Traditional Gambian dishes
cooked in homes are mostly rice, the staple
food, with a covering of various spicy sauces as on the right.
However, steamed millet, couscous,
cassava is also eaten. The defining
ingredients for these various dishes are either peanut butter
paste (Domoda), ladies fingers
oil (chew deu terr) or edible leaves such as spinach or cassava
leaves. Very popular among poor families is Mbahal
which is rice mixed with grated peanuts,
dried fish such as bonga.
Many of these dishes are also common to Senegalese cooking as
both countries have common cultural ties.
Some of the best known authentic dishes are 'Domoda'
(peanut butter sauce), 'supakanja' (okra
stew), 'benachin' (Jolof
Rice), 'Chere' (couscous type millet),
chicken 'Yassa' (fried chicken
Lunch is usually cooked for a couple of hours until the meat is
well cooked - though for fish dishes, the fish may be removed
after a short cooking time and replaced towards the end of the
Most urban Gambians eat bread, butter
and/or jam for breakfast. People may also have 'Chura Gerrte'
(rice and peanuts - boiled) or 'ruy' (pap),
with added yoghurt or tinned milk.
For the majority of Gambians afternoon lunch is the most important
meal of the day.
main staple dish in The Gambia is rice with a choice of stew -
made with either fish, chicken, beef,
lamb or goat - usually cooked with vegetables, spices and sometimes
peanut butter. Pork is NOT on the menu for 90 percent of Gambians
who are Muslims, though it is available for Christians in many
supermarkets and from specialised
Lunch is served in a large, common food
bowl next to which the diners sit on the floor or a wooden
stool. When eating you use your right-hand (washed), though many
urban men (and some women) may use a spoon.
dinner people eat either fried fish, oysters,
shrimps, chicken and fried beef with onions. These may then be
served with salad and / or bread or couscous.
Others may have 'Chura Gerrte' or 'Ruy' (Coos porridge).
Increasingly Gambians are eating more convenience foods, particularly
in the evenings, and this has begun to lead to health problems
associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
Popular cooking seasonings:
Jumbo and Maggi Cubes are similar to bouillon cubes, and are widely
used to season all types of Gambian dishes and fare, from sauces
to sandwiches. They are available at the market and most local
shops and sold by box or individually. Simply crush a bit on the
edge of the packaged cube and then peel open the package to sprinkle
the salty substance over your food.
& Traditions Communal