 2 tablespoons
  • Stewing beef, cut into cubes -- 2 pounds
  • Onion, minced -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 3 to 6 cloves
  • Ginger (optional), minced -- 1 tablespoon
  • Tomato paste -- 2 tablespoons
  • Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped -- 2 cups
  • Water or stock -- 1 to 2 cups
  • Natural, unsalted peanut butter -- 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high flame. Add the beef and sauté until lightly browned on all sides, 5-6 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the oil in the pot and sauté until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger and sauté another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Return the beef to the pot, stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 8-10 minutes to reduce the volume of the tomatoes somewhat.
  4. Add enough water or stock to loosen the dish to a stewlike consistency. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  5. Stir in the peanut butter, salt and pepper and simmer for another 40 minutes, or until the beef is tender and oil rises to the surface of the dish. Add water as necessary to keep the dish stewlike.
  6. Adjust seasoning and serve over rice or couscous.


  • Use goat instead of beef. Or use chicken pieces.
  • When you add the water or stock, stir in some vegetables such as cabbage, yams, squash, okra, eggplant, potatoes, peppers or carrots if you like. Vegetarian versions are made with only vegetables.
  • Some recipes call for cooking the peanut butter with the tomato paste, before adding the chopped tomatoes.

(Senegalese chicken with onions and lemon)
Poulet yassa is a famous Senegalese dish that has become popular throughout Western Africa. The long marinating of the chicken in the lemon juice helps to tenderize the tough poultry found in the region.
Image Creative Commons by rachel_titiriga
4 to 6 servings


  • Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 to 3 pounds
  • Onions, thinly sliced -- 4 to 6
  • Hot chile pepper, minced -- 1 to 3
  • Lemons, juice only -- 4 or 5
  • Dijon mustard (optional) -- 2 tablespoons
  • Peanut or vegetable oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Salt and pepper -- to season
  • Oil -- 2 or 3 tablespoons


  1. Add all the ingredients except for the oil to a large non-reactive bowl and mix together. Refrigerate and marinate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Remove the chicken pieces, wipe dry, and grill, broil or sauté them until well browned. Set aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium flame. Remove the onions from the marinade and add them to the pot. Sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until they are well wilted and starting to brown.
  4. Add the rest of the marinade and the browned chicken pieces to the onions, reduce heat to medium-low heat and simmer until cooked through and tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve with rice, fufu or couscous.

Poulet Yassa Variations

  • Poisson Yassa: Substitute 2 or 3 pounds of firm fish fillets for the chicken. Marinating time only needs to be 30 minutes to an hour in this case. Grill the fish and sauté the onions. Then simmer the marinade without the fish for 10 to 15 minutes. Finally, add the marinated grilled fish and simmer for 10 minutes more.
  • Sometimes vegetables are added to the pot to stretch the meat and add more flavor. Add 2 or 3 chopped carrots, 1/2 head of chopped cabbage or a handful of green olives when you bring the marinade to simmer.
  • Half of the lemon juice can be replaced with vinegar. Cider vinegar works well.
  • Cubed lamb or mutton may be substituted for the chicken. The dish will need to cook a bit longer for the meat to become tender.


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