We recently attended the end-of-the-year gala for the local college’s African Student Association, which was a delightful banquet full of delicious dishes from all around Africa: jollof rice, moi moi, plantains, injera, beef tibs, samosas and more. However, there were no African desserts. That got us to thinking – what would be a good African dessert to add in the future? That’s when we first heard about Thiakry (aka Dégué) – a sweet couscous-like dish with origins in West Africa. Both titles refer to the millet grain used in the dish itself, which is called Thiakry in Senegal, or Dégué in the rest of West Africa. The grain used in Thiakry can be millet or if that is not available, wheat, which is then mixed with dairy, dried fruit, vanilla and spices like nutmeg or cinnamon. The final texture is similar to rice pudding. You can check out the following recipes for varieties of Degue/Thiakry: Yummy Medley, Food World, and Salwa Petersen. You can buy Degue/Millet in most African markets, or in various shops online. This is a dish that is open to experimentation and customization – so you can add pretty much anything you want – as in this modern take on the recipe from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (seen below).
When we set out to New Orleans we were excited to stuff ourselves with as much Cajun and Creole food as possible (which we did), but we are always open to a good international meal, no matter where we are. Little did we know that we would get an authentic taste of Africa right in the middle of New Orleans, and actually gain a new country in the process – Gambia! Turns out New Orleans is home to a stalwart African restaurant with roots in both Gambia and Cameroon – Bennachin (1212 Royal St, New Orleans, LA 70116).
Over the weekend M made a new friend, Whitney, who spent a good chunk of last year as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Gambia. Reading her blog today, we came across her review of an apparent Banjul lunch gem: Omar’s Peace Corps Kitchen. Whitney says
Omar is a talented cook who has been friends with PC for years. His little rocket ship-shaped hut is just down the street from our offices, so its a great lunch spot, plus he’s open to learning new foods for volunteers, such as quasadillas or philly cheese steak sandwiches. He caters a lot of PC training events and makes a mean ginger chicken.
Wait just a minute: we can feast on both West African ginger chicken AND Philly cheese steaks from the same place, while chatting with an apparently good-natured chef to boot?! Omar, looks like a trip to Banjul is in order!
Source: Whitney in Gambia