Here are a few West African Dishes you should have on your next trip to West Africa. These dishes are really versatile and can be eaten without meat ( for vegans ) so there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a try. There are many dishes out there, and we can’t possibly include all of them. This is our selection of dishes we think you might enjoy.
1. WAAKYE – GHANA
Waakye is a dish consisting of rice and beans, and is mainly eaten with hot pepper, stew, garri, salad and fish. One thing that makes this dish unique is that it has a purple-brownish color, which is from the red leaves of the Sorghum Bicolor that it is normally cooked with. Waakye is commonly eaten in plantain leaves.
Some people prefer it without the Sorghum Bicolor grass in it. It is all up to personal preference. Spice is optional too, no one will judge you.
2. EGUSI SOUP – GHANA / NIGERIA
Egusi also known as agushi or agusi is the name for the seeds of melon, gourd, squash plants which are dried and ground into fine powder then used as the major ingredient in a variety of West African dishes.
As you probably guessed. Egusi soup is a kind of thick soup made with Egusi and the addition of Vegetable Leaves (Spinach, Bitterleaf and Pumpkin leaves), Red Oil/ Palm Oil, seasoning and the meat of your choice which could be (Beef, Goat, Fish etc..). This soup has lots of variety depending on which part of Africa you visit.
3. JOLLOF RICE – GHANA / NIGERIA
Jollof rice can be found everywhere in Africa and is not only limited to West Africa. It is a dish that consists of rice, vegetable cooking oil, onions, pepper, garlic, tomato paste for flavor and to make it look more vibrant, and spices of your choice. Jollof rice is generally eaten with chicken, turkey, beef, fish or whatever meat you feel like eating that day. Its also fine to eat it on its own, would still taste great.
There is ongoing rivalry between Ghana and Nigerian on which Jollof is the best, and honestly I’ve only ever had Ghana Jollof so I’ll have to vote for Ghana on that one. Because what other Jollof could possibly taste better than that? 🙂
4. NDOLE – CAMEROON
Ndolé is a dish from Cameroon which mainly consists of stewed nuts, ndoleh (bitter leaves), garlic and other seasonings with an accompaniment of Beef, Fish, Goat etc… This dish is really aromatic and you’re bound to fall in love with it.
It isn’t rare to find this dish consisting of prawns, shrimps or similar seafood. Ndolé is mainly eaten with Plantain or Bobolo, which is another dish from Cameroon made with fermented ground cassava wrapped in leaves.
If you’re not a fan of plantain then you could also eat this with rice. Or maybe eat it on its own, we have people like that here too. Nothing is stopping you, follow your dreams. We wont judge you for that.
5. PALAVER SAUCE – GHANA/NIGERIA/SIERRA LEONE/LIBERIA
Palaver sauce or palava sauce is a type of stew popular in West Africa, mainly Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The word palaver means “to talk unproductively and at length.” It has been thought of as having the power to calm tensions, or to cause them.
It has many variations and can contain Beef, Fish, Shrimp, Cocoyam leaves, and Palm Oil/ Red Oil. It can be served with boiled rice, potatoes, garri , fufu ( that is weird, don’t do that ) or yam. Rice is the first best option, second maybe garri (This is all personal opinion).
Honestly it wasn’t until about a month ago that I realized what palaver sauce was. We normally call it Kontonmire Stew and I didn’t link that to palaver sauce for like 20 years, wasn’t until recently when I looked dumb asking a friend of mine. I had been swimming in the palaver sauce for ages.
That’s it for 5 West African Dishes you should try. We hope you enjoyed this article and do get the chance to try them when you visit West Africa next time.
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