When I received a copy of a new cookbook through the post I eagerly ripped open the parcel, as I’d been looking forward to reading The Gambian Cookbook – Recipes from the Smiling Coast, ever since I’d been asked by the authors to review it.

Bread and coconut cake

My first impression was that this was a comprehensive book about Gambian cooking that was long overdue. Although the cover didn’t exactly shout cookbook to me, looking inside I found enticing recipes about how to cook well known Gambian dishes plus many I’d never heard of before. What particularly struck was the friendly style with which it had been written and the wonderful anecdotes that came with each recipe.

At the front of the book is a useful list of ingredients that the reader might be unfamiliar with giving suitable alternatives. For example, almost every main course recipe includes kani chillies, which are not generally available in the UK, although they are similar to scotch bonnet chillies, which are. Alternatively, ‘Aggy’s Hot Chilli and Spicy Sauce’ can be used to give a more accurate flavour. This and the frequently used Maggi cubes can both be bought online if you can’t find them in your local shops.

I found the last section interesting. Entitled ‘Toubab Dishes’ it shows how European influences have been enveloped into modern Gambian fusion cuisine. I also loved the suggestions on presentation including how to make a colourful tie-dye tablecloth, so typical of The Gambia – wonderful!

A Gambian Feast!

I recently invited a few friends to join me in trying out some of the recipes and we had a Gambian feast for World Food Night.

On the menu…

Pepe chicken soup – a seriously delicious spicy soup and possibly my favourite dish of the day

Domada – chicken in a tasty peanut sauce served with rice

Afra – spicy lamb kebabs, a popular Gambian street food

Banana cake – a yummy, easy to make cake

Bread and coconut cake – an even yummier cake

Banana and lime smoothie – one of the most refreshing drinks I’ve ever tried

Everyone cooked a different dish and we had a great time eating them all. We found the recipes easy to follow, the only criticisms were that there are a few omissions in a couple of recipes where the ‘method’ did not say when to add all the listed ingredients. This wasn’t a problem though and there wasn’t a single dish that wasn’t well received. Here you’ll find the recipe for our favourite dish of the day, pepe soup, a spicy chicken soup.


This really is a lovely cookbook and is so much more than a collection of great recipes. It gives the reader a wonderful glimpse into Gambian life.

You can buy The Gambian Cookbook on Amazon.

Read more about Gambian cooking in my recent post ‘Cooking with Ida’.

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link so if you purchase The Gambian Cookbook through it, I’ll make a few pennies towards another book to review and it won’t cost you a penny more. 



Join my 'Behind the Scenes' newsletter

Delivered monthly to your inbox with all my behind the scenes news, latest posts and giveaways exclusive to my subscribers.


Travel Planning Resources

Please note that most of the following links are affiliate links which means that if you click on the link, I may be paid a small commission. You can find out more about affiliate links in my Disclaimer.


Travel Insurance

I never travel without insurance. If something unexpected goes wrong the costs implications are just too high to take the risk. World Nomads provides travel insurance to travellers from over 130 countries. They're the perfect choice for long term travellers or single trip insurance.


Travel clothes for women

Check out my guide to all my favourite travel clothes for women.


Book your hotel or package holiday

TripAdvisor is my preferred hotel search engine. They compare all the top sites to find you the best deal. I also use Airbnb ($31 discount) for booking rooms/apartments.


Book your flight

Skyscanneris my preferred flight search engine. I'd recommend them for finding the best deals on flights.

Rent a car

Discover Carsis a great site for comparing car hire prices to help you find the best deal. They search both local and international rental companies.


Book an experience

When I’m travelling, especially to a new city, I use Viator and Get Your Guide to book tours and excursions. You can't beat a good food tour to introduce you to a new city!


Don’t forget your travel adaptor

Worldwide travel adaptors are perfect no matter where you are travelling from or to. Buy this one from the US or this one from the UKIt’s pretty much the only one you’ll ever need. Please note that as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


Pin It on Pinterest

More in Africa, Gambia, Recipes, Review
Cooking with Ida – Fish Benechin from West Africa

Following on from my earlier post about World Food Night, featuring a colourful bowl of fish benechin, I wanted to...