Togo is one of the smallest countries in West Africa. Like other West African countries, Togo foods are a fusion of their traditional cuisine and French cuisine. Aside this external influence, the Togolese people have their traditional meals that makes them unique as a country. Whether you are planning on traveling to Togo and looking forward to trying their dishes, or you’re just a food enthusiast that loves to try new things, you would surely find this article useful.
In this article, we are going to present to you five popular foods in Togo and their recipes. There are a lot of staple foods in Togo like beans, millet, fufu, etc. However, the maize (sweet corn) stands out as their national food. It can be eaten on the cob or ground into a fine powder to make a sweet porridge. Also, meat, fish, and poultry are popular choices in Togo. If you are wondering what Togo cuisine looks like, here are five popular Togo meals and their preparation methods.
5 Popular Togolese Foods and How to Prepare Them
Akume or corn porridge is a delicious porridge made from grounded maize, fermented cassava and water. This dish has a straightforward method of preparation. Let’s dive into it!
You will need the following items:
- Maize dough (made from ground maize and water)
- Cassava dough (made from ground, fermented cassava and water)
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and place on the stove. Stir firmly with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes firm.
Looks simple? That just how it is. However, it is left for you to determine the quantity you want. And so, you have to measure the ingredients to the quantity of food you want to prepare.
2. Gboma Dessi
Gboma dessi is a traditional meal in Togo. This meal is centered around beef and spinach. The ingredients for this meal include:
- 1lb spinach
- 2lb goat meat (or whatever protein you choose), cut into large pieces.
- 3 thinly sliced onions
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoonful of minced ginger
- 2 chicken cubes
- 5 tablespoonful of palm oil
- 2 hot peppers
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- Gbotemi spice (blend of cloves, anise, ajwain, cardamom seeds roasted and ground, then mixed with ground ginger)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Get a pressure cooker, add a little oil and sauté one onion, a clove of garlic and ginger for two minutes. Add meat, salt, one chicken cube and pepper. Add little water and close the pressure cooker. Cook over high heat to build up the pressure until you hear your first whistle. Then reduce the heat and cook till meat becomes soft as you desire.
- While you are steeping your meat, wash your spinach and chop it then add it to salted boiling water over heat for 15 minutes.
- When your meat is soft enough, remove it from the pot, drain and leave in a bowl. Season the meat with Gbotemi spice and keep the broth in the pot.
- Get a saucepan and sauté two onions, two cloves of garlic with the remaining palm oil or vegetable oil. Add the tomato puree and stir regularly for 15 min. Season with dry pepper, hot pepper and one chicken cube.
- Add the broth and boil over medium heat for 20 min. Add drained spinach leaves, meat and leave to simmer for at least 15 minutes.
- Gboma dessi can be served with white rice, Ablo, or Akume.
This is another popular Togolese food you want to give a try. Djenkoume is more of a tomato cornmeal fritters. This dish is served with other dishes—you can think of it as stew for rice. It supplements other dishes. Djenkoume is prepared with garlic, ginger, onion, red palm oil, tomatoes, etc. Here is how this meal is prepared.
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoonful of freshly grated ginger
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 2 tablespoonful oil, preferably red palm oil
- 1 15 oz can chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoonful of tomato paste
- Chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegans)
- Get a pot, add the palm oil and sauté the garlic, ginger and onions over medium heat until they are soft.
- Stir in the tomatoes and the tomato paste, reduce the heat and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes. The result would be a thick sauce. Take out a cup of the tomato sauce to be used as a dipping sauce later.
- Pour in your chicken stock to the remaining tomato sauce and gradually stir in your cornmeal. Stir continuously until the mixture is smooth.
- Simmer the mixture for about 10 minutes, until nicely thickened. The cornmeal will be speckled with bits of onion and tomato.
4. Grilled Togo Chicken
This is one, out of the many chicken recipes in Togo. Grilled Togo chicken is actually one of the best chicken recipes and easy to prepare. Here is what you need to make Grilled Togo chicken:
- 10 pieces of chicken
- 2 tablespoonsful freshly grated ginger root
- 8-10 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
- 1 big onion, peeled and sliced into thick rings
- 2 tablespoonsful of red palm oil
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper
- Get a bowl and mix the ginger, garlic, red palm oil, salt, and pepper(s). This is the marinade mix.
- Put your chicken in a bowl and pour the mixture over it. Toss and rub the chicken until you are sure the seasoning is incorporated, then cover the bowl. If you have a Ziploc bag, you can add everything to it.
- Leave the chicken in the bowl for one hour or more, though, overnight is usually the best.
- Grill the chicken over medium heat, until done. Grill the onion rings towards the end so as not to burn them.
Ablo is another super delicious Togolese food. It is considered a favorite meal for a vast majority of Togolese nationals. It is a maize meal that is served with other dishes like soup, stews, vegetables and meat dishes, etc. Preparing Ablo requires the following:
- 1/4 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 cup cornflour
- 2 cups of rice flour
- 1/4 cup of white sugar
- 1 tablespoonful of salt
- 1 tablespoonful of baking powder
- A packet of active dry yeast
- Get a large saucepan—put water, cornflour and the cornmeal inside the pan. Stir well and put it on the stove to boil. Once the mixture boils, turn off the heat and bring it down to cool.
- Next, you put your yeast in a bowl with a little hot water and let it rise. Once your corn mash is cool, you add your rice four, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir thoroughly.
- Cover the pan with a clean cloth and allow the mixture to rise. This is best done at room temperature and should be left for an hour.
- After an hour, the dough would have increased in size, and have a porous texture. Put the dough in cupcake tins. When the dough is in tins, get a steamer with about ¾ water and place the tins in it. Cook for 20 minutes or until it becomes firm.
The final result has a light doughy texture that detaches easily.
There are a variety of foods eaten by the Togolese. However, we have discussed five meals in this article, which appears to be some of the popular dishes in Togo. We hope that by now, you have a clue how the foods in Togo looks like as well their preparation methods.
If you’re going to try making any of these foods, kindly note that the number of ingredients mentioned here is mainly for illustrations. You can measure your ingredients based on the quantity of food you wish to prepare.
Also, you can find these dishes in African restaurants around you!