Join twowildtides on the country challenge. Each week, we’re going to be heading to a new country (in spirit). Primarily, we’ll be cooking a meal from each country; but we’ll also be watching travel documentaries, reading travel blogs, and listening to music. During the global pandemic, travel is largely inaccessible. We want to reignite our wanderlust, satisfy our travel bug as much as we can, and learn some new things along the way. I have a feeling our bucket list will have a number of items added to it through this experience as well. We created a simple alphabetical spreadsheet with all the countries of the world, and each week we will draw a random number that corresponds with a country on the spreadsheet.
Gambia, officially ‘The Gambia’ or ‘Republic of The Gambia’, is the smallest country in mainland Africa and is the country we visited this week. Geographically, it is completely surrounded by Senegal, except for its small strip of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The Gambia is a poor country, mainly known for its peanut/groundnut production and export industry. The Gambia is a relatively popular tourist destination as it has gorgeous beaches, great cultural experiences, a fairly low crime rate, and friendly locals. Check out this article about backpacking in the Gambia:
Throughout this challenge, we have made a few peanut-based dishes from African countries and they have not been big hits. We find the peanut butter too rich and it tends to dominate other flavours. When we saw that most of the recipes for Gambian cuisine involved peanuts (and that peanuts are the main export of The Gambia) we decided to choose something where peanut butter was a little less of a focus. That led us to this recipe for Gambian Beef Stew or ‘Chew i Yappa’ from Access Gambia.
This recipe was so easy and so delicious. It involved such little effort: chop the ingredients, add them to a pot to simmer, add a few more ingredients, and simmer some more. That simple! The stew was like traditional canned vegetable soup (and when I say ‘canned’ I don’t mean cheap, I mean wholesome and nostalgic) but with an added flair. The peanut butter was not overpowering, rather it added depth and heartiness. The cayenne added some heat, and the variety of vegetables added dimension. We will absolutely make this stew again!