Sierra Leonean cuisine

The location of Sierra Leone.
Unprocessed cassava root
Stir-fried okra

This article documents the cuisine of Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa.


The most commonly eaten food in Sierra Leone is rice, which is typically served as part of every meal eaten,[1] and is considered so ubiquitous that many Sierra Leonians consider that a meal is not complete without it.[2] Another popular staple food is cassava, which is pounded to make fufu;[1] the leaves of the cassava are formed into a green stew.[2] Palm oil and peanuts are also widely eaten,[2] 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.[1]

Commonly eaten meats include goats, chickens and beef, and there are also a number of dishes using pork as an added ingredient, for example pig trotter soup.[3] The practice of flavouring dishes with pork products likely originates from Sierra Leone's history as a country for repatriation of freed slaves from the Americas and West Indies.[3]


Stews are a fundamental part of Sierra Leone's cuisine, with groundnut stew having been called the country's national dish.[4] Groundnut Stew consists of chicken and vegetables that are flavoured with ground nuts, such as cashews and peanuts. This is often served to families as a large meal.

Cassava leaves

Cassava leaves are an important cooking ingredient in Sierra Leone and considered the primary cash crop and staple crop,[5] especially within the Sherbro people.[4] In order to prepare them, 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 is used instead of palm oil.[6]

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.[7]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Albala 2011, p. 162.
  2. 1 2 3 LeVert 2007, p. 129.
  3. 1 2 Albala 2011, p. 164.
  4. 1 2 Osseo-Asare, Fran (2005), Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 32, ISBN 0-313-32488-3
  5. "Cassava". SLCBO. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  6. Osseo-Asare, Fran (2005), Food Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 33, ISBN 0-313-32488-3
  7. Massaquoi, Rachel C.J. (2011). Foods of Sierra Leone and Other West African Countries: A Cookbook. AuthorHouse. p. 152. ISBN 9781449081546.

Cited works

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