Dakar, the capital of Senegal, is the fourth stop on our whirlwind journey of the World Culinary ABC. The cuisines of Samoa, India and Australia are behind us with pleasant memories of food enjoyed as we move on through the world of food.
The food of Senegal, a West African cuisine, is a fusion of three cuisines-North African, French and Portuguese. Dakar, the capital, sits at the tip of the Cape Vert peninsula settled in the 15th century by the Lebou people skilled in aquaculture; fish being an important part of the Senegalese cuisine. The national dish is thiéboudienne, ( pronounced Cheb-oo-jen), chunks of fish stuffed with herbs and served on a bed of locally grown rice and vegetables. Another very popular dish is Thiébou guerté, translated as “the rice of peanut”, Senegal’s cash crop. Chicken, lamb and beef are also used in many dishes, as well as sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, okra and cabbage. Most dishes are stewed and served over rice.
French pastries are often served at breakfast and beverages include bissap, made from hibiscus, sugar and water as well as home roasted coffee, mint tea and a yogurt drink called Toufam. The are a few traditional desserts; Thiakry, a couscous pudding, Cinq Centimes (the five cent cookie) made from peanuts and a Banana Glace, a French inspired dessert.
I chose Dakar for my contribution to World Culinary ABC since many of the traditional foods grown in Senegal and other countries in Africa have heavily influenced the cuisine of the low country of South Carolina and Coastal Georgia. As a child of the South, I grew up enjoying seafood from our waters, locally grown peanuts, sweet potatoes, okra and black-eyed peas from our gardens; recipes gleaned the West African influence in the area.
Senegalese Okra Stew
This rich and creamy vegetarian stew is an embodiment of some of the similar vegetables that I use in many of my dishes. Okra, butternut squash or sweet potatoes, nut butter and a heady mixture of cumin, fresh ginger, and hot peppers create a colorful and delicious melange of flavors.
Original recipe from Food and Wine.
Senegalese Okra Stew
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 tablespoon peeled ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 to 1 habanero, seeded and minced (use gloves as the habanero is very hot)
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1-1/2 cups 1/2 inch cubed butternut squash or sweet potato
- 3-1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 3/4 pound small to medium size okra, trimmed and sliced crosswise
- 1/4 cup cashew butter (or peanut butter)
- Cilantro leaves, for garnish
- In a large pot, heat the oil. Add the onion, ginger and garlic;cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, 5-6 minutes, until softened. Add the habanero, cumin and turmeric. cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the squash or sweet potato, season with salt and cook, stirring until the squash is coated with the seasonings. Add 3 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer over medium low heat until squash is tender-5-6 minutes. Stir in the okra and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
- In a bowl, whisk the cashew or peanut butter into the remaining 1/2 cup broth (heated). Stir this into the stew and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with cilantro. The stew can be made one day ahead and refrigerated.
You are welcome to participate in our journey of Dakar. You will need to post a Senegalese recipe by December 27th. In your post, please include a link to this post and to the World Culinary ABC then leave a link to your post in the comments section below. Old posts can be used but update the details. Multiple entries are welcomed. If you don’t have a blog but would like to submit a recipe, send me an email at lynnylu AT gmail Dot com and I will be happy to post it for you.
Contributions to ABC Mondiale-Dakar
Yassa Poulet-Another delicious variation of the traditional chicken dish-Pinko Panino
Dakar Spice Rubbed Lamb Kebabs with Mustard Onions-street food from Dakar-Lynne
Yassa au Poulet-Love the interesting renditions of this traditional chicken dish-Eloisa
Fish Yassa-A lovely fish yassa from Marta
Sugar Cookies topped with Peanut Butter– Yummy Desserts-Resy
Carrot Coconut and Pineapple Cake-Another delicious dessert-Resy
Potato Salad Dakarois-A nice dish to go with any of the main courses above Cinzia-Cindy Star Blog
Yassa Senegal-Another delicious beef stew-Carla
Dakar Spice Rubbed Lamb Kebabs with Mustard Onions–Lynne
Thiakry-Dolce Senegalese-a light and pleasing dessert-Elena
Senegalese Seafood Gumbo-a hearty seafood stew-Lynne
Poisson Grille Senegal–a lovely Senegalese grilled fish –Carla
Senegalese Spiced Swordfish-another delightful marinated and pan fried fish dish-Terry
Exotic Salad -Senegal-A delicious shrimp and fruit salad-Lucia
Caramel Bananas-A beautiful banana dessert with caramel-Elena
Thieboudienne-Senegalese rice dish-Tamara
Bissap-a refreshing Senegalese fruit drink made with dried hibiscus flowers-Morena
Tarte du Senegal– a lovely meringue pie made with bananas, dates and nuts-Resy
Coconut Fritters-beautiful coconut fritters-Tamara
Mafé-Peanut Sauce-lovely stew with peanut sauce-Anisja
Thiakry-a light dessert with yogurt-Eloisa
Papaya Chutney-a perfect complement to roast meats-Cinzia
Rice With Coconut Milk-a delightful rice pudding-Rosa Maria
Senegalese Chicken Yassa-lovely chicken yassa served with homemade pasta-Simona
Salad Niebe-a beautiful melange of cowpeas and vegetables-Alejandro
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