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Sierra Leonean cuisine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sierra Leonean cuisine consists of the cooking traditions and practices from Sierra Leone. It follows the traditions of other West African cuisines. The country has 16 tribal ethnic groups.[1]


Unprocessed cassava root

The most commonly eaten food in Sierra Leone is rice, which is typically served as part of every meal eaten,[2] and is considered so ubiquitous that many Sierra Leoneans consider that a meal is not complete without it.[3] Another popular staple food is cassava, which is pounded to make fufu;[2] the leaves of the cassava are formed into a green stew.[3]

Palm oil and peanuts are also widely eaten,[3] and while yams are found in Sierra Leone, they are not a mainstay of the diet as they are in other parts of West Africa.[2] Other staples in the Sierra Leonean diet are bananas, cinnamon, coconut, ginger, okra, plantains and tamarind.

Commonly eaten meats include goat, chicken and beef, and there are also a number of dishes using pork as an added ingredient.[4]

Oranges, bananas, papayas, lemons, avocados, guava, watermelons, mangoes, and pineapples are fruits commonly eaten by Sierra Leoneans.[5]

Popular starches in the country's cuisine include, but are not limited to -


Stir-fried okra

Stews are a fundamental part of Sierra Leone's cuisine, with cassava leaves having been called the country's national dish.[6] Stew is often served with jollof rice, white rice or snacks such as plantain, akara, yam or cassava. Groundnut stew, also called peanut stew or peanut soup, often has chicken and vegetables included.[7] This is often served to families as a large meal.[citation needed]

Cassava leaves[edit]

Cassava leaves are an important cooking ingredient in Sierra Leone and considered the primary staple food.[6] In preparation, the tenderest cassava leaves are washed, then either pounded very finely or bruised with a pestle and mortar, and then finely shredded before cooking. The leaves are added to palaver sauce, which is made using red palm oil mixed with other ingredients, such as onions, pepper, fish, meat, and vegetables to create a stew. The stew is a favorite among Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad. To give the dish a more exquisite taste, coconut oil may be used instead of palm oil.[8]


GT Ginger Beer

Ginger beer is typically a homemade non-alcoholic beverage, made out of pure ginger, and sweetened with sugar to taste. Cloves and lime juice are sometimes added for flavor.[9]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "A gourmet revival of Sierra Leone's bold flavours".
  2. ^ a b c Albala 2011, p. 162.
  3. ^ a b c LeVert 2007, p. 129.
  4. ^ Albala 2011, p. 164.
  5. ^ "Cuisine and Etiquette in Sierra Leone".
  6. ^ a b Osseo-Asare, Fran (2005), Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 32, ISBN 0-313-32488-3
  7. ^ "West Africa | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2020-05-26.
  8. ^ Osseo-Asare, Fran (2005), Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 33, ISBN 0-313-32488-3
  9. ^ Massaquoi, Rachel C.J. (2011). Foods of Sierra Leone and Other West African Countries: A Cookbook. AuthorHouse. p. 152. ISBN 9781449081546.
  10. ^ "Food and drink in Sierra Leone".

Cited works[edit]

External links[edit]