Chad is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of North and Central Africa. It is surrounded by Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger. The country is the world’s second-largest dealer of gum arabic, after Sudan.
The population of Chad is made up of different ethnicities including Sara, Arabs, Mayo-Kebbi, Kanem-Bornou, Maba, Daza and Hadjarai.
Most Popular Chadian Dishes
The locals of Chad typically use a wide variety of grains, vegetables, fruits and meats in their cooking. Some of the country’s staple foods include grains such as millet, sorghum and rice.
Commonly eaten vegetables include okra and cassava. Popular meats include mutton, chicken, pork, goat, fish, lamb and beef. People in Chad consume fish in abundance, including tilapia, perch, eel, carp and catfish.
Tea (including red, black and green) is a widely consumed drink in the country. Non-Muslim people of Chad also consume liquor and millet beer.
So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try traditional dishes of Chad along with recipes for you to try for yourself.
La Bouillie is a dish prepared using rice or wheat mixed with milk, flour and peanut butter. The dish is usually served for breakfast and is always consumed hot. Extremely similar to porridge, la bouillie has a thick consistency because of the use of flour. Some people also add peanut butter for additional flavor.
Although it is made with the aforementioned ingredients, it is frequently altered with several other toppings added depending on what is available in the particular region/home.
Jarret De Boeuf
Jarret de boeuf is a traditional Chadian stew prepared using beef cooked along with several vegetables, which are widely grown in the more fertile south of the country. Commonly used vegetables include carrots, sweet potatoes, leeks and aubergines. The stew is left to cook for at least two hours for the meat and vegetables to become tender.
The dish is known by a French name that was given to it during France’s 40-year colonisation of Chad and translates into English as shin of beef.
It is typically suggested to serve this stew in bowls and accompany it with fufu or rice. Some people also accompany the dish with a light sauce, which is generally prepared using chopped tomatoes, onions, crushed garlic and coriander.
Kisra is a traditional Chadian fermented bread prepared using durra or wheat. There are two different versions – one is available as thin baked sheets (also known as kisra rhaheeefa) which is believed to resemble injera and is usually relished alongside moulah (a slow-cooked stew prepared using meats and vegetables).
The other one is porridge (also known as kisra aseeda or aceda). The porridge is also generally accompanied by a vegetable-meat stew, like mullah. Apart from Chad, kisra is also eaten in Sudan and South Sudan.
Aiyash is a popular Chadian snack food prepared using millet flour, sunflower seeds, silken tofu, salt and oil. This dish typically has no flavor of its own, hence it is served with many different sauces.
The flavor differs from household to household. However, a thick peanut dip is a common sauce because peanuts are grown in the country and therefore easily accessible.
Other dipping sauces accompanying aiyash include saka saka (a sauce prepared using crushed or very finely chopped spinach and okra, which is blended with the help of vegetable oils).
Daraba is a peanut and vegetable stew prepared using ground peanuts, okra, tomatoes, sweet potato, aubergine (eggplant) and leafy greens such as spinach.
The vegetables added to daraba differ extensively, with ingredients mainly dependent on seasonal availability.
The simple flavor of the dish is further improved with the addition of cayenne pepper. It provides the dish with a little spice. A bouillon cube (usually a local Maggie brand cube) is also added, which makes the dish savory.
It is typically consumed along with rice, boiled cassava or plantains on the side.
Maharagwe is a dish made from the red beans or seeds of the French bean plant. People also sometimes use haricots and several other beans. It’s made by stewing the beans in a coconut milk sauce with flavoring ingredients like onion, cardamom, cinnamon, garlic and chili.
The name of the dish means bean, and is believed to have originated in the spice trade of the East African coast before making its way to the country. It is considered to be an extremely nutritious dish that is usually vegan and gluten-free. Apart from Chad, Maharagwe is widely consumed in a number of other African countries.
Peanut and Squash Stew
Peanut and squash stew, as the name suggests, is a stew prepared using peanuts and locally-grown squash as its main ingredients. