World Cooking – The Gambia

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: The Gambia
Progress: 7/193

When you look at a map of Africa, it’s hard to not think of The Gambia as being a bit of a geographical oddity. Not only is it the smallest country on the main African landmass, but it also bordered on three sides by Senegal and is solely made up of the land bordering the Gambia river. It is also a small area of English in an area of Africa that is predominantly French – a hangover of colonial times.

The food of The Gambia shares a lot in common with its West African neighbours, which made choosing a representative dish slightly difficult. At some point I will need to make Jolof rice, as multiple countries in this region list these as amongst their national dishes, but today I will be making another of these big West African dishes: peanut soup. Well, peanut soup – Gambian style.

Main: Domoda 

Domoda is the Gambian regional version of West African peanut stew – with the use of tomato and chunks of starchy vegetables (in my version, sweet potato) differentiating this from the other recipes. For today’s dish I followed the domoda recipe from The Daring Gourmet with the only difference being that I used Kallo tomato stock cubes instead of Maggi ones (as I could not find those anywhere).

Honestly, I have made peanut soup before and I really did not like it. This was years ago, but the thought stayed with me as I was making this dish. Then again, this was a long time ago and I have learned a lot about cooking since then – also I used proper all natural non-sweetened peanut butter to make this, which makes the world of difference.

I guess this is all a preface to my saying that I absolutely loved this dish. Everything just works in this soup and it’s all down to variation in texture. If all the incredients had been blended together, like with a lot of other soups, it would have still tasted good but it would have been a bit boring to eat. However, the chunks of beef and sweet potato, as well as the grains of rice and the small fragments of peanut, kept things interesting.

It is also remarkable to see how much the flavour of this soup deepened before and after it was simmered for around an hour. The savouriness of the tomato really came through as a good base for the peanut butter and helped to make this a very moreish soup. I can only imagine how much better this is going to be when I heat it up again tomorrow, not only will this become more concentrated but the ingredients will have also had a further 24 hours to get to know each other.

I know that I am only seven countries in, but already this is fast becoming one of my favourite challenges on this blog. Next time I am going to be heading back to Asia – still not sure where, but it’s likely to be Central or South Asian. I guess I’ll just see what recipes take my fancy as I research.

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