West African cuisine has been trending in the food industry for some time now, and it’s not surprising. It is vibrant and flavorful food, packed full of assorted spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, and allspice. West African cuisine has a concurrent theme with the ingredients, including plantains, cassava, peanuts, and yams.
West African cuisine is known for its unique flavor and textures, which may explain its growing popularity worldwide. Unlike western foods, dishes are often cooked in a peanut-based sauce, which adds a rich and creamy texture. West African cuisine is also known for its use of ‘soups,’ made with ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and peppers.
A side of rice and plantains often accompanies many dishes. Condiments are slightly different from what Americans expect, such as spicy chili and smoked fish.
Traditional vegetables only used on the African continent are paired with every meal. It’s not a commonly known fact or practice by outsiders. These vegetables include okra, used as a stand-alone and a way to thicken soup, along with eggplant, pumpkin, watermelon, and leafy greens.
Types of West African Cuisine
West African cuisine is incredibly diverse and complex, with each country having its own unique dishes. A few examples of the types of cuisine you can find in West Africa include:
- Fufu – a sticky, pounded starch, usually made from cassava or plantains, served with traditional soups and stews
- Akara – a deep-fried bean cake
- Ewa Agoyin – a popular Nigerian dish that combines boiled beans and stewed tomatoes
- Banku is a fermented corn dough that is cooked and served with soup
- Gari is a cassava flour that is served as a side dish or used as a thickener for soups
Other popular dishes include jollof rice, fufu, egusi stew, suya, and plantain chips.
West African cuisine draws people because of the different ways the food is prepared and seasoned. Here are some other popular West African meals.
Jollof Rice is a one-pot dish with rice, tomato, onion, and various spices. It is a favored meal throughout West Africa.
Fufu is a thick porridge made from cassava, yam, or plantain.
Kebab is grilled meat, usually beef, chicken, or goat.
Suya is a spicy shish-kebab, made with beef, chicken, or fish.
Waka-Waka is a spicy stew made with beef, tomato, onion, and peppers.
West African cuisine is becoming increasingly popular as more people are discovering its unique and tasty flavors. The cuisine is a great way to spice up traditional dishes and will surely be enjoyed by anyone who takes the time to explore it.
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