From the Kitchen: Mbahal

Although it is commonly known in the village as “the poor man’s food,” mbahal is one of my favorite Gambian foods. I like to think of it as Gambian fried rice.

My host father loves this meal so much that he insists on eating it with his hand rather than using a spoon as men traditionally do. My sisters love making this dish because it is so simple. It is a win-win for everyone, so we eat it quite a lot at our house. Because we are Jolas, we refer to this meal as “yankatang,” but it is more widely known by the Wolof word, “mbahal.”

First, while steaming the rice, pound all your ingredients into a paste.

Hot peppers


Locust beans


Green onions


Red onions (I’m sure whichever type of onion is in season will do.)


And dried fish


Then, add the mixture you have mashed to finely ground peanuts.


Steam these ingredients for about ten minutes. Boil rice. When the rice is finished cooking, mix in the goods, top with bitter tomato and enjoy!