The cuisine of Mali, located on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert, consists mainly of millet, corn, or rice porridges served with a variety of "sauces," or stews. These sauces can be made with peanuts, okra, baobab leaves or sweet potato leaves. Meats and vegetables are added to the sauces, which are then served over porridge, couscous or rice.
Malinese Cuisine: A Background
Beef, lamb, chicken, and fresh or smoked fish are all popular in Mali. Common vegetables are onions, tomatoes, eggplant, plantains and yams. West African dishes like poulet yassa and foutou are eaten in Mali too. Mangoes, bananas, lemons and watermelon finish off meals with a sweet touch.
All meals in Mali are prepared by women. And food is eaten with the right hand. Eating with the left hand is considered highly improper in this mostly Muslim nation. Meals are often finished with strong, sweet tea. Tea service in Mali, as in many countries, is a highly ritualized affair. Three rounds are served: the first for life, the second for love, the third for death.
Typical Malinese Dishes
Try these recipes from Mali.
(Senegalese chicken with onions and lemon)
(North African steamed pasta grains)
(Malinese sesame-honey sweet)
(Malian mashed plantains; see Fufu recipe notes)
(West African meat in peanut sauce; see Mafé recipe)
(Malian mashed yams; see Fufu recipe notes)