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A book of simple recipes prepared in West Africa

Timo Larusch Pollier


In this cookbook you will learn how to make

nutritious food with local crops from Ivory Coast.
You will also find tips on what would be the better
choice in preparing and cooking the ingredients, as
well as an index of nutrient facts for each of the
main ingredients used in the recipes presented.

Recipes are freely adapted from original recipes from
Nutrient and other facts are drawn from Wikipedia information and other varied internet sources.

Cover picture - If you have ever seen pictures of African women pounding a large mortar and pestle in
a steady rhythm, they are probably making foufou!


Table of contents

Foufou banana
Oven backed sweet potato fries
Fluffy millet
Peanut and black rice salad with mango
West African peanut soup
Koki Corn
Chocolate fondue with caramelized plantains

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Nutrient and other facts about:

Sweet potato


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Ingredients for 4 persons:

4 bananas plantains
1 manioc (cassava)
2 table spoons red oil


Peel the cassava and the bananas and place them in a large pot, cover with cold and
salty water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Boil for 30 minutes, or until the cassava are cooked through and tender. Drain and let
cool somewhat.
Chop them into large pieces and place them into a mortar and pestle in a steady
rhythm until very smooth, regularly adding the bananas.
Add the oil, and some salt.
Place the Foufou into a large serving bowl. Wet your hands with clean and boiled
water, form into a large ball and serve.


Foufou is made with a wide variety of starches. White

yams are most popular in West Africa, sometimes
mixed with plantains. Other options are sweet potatoes
or semolina and ground rice. A variety of flours (rice,
plantain) can also be boiled with water to form a
starchy mass



Ingredients for 4 persons:
2 pounds sweet potatoes, about 3 large ones
1/4 cup olive or other vegetable oil
1-2 table spoons sugar



Preheat oven to 450F

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut off the ends. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and
each piece into wedges.
Put the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and add the oil. Mix well to combine.
Sprinkle with salt, sugar and spices of your choice
Spread the sweet potatoes out in a single layer on a baking sheet
Bake for a total of 25 to 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, remove the baking
sheet from the oven and turn over all of the sweet potato pieces. Return to the oven
and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until they are well browned. Let cool for 5
minutes before serving.


The baking times are approximate; it depends on how

thick you cut the wedges or rounds of sweet potatoes.
Try to cut them evenly so they all cook at about the
same rate. For best browning results bake only one
sheet at a time.


Ingredients for 4 cups:

1 cup raw millet

2 cups water
teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter


Toast millet: In a large, dry saucepan, toast the raw millet over medium heat for 4-5
minutes or until it turns a rich golden brown and the grains become fragrant.
Add the water (clean and boiled) and salt to the pan. Give the millet a good stir and
bring the liquid to a boil.
Decrease the heat to low, drop in the butter and cover the pot. Simmer until the
grains absorb most of the water, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and let stand.
After millet sits, fluff it with a fork and serve. Millet does not keep well and is best
served warm.


It is not necessary or beneficial to rinse millet.

Sometimes you'll see little black pebble-like bits in
your millet, and these are simply the unhulled grain.
Just pick them out and continue on. Avoid the
temptation to peek a great deal or stir too much:
stirring too vigorously will break up the grains and
change the texture.


Ingredients for 4 persons:

1 cup raw brown millet

2 cups soy yoghurt
1 box of almond milk

1. Pour about half of the millet in a medium


sized bowl.
Put on some water to boil in a pot on high heat
Pour the hot water over the millet until it covers the top of the millet about 1/4 of
the way, do not put too much water.
Cover the bowl with aluminum foil or with a pot cover so that there is no opening
and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
Take a fork, fluff out the millet and pour some almond milk in the bowl until the
millet becomes dampened, cover it again for 2-5 minutes, fluff it out again and let it
cool down.
When cold, put it into your individual bowls and add some more almond milk until
it covers the millet about 3/4 of the way, and then add your yogourt as well and


You can add some agave syrup to your taste. Serve

cold if possible. This dish is usually served as a
dessert but can also be served as a breakfast cereal.
Like most grains, millet needs a little time off the heat
to fully absorb the liquid. Allow it to sit, covered and
removed from heat, for 10 minutes



Ingredients for 4 persons

1 cup black rice, well rinsed and soaked in

clean cold water for 20 minutes
2 table spoon oil
2 small red chillies, finely chopped
6 spring onions, finely sliced
cup dry roasted peanuts, roughly
2 small, just-ripe mangoes
Juice of 1 lime
1 table spoon chopped coriander leaves
Salt and black pepper



Peel and de-stone the mangoes and cut into inch chunks
Cook the rice in salted water for around 18-20 minutes until just tender, then
drain well and transfer to a bowl.
Spoon the oil over the rice and stir in along with the chilli, onions and the peanuts.
Mix half the mango through the rice and reserve half.
Season the rice with the lime and top with the remaining mango and the fresh


Black rice is being proposed because of the nice contrast of colors

with the mangoes and chilies, but other type of more common rice
can be used as well.
Chilli peppers are loved in West Africa, both in fresh or dried and
powdered form, and it is said that the sweating induced by the
spicy heat of chilli helps to air-condition your skin.


