Top 10 West African Foods

West Africans are blessed with some delicious cuisines and dishes that you really must be trying when you find yourself on the streets or the jurisdictions of the West African countries. When trying West African food, you aren’t simply tasting food, but rather delicious bold flavors created by West Africans. Known for its delectable moorish flavours, rich textures and surprisingly healthy fruit and vegetable bases, West African food is being increasingly appreciated by visitors to the region and beyond. From Cape Verde to Cameroon, Nigeria and all of West Africa in between.

Here are some of the best traditional West African food you must try.

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1. Jellof Rice

Jollof rice is evidently one of the most popular West African dishes and each country has its own version. It is a rich and incredibly rich, aromatic, tasty West African one-pot Meal. It consists mainly of cooked rice and tomato stew flavored with spices such as thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, onions, and garlic.

The dish is a staple of West African cuisine, particularly that of Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Gambia often eaten and enjoyed during holidays, weddings, birthdays, and other special events.

It is a very versatile dish, and it is usually made from scratch using rice, tomatoes, pimento peppers, tomato paste, scotch bonnet, onions, salt, and other spices.

Top 10 West African foods

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Thieboudiene is the national dish of Senegal and is a flavorful, hearty dish perfect for warming the soul. It is also called Senegalese Jollof of Chebu Jen. With fish, root vegetables, and a red tomato sauce, it has everything you need for a one-pot meal!

Tomato sauce, rice, and fish are the main ingredients in this classic Senegalese cuisine. Many other variations of this dish include carrots, cabbage, cassava, peanut oil, and onions.

If you don’t like fish, you can have a version with chicken called tiep ganaar or with meat called tiep yappa.

Whichever vegetables you have now on hand can be added to this one-pot recipe. This meal is frequently included as a regular on many different menus, and it is both tasty and filling, which makes it the perfect choice for your introduction to West African foods.

Top 10 West African foods

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3. Kedjenou

The Ivory Coast is home to the delicious spicy dish of Kedjenou. It is a simple dish with slow-cooked vegetables and chicken in a clay pot filled with spices and water. The name means ‘to shake back and forth,’ which is a part of the cooking method to prevent the ingredients from burning on the sides of the pot!

This spicy stew made with chicken or guinea fowl and vegetables, is tossed by the locals into a canari (terracotta pot) and kept closed for the whole time it’s cooked to allow the flavors to stew. There’s a very minimal amount of liquid added, if any, to bolden the taste and to allow the food to provide its juices.

Top 10 West African food

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4. Naan Mburu

Naan Mburu is a West Africa food most found in Gambian dessert that can be prepared any day, but it is traditionally prepared on Good Friday. Almost all Christians in The Gambia prepare Naan Mburu at home to give to their Muslim friends and neighbors. It is also sold by street vendors and served in restaurants.

It is basically a rice pudding dessert made with baobab fruit. The key ingredients are rice and baobab, plus sugar, fruit (such as banana, apple, and grapes), milk, and essence of whichever flavor you fancy.

Top 10 West African foods

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5. Egusi soup 

Egusi Soup is a finger-licking good Nigerian soup made with a white variety of pumpkin seeds cooked with red palm oil, African crayfish, meats and fish, seasoning, hot pepper and some form of leafy greens.

Egusi is a protein-rich dried melon seed that can be consumed whole or ground to thicken soups or stews. Egusi Soup is a Nigerian classic enjoyed in various forms across the country.

Top 10 West African food

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6. Puff Puff

Puff Puff is a very popular street food that’s quick and easy to make with different variations. Dangerously addicting!
For West Africans, puff puff needs no introduction. It is a quick and easy recipe with a few low-cost ingredients but don’t underestimate how delicious it is because of its simplicity. Very few people can resist their allure.

Puff puff is an African classic, usually sold in street-side shops. While working on this recipe, I unearthed some childhood memories that I’d completely forgotten about. When I was in middle school, I used all my lunch money to buy puff puff, Buns, Meat pie, and doughnuts… I know there is so much nostalgia associated with the sight and smell of puff puff snack, and I am hoping that, with this recipe, your memories will re-surface and make you smile as well. ????

Top 10 West African foods

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7. Red Red

As one of Ghana’s most well-known West African meals, red red is frequently eaten with fried plantains. It tastes amazing. Red Red is a hearty black-eyed pea stew prepared with mashed peas. However, you can mash any bean to go with it too.

Red Red is prepared with pepper and red palm oil, which lends the dish it’s name. Most recipes call for a small amount of tomato paste, ginger, fresh garlic, chili, fresh garlic, and other spices for the best flavor. The looks of it may first throw you off as it doesn’t look appetizing, but it’s delicious!

The best place to grab this if you find yourself in Ghana is in Kumasi. This area has a great restaurant and pub that is well-liked by both residents and tourists. Ike’s Bar & Grill is enormous, the staff is friendly, the environment is cozy, and there is nighttime entertainment.

If you don’t get that far, you can taste fufu, jollof, red red, and more on a private market tour of Accra.

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8. Suya 

Suya is one of the most popular kabobs you can find on the streets of Nigeria. It is a very popular evening snack sold by roadside vendors. Suya is a delicious, spicy Nigerian grilled Meat delicacy.  It is made with thinly sliced skewered beef.

The meat is rubbed with suya spice (yaji) – a dry spice mix containing ground peanut snacks known as kuli kuli, with other spices such as cayenne pepper, ginger, paprika, and onion powder.

Suya is traditionally cooked over an open flame on skewers, but you can also cook it in your oven if you don’t have access to an outdoor grill or don’t want to use one.It will be very delicious but without the smoky taste.

While beef seems to be the most common choice of meat, goat meat, lamb meat, chicken, turkey, and fish can be made into suya. Even meat parts like kidney, liver, and tripe can be made into suya!

You can also find it in restaurants and clubs. However, the roadside suya smells more mouthwatering than anyone served in fancy restaurants. It doesn’t matter how sophisticated the menu is at a restaurant.Top 10 West Africa foods

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9. Superkanja

Superkanja is a popular dish in Senegal and Gambia and is relatively easy to make at home! It’s a simple stew dish usually served over rice, with beef, fish, okra, and other vegetables. It will fill you up quickly and put a smile on your face with its warm flavors.

There are many different variations of this meal, like the Ghanaian kontomire, that can be found throughout West Africa. This decadent local favorite is often paired with meat, fish, chili peppers, or onions, making it pack even more punch.

With its blend of leafy greens, including collard greens, sweet potato leaves, okra, and spinach, this Gambian okra stew is packed with nutrients and flavor. It is delicious and a great choice if you’re watching your diet.

Top 10 West Africa foods

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10. Potato Greens

Another West Africa food to try is the Potato greens. It is mostly eaten among countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Mali notably.

The meat and fish are placed in the pot then salt and water added to it for boiling. The fish is then taking out of the boiling process after few minute and the potato greens cooked with onion, spring onion, bouillon cubes and palm oil.

The fish is replaced back in the process for another minute of cooking till the liquid is absorbed.

Top 10 West Africa food

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West African dishes offer a unique blend of flavors that everyone should experience at least once. Each dish offers something special that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. West African cooking is truly different from any other type of cooking in other countries. Whether you’re an experienced traveler looking to expand your culinary horizons or just someone who loves trying new foods, West African cuisine is sure to delight your taste buds with it’s extra flavor! You won’t regret trying a rich mouthfeel of West African dishes that West Africans enjoy on a daily basis!

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