The Benachin, the typical dish of the Gambia, is the Gambian paella from West Africa. In Gambia, the rice dish known as Benachín is cooked in a similar way to Valencian paella. For this reason, some people call it the ‘Gambian paella’.
Rice is a basic cereal in the country’s gastronomy. Other cereals are also consumed, such as millet, corn, oats, wheat and sorghum. Except for rice, the rest of the cereals that are consumed in the country are milled to be cooked as couscous.
Rice is very nutritious and is an immediate source of energy because of its abundance in carbohydrates. In addition, rice is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals such as niacin, vitamin D, calcium, fiber, iron, thiamin and riboflavin.
There are two types of rice for cooking: long rice and broken rice.
Benachin, the typical dish of Gambia and Senegal
One of the typical dishes of both the Gambia and Senegal is BENACHIN. In Senegal it is known as CHEB or CHEBUJEN (rice with fish).
Benachin means ‘one cooking pot’ (BENA is one and CHIN is one cooking pot in Wolof language).
It is prepared with broken rice and served dry, as a ‘paella’ in the Gambian style.
There are two types of Benachin: white or red, with tomato. To the rice is added the vegetables and meat or fish.
Vegetables such as carrot, pumpkin, cassava, chili peppers at least
The meat can be chicken, cattle meat, goat or lamb.
If you add fish, it can be all kinds of fish. In the Gambia, fishing takes place in all the towns or villages of the Atlantic Coast and also in the River Gambia. Fish is present in most meals of the day.
The Benachin is a delicious dish … and very nutritious.
Rice is cultivated in the Gambia, but the production is not enough for the demand of consumption. Rice is grown in swampy areas and or near the river side. It is also imported from China, Brazil, India or Thailand to supply all the demand in the Gambia
In the Gambia, every day you eat rice, once or twice a day.
Besides Benachin, there are other delicious rice dishes are cooked, such as Yassa, Plaza, Domada and Mbajal etc.
The secret of cooking in the Gambia, the smiling coast of Africa?
Cooking with firewood. Slow fire.