Ingredients for 4 persons

2 table spoon oil

1 onion, diced, 2 garlic cloves, chopped
inch of fresh ginger, diced
Chilli flakes
2 sweet potatoes, peeles and chopped
4 chopped tomatoes
300 ml chicken stock
3 table spoon peanut butter
1 table spoon chopped coriander leaves
Salt and pepper, Juice of lime



Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until soft. Add the garlic, ginger
and chilli and stir well
Add the sweet potatoes, the tomatoes and stock, and cook gently for about 10
minutes, until the sweet potato is soft
Spoon the peanut butter into a small bowl, stir in enough of the soup broth to make a
smooth cream and then add to the soup
Using a mortar, puree some of the potato.
Season with salt, pepper and lime juice, sprinkle with some coriander and serve.


Peanuts are used in the soups and stews of West Africa. There
are recipes with smoked fish, chicken or beef. This lightly
spiced version with sweet potato makes for a delicious supper
dish. Be sure to use unsweetened, organic peanut butter that
has no additives, or alternatively grind your own roasted
peanuts and add a good pinch of salt.

Ingredients for 4 persons

5 ears fresh corn

1 cup water
1 cup cornmeal
3 cups spinach
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoon palm oil
Aluminum and plantain leaves


Remove husk from corn and cut the kernels from the cob from top to bottom
Ground the corn with 1 cup of clean water, using a mortar or a blender.
In a bowl combine the mixture with cornmeal, salt and palm oil.
Add the chopped spinach and set aside
Cut the banana leaves into rectangles, submerge them in water and drain pat- dry.
Then, cut the aluminum into large squares/rectangles and place a piece of the leaf on
it. Repeat the process with each leaf and set them aside
Place 1 cup of Koki-corn mixture on the leaf, quickly fold aluminum over it, and
press sides into a rectangle shape
Place the Koki corn in the pot with reserved cobs.
Line the bottom of a large stock pot with reserved cobs. Add enough water to almost
but not quite submerge the cobs and steam the cobs covered with aluminum foil.


The banana leaves must be heated and wilted over an open high
flame to make them flexible. Use saran wrap if banana leaves are
not available.
The Koki corn should not come in contact with the water so they
dont get soggy.


Chocolate soup with caramelized plantains

Ingredients for 4 persons

2 large plantains bananas, peeled and diced

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 cups whole milk
10 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and sprinkle the sugar into the pan.
2. As soon as you see the sugar begin to melt, start moving the pan over the burner to
keep the sugar from burning.
3. Cook until all of the sugar is a light golden brown and add the diced banana and the
butter, continue to cook until the bananas are soft but not mushy and set aside
4. Boil the milk over medium-high heat and add the chopped chocolate and stir until well
combined and the chocolate has melted.
5. Place one large spoonful of the caramelized bananas in the bottom of each soup bowl
and cover the bananas with the hot soup, let it cool down and serve.


You can use other fruits such as ananas or mango. You can also
add some (not much!) alcohol to macerate the fruit make sure
the alcohol evaporates when preparing the caramel.
When you cut chocolate, start at one corner and always cut it on
an angle, it will be easier and safer.

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Nutrient and other facts about cassava

Cassava roots are very rich in starch and are essentially a
carbohydrate source. The roots are rich in calcium and
vitamin C.
Cassava root is a poor source of protein. Despite the very low
quantity, the quality of cassava root protein is fairly good in
terms of essential amino acids.
Cassava is attractive as nutrition source in certain ecosystems
because cassava is one of the most drought-tolerant crops,
can be successfully grown on marginal soils, and gives
reasonable yields where many other crops do not grow well.
Cassava, like other foods, also has antinutritional and toxic factors. The presence of cyanide
in cassava is of concern for human and for animal consumption. The concentration of these
cyanide varies considerably between varieties and also with climatic and cultural
conditions. Selection of cassava species to be grown, therefore, is quite important. Once
harvested, bitter cassava must be treated and prepared properly prior to human or animal
consumption, while sweet cassava can be used after simple boiling.
Cassava roots, peels and leaves should not be consumed raw because they are too toxic.

A woman washes cassava in a river.

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Nutrient and other facts about plantains

Plantains are a starchy, unsweet variety of banana that is inedible raw and must be cooked
before eating. Most are larger and slightly more angular in shape than sweet bananas.
They can be green, yellow, pink or very dark in color depending on their variety and
Plantains fruit all year round, which
makes the crop a reliable all-season
staple food, particularly in developing
countries with inadequate food
storage, preservation and
transportation technologies.
In Africa, plantains and bananas provide more than 25 percent of the carbohydrate
requirements for over 70 million people.
Plantain leaves can exceed two meters in length. They are similar to banana leaves, but are
larger and stronger, thus reducing waste in cooking.
Plantain is a carbohydrate source. Its utilizable protein content as percentage of calorie
ingestion is higher than cassava, but is much lower than other staples such as maize, rice,
and wheat. On per gram consumed basis, plantain's essential amino acid concentrations are
very low, even lower than cassava. An average plantain has about 220 calories and is a
good source of potassium and dietary fiber.
Plantain contains very little beta-carotene. The vitamin C content of plantain is very similar
to those of sweet potato, cassava and potato, but the concentration may vary with the crop,
maturity at harvest, soil, and farming conditions

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Nutrient and other facts about sweet potato

Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The sweet potato is
only distantly related to the potato and does not belong to the same family.
The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges
between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige.
They grow well in many farming conditions and
have few natural enemies; pesticides are rarely
needed. They can be grown in poor soils with
little fertilizer.
Besides simple starches, raw sweet potatoes are
rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber and
beta-carotene, while having moderate contents
of other micronutrients, including vitamin B5,
B6 and manganese.
When cooked by baking, small variable changes in micronutrient density occur to include a
higher content of vitamin C.
Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta-carotene than those with
light-colored flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa where
vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem.

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Nutrient and other facts about millet

Pearl millet is one of the major crops in the semiarid, impoverished, less fertile agriculture
regions of Africa. They are adapted to poor, droughty, and infertile soils. Millets are a major
food sources and feature in the traditional cuisine of many African countries, savory as
main dish or sweet as dessert.
Millets are predominantly starchy. The
protein content is comparable to that of
wheat, both provide about 11% protein by
weight, on a dry matter basis. Pearl and little
millet are higher in fat, while finger millet
contains the lowest fat. Millets are also
relatively rich in iron and phosphorus. The
bran layers of millets are good sources of Bcomplex vitamins.
However, millets also feature high fiber content and poor digestibility of nutrients, which
severely limit their value in nutrition and influence their consumer acceptability.
Various peoples in Africa brew a drink from millet or sorghum known as ajono, a
traditional brew of the Teso. The fermented millet is prepared in a large pot with hot water
and people share the drink by sipping it through long straws.

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Nutrient and other facts about peanut

Peanuts grow well in Ivory Coast. Peanuts can be eaten raw, used in recipes, made into oils,
textile materials, and peanut butter, as well as many other uses. Popular confections made
from peanuts include salted peanuts, peanut butter and shelled nuts, plain or roasted).
Salted peanuts are usually roasted in oil and
packed in retail-size plastic bags or
hermetically sealed cans. Dry roasted salted
peanuts are also marketed in significant
quantities. Peanuts are often a major
ingredient in mixed nuts because of their
relative cost compared to Brazil nuts, cashews,
walnuts, and others. Peanut butter has been a
tradition on camping trips and the home due
to its high protein content and resists
Peanuts are high-protein (25% protein per 100 g serving), high-energy (570 calories per
100g serving) and high-nutrient (excellent source of several B vitamins, vitamin E and
several minerals, such as manganese and magnesium).
Peanuts can be used like other legumes and grains to make a lactose free milk-like
beverage, peanut milk. Peanut milk is promoted in Africa as a way to reduce malnutrition
among children.

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Nutrient and other facts about corn (Maize)

The importance of sufficient soil moisture is shown in many parts of Africa, where periodic
drought regularly causes maize crop failure and consequent famine.
Introduced into Africa by the Portuguese in the
16th century, maize has become Africa's most
important staple food crop. Maize meal is also
used as a replacement for wheat flour, to make
cornbread and other baked products.
Maize is a major source of starch. Maize flour is
a major ingredient in home cooking and in
many industrialized food products. Maize is
also a major source of cooking oil (corn oil)
and of maize gluten. In a 100 g serving, maize
kernels provide 86 calories and are a good
source of the B vitamins and folate.
Maize is the subject of genetic engineering research to improve levels of carotenoids, such
as provitamin A and beta-carotene.

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Nutrient and other facts about chocolate

Chocolate is a typically sweet, usually brown, food preparation of cacao seeds, roasted and
ground, often flavored, as with vanilla. It is made in the form of a liquid, paste, or in a
block or used as a flavoring ingredient in other sweet foods.
Much of the chocolate consumed today is in
the form of sweet chocolate, a combination of
cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and
sugar. Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that
additionally contains milk powder or
condensed milk. White chocolate contains
cocoa butter, sugar, and milk, but no cocoa
Cocoa solids are one of the richest sources of
flavanol antioxidants. Cocoa or dark chocolate
may positively affect the circulatory system. There is some evidence that eating chocolate
can help reduce the risk of certain cardiovascular problems and also reduce blood pressure
in adults.
Although cocoa originated in the Americas, today Western Africa produces almost twothirds of the world's cocoa, with Ivory Coast growing almost half of it.

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