Foodies love the internet, and this year their searches are focusing on West African cuisine. Bold flavors and healthy, natural ingredients seem to be motivating interest.
Vegetables are at the base of many of these dishes with meat and fish becoming a secondary component, which makes every dish incredibly healthy in its own way.
This delicious dish is a highly versatile food in West African cooking and originated from Nigeria. With a base of black-eyed peas, onions, and various peppers, it’s steamed to make a tender and comforting pudding. The recipe will vary based on who’s making the dish and it’s not uncommon for things such as smoked fish, boiled eggs, or even corned beef to be added to make it even more savory and substantial. Many eat moin moin on its own but it can also be accompanied by rice, bread, or another starch.
Starting off the first meal of the day right is waakye, a common dish that’s eaten for breakfast, and it delivers satisfaction on so many levels. This dish is from Ghana and while it’s most popular for breakfast, many people eat it at various times throughout the day thanks to the fact that it’s hefty and absolutely delicious. All the ingredients that make up waakye include beans, rice, stew, spaghetti, and gari, which is ground cassava. While the spaghetti isn’t a traditional West African food, it’s a great addition to a filling meal. It’s served with spiced plantain or a vegetable salad to make a complete meal.
Cachupa is an important part of West African cuisine as it’s often considered to be the country’s national dish. It’s warming, hearty, and satisfying with its stew-like consistency and perfectly tender cassava, corn, sweet potato, and either meat or fish. Each region will likely have its own version of this dish with the ingredients varying slightly based on what’s local to the area. It’s appealing to look at as well since the bright broth plays well with all of the deliciously, slow-cooked ingredients that make up this dish.
Gambia is responsible for this incredible dish which is considered to be more of a stew than anything else. With a powerful combination of okra, spinach, and collards, this stew is incredibly healthy and packed with tons of superfoods, vitamins, and essential nutrients. The dish does vary based on where it’s found in Africa but is most commonly found with some type of meat or fish, chili peppers, and onions, in addition to all those delicious leafy green vegetables.
The name of this soup tells the foodie everything they need to know about what they’re about to eat. Eddoe, a traditional root vegetable, is similar to a sweet potato. In addition to this root vegetable, the soup contains some type of meat or fish and is simmered in a deliciously flavorful broth. The soup is hearty and filling but not heavy or decadent, thanks to the seasonings used to flavor the dish.
In stark contrast to the last soup, this one has a far sweeter base of ogbono, which is similar to a mango. The fruit itself is rich in fat and protein, according to Culture Trip, and also does all the work as far as thickening the soup and giving it a full, flavorful body. Similar to gumbo, a variety of meats are used in this dish such as shrimp, beef, chicken, crayfish, or goat, and occasionally okra is an extra additive. As far as other vegetables go, chili peppers and bitter leaves are added along with water and palm oil to round out the texture of the soup. Mashed yam or rice are served to accompany the soup, making it a full meal.
Efo riro is popular in Nigeria and is considered to be a very hearty soup. This dish is rich in flavor and has a combination of beans, fish, vegetables, and palm oil, and leafy greens often make up a large percentage of this soup. It’s warming and comforting but is quite hefty, making it the perfect choice for a filling lunch or hearty dinner.