Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Gambia day 5: Gambian cooking lessons
Gambian cooking lessons with Ida Cham
The majority of my last day in The Gambia was filled with Gambian cooking lessons.
First, our cooking host took us back to the Tanji Fishing Market to buy all the necessary ingredients. As you may remember from my previous post, the Tanji Fishing Market is the place where you can watch the fresh catch of the day being hauled to shore and sold immediately in plastic buckets on the beach.
Some of the things we bought were jandori fish, bissap, okra, peppercorn, onion, tomatoes, chili, garlic, lime, cassava, African eggplant, papaya, sweet potato, and rice. We would later use these to make Benachin, a rice dish typical for The Gambia and Senegal.
Back from the Tanji Fishing Market, our host Ida Cham put everyone to work, but not before making us dress up in African outfits. First we cut the vegetables. Then Ida showed us how to use each ingredient to make Benachin with traditional Gambian cooking ware.
Benachin took several hours to make, and we killed time by playing the game Wri. At home, I would probably never have enough patience, though I have to admit that the heavenly taste is worth the effort. I particularly loved how the papaya, cassava, sweet potato, and African eggplant mingled with the rest of the dish.
If you ever want to follow one of Ida Cham’s Gambian cooking lessons, then be sure to book in advance, because Ida’s courses are almost always complete.
After our Gambian cooking lessons with Ida Cham we visited Ngala Lodge. Owned by a Dutchman, Ngala Lodge is known as the very best place to eat in The Gambia. However, with our stomachs full of Benachin, it was impossible to put that to the test.
Children are not allowed in this stunning resort. It's all about romance and tranquility. No wonder it has been awarded the TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice Award as the fourth most romantic hotel in Africa.
By the way, did you know Ngala Lodge has a room that’s entirely dedicated to the Rolling Stones? If you’re a fan, you know where to plan your next stay.
As the plane back to Belgium was only around 9 pm, we still had a few hours left to enjoy the sun. So I took my laptop to the sun lounger near the swimming pool of our hotel Coconut Residence and worked a few hours from there. The end of a beautiful adventure.
Disclaimer: I visited The Gambia as a guest of The Gambia Tourism Board, Coconut Residence, and SN Brussels Airlines. The opinions are my own.