This November, we headed to Alliance Franaise for two Senegalese dinners with Chef Cheikh Ndiaye. We sampled popular Senegalese street foods (like fataya and dibs) and new (to us) ingredients such as folio and buoye.
Juice from the soft, whitish pulp of the fruit of the Baobab tree. This milky superfood is packed with nutrients, including calcium, fiber, and vitamin C. Gluten-Free
Fonio (Digitaria exilis) is an ancient grain that grows in small pockets throughout West Africa. Also known as “hungry rice,” fonio is the smallest grain in the millet family. It's gluten-free and considered a super food. Cheikh will toss his fonio with diced cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and fresh parsley and top it with a citrus vinaigrette. Vegan & Gluten-Free
Also called pastels, fataya are little packets of fried dough that can be stuffed with a variety of fillings. They are a popular afternoon street snack in Senegal. Cheikh will stuff his crispy pastry shells with spiced ground beef. A homemade relish of pickled vegetables will add a little acidity to the dish. Vegan Substitute: Lentil Fataya. Gluten-free versions available on request.
The national drink of Senegal, bissap is refreshing iced tea made from hibiscus flowers and a hint of mint. Its floral fragrance has a slight tang with citrus undertones. Vegan & Gluten-Free
Lamb and Chicken Dibi
Dibi is a favorite street food. Vendors grill the meats and serve them on a butcher paper to catch the drippings and seal the flavors. Chargrilled marinated lamb and chicken coated in a tangy mustard-onion sauce. Served with a side of jasmine rice and a relish of caramelized onions, stuffed olives, chickpeas and carrots. Gluten-Free. Vegan Substitute: Grilled Portobello Mushrooms and Root Vegetables in an Onion-Mustard Sauce.
Thiakry (pronounced cha-kree) is a sweet millet yogurt porridge popular in West Africa reminiscent of rice pudding. Cheikh serves his thiakry with raisins. Vegan version available. Gluten free.