I can honestly say the only thing I knew about this country prior to this was that it was in Africa. Now I know exactly where it is Africa and the kind of food that is eaten there.
Sierra Leone is a country located on the west coast of Africa, bordered by Guinea to its North and East and Liberia to its South.
I had absolutely no idea what kind of food they eat in Sierra Leone and I love when I discover new things.
We really enjoyed the flavours of Sierra Leone, everything I made was delicious.
They do love rice with their meals, which is great here as their dishes really do suit rice as a side. I really enjoy peanut butter, so their use of it in dishes give me a satay vibe.
Here is what I made:
Party Fish Balls
Granat Soup or Peanut Soup
There are a few other things I want to make from Sierra Leone, I will add them when I do.
If the recipe is not written down below, click on the name of the recipe, it is a link that will take you to the recipe.
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
450g chicken thigh fillets, cut into small chunks
1 onion, diced
2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed
170g tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
½ teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon curry powder, optional
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 red or green capsicum, diced
1-2 bay leaves
3 cups chicken stock
Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve
In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook until browned on the outside, about 5 minutes, stirring a couple times. Remove the chicken and set aside.
In the same pan, add the onions with the remaining olive oil and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the rice on top of the cooked onions along with tomato paste, remaining salt and pepper, thyme, ginger and chilli powder, stir to combine until the rice is red in colour and lightly toasted.
Add the diced tomatoes and capsicum along with the bay leaves. Return the cooked chicken to the pan along with the stock.
Mix all the ingredients together, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes, until rice is fully cooked. Remove from heat and allow the steam to continue cooking the rice for 5-10 minutes more.
Fluff the rice, sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve warm.
You make your own breadcrumbs here using a soft ciabatta style bread, I used the one from the Coles bakery. If you can't get that, any Turkish style bread will work great to. Now the fun part, which is optional, once you slice the bread you colour four of the slices with dots of food colouring, one slice red, one yellow, one green and one blue, then you bake them as per recipe. Once it's dried enough, you blitz them and you get lovely coloured specks of crumbs. You can use panko crumbs if you prefer, but don't colour them.
The original recipe I halved, so feel free to double it if you want.
750g ling fillets or any white fish fillet of your choice
1 medium sized potato
1/2 medium sized brown onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon chicken stock powder
red, yellow, green, blue food colouring
1/2 tablespoon milk
1 cup plain flour
sunflower oil, for frying
To make the bread crumbs, cut the Turkish bread into 2cm pieces, add food colour to four of the slices, one slice red, one slice blue, one slice green and one slice yellow. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray and bake in a preheated 150C/130C fan forced oven for 25 minutes or until its golden and crunchy. Break into pieces and place in a food processor and blitz until you have coloured crumbs.
Boil the whole potato in salted water until cooked, once cooled slightly, peel.
Cut the fish into pieces and steam or boil for about 10 minutes until cooked through, it needs to flake, drain all liquid.
Transfer the fish into a large bowl and leave it to cool for 10 minutes. Now add onion, garlic powder, chicken stock powder, chilli powder, potatoes, black pepper and salt to taste. Using a fork, smash the potato, then mix it all through.
Now in a medium sixed bowl, beat the eggs and milk well to combine.
Spread plain flour on a large plate and the breadcrumbs on another plate.
Gently roll the fish balls first in flour, then into the egg wash, then into the breadcrumbs.
Deep fry in sunflower oil. Drain on paper towel and serve.
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
2 large onions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
85g tomato paste
1 sweet potato, chopped, bite sized
6 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large handful baby spinach leaves
225g shredded chicken, optional
Cooked rice, to serve
Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot. Add onions and ginger, and cook, stirring, occasionally, for 5-10 minutes until the onions are very soft and translucent, but not browned.
Add tomato paste and mix with the onions until they are well coated. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot, season with salt and cayenne pepper, and mix well to combine.
Pour the vegetable stock into the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are cooked.
Stir in the peanut butter until it’s well blended with the mixture. Add spinach and chicken, if using, and stir to combine.
Serve immediately over white rice.
1 x 1.6kg whole chicken, back bone, removed, butterflied
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 x scotch bonnet chillies, halved, seeds removed
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt, to taste
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 chicken stock cube
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
Add onion, chillies, tomatoes, salt, pepper, stock cube, lime juice, tomato, paste, peanut butter and oil in a food processor, blitz until pureed.
Place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray with a rim. Place the butterflied chicken onto the tray.
Pour the pureed paste over the chicken (Make sure you cover the top of the whole chicken). Rest it for an hour, on your kitchen benchtop.
Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan forced.
If there is a lot of liquid on your tray from the marinade, pour off the clear excess liquid, not the thick marinade.
Place the chicken in the oven, roast for 45-50 minutes, remove from oven when the chicken is cooked through and the marinade is starting to colour, leave to stand for 10 minutes.
Cut up the chicken and serve with a salad.
2 tablespoons peanut oil
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (bite sized pieces)
1 x 400g tin black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
1 fresh scotch bonnet chilli, halved, deseeded
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
500ml vegetable stock
125g natural smooth peanut butter
200g baby spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
A handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the paste:
2 onions, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Thumb sized piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon fenugreek
½-1 fresh red scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Note: I used black beans instead of black eyed peas, as I misread the recipe, it worked just fine
You will need: a food processor and a large, heavy-based saucepan or shallow frying pan. I used a frying pan with a lid.
Place all the paste ingredients in a food processor and blitz into a coarse paste.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil in a large, heavy based saucepan or shallow frying pan. Add the paste and sauté over a medium–low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a little more oil if the paste starts to stick to the pan.
Add the sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas, Scotch bonnet chilli (if using – see introduction) and tomato purée and mix to combine. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock, add the peanut butter, season with salt and pepper and stir in well. Cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, it will stick and burn if you don’t stir it.
Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach, leaving it to wilt in the pan for 5 minutes. To finish, add the lemon juice, coriander, spring onions and sliced chillies and check the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve with rice, and coleslaw or a fresh green salad.
500g ginger, peeled
1 cup sugar
8 cups water
juice of 2 limes
juice of 1 lemon
4-5 whole cloves
Add water and sugar to a large bowl, stir to dissolve the sugar. Thinly slice and julienne the ginger and add the bowl, add the lime and lemon juice and the cloves.
Cover, leave 1 hour for the flavours to infuse. If too sweet, add more water, if you want it sweeter, add more sugar.
Strain through a fine sieve into bottles. Refrigerate until needed.
Serve in a large glass filled with ice cubes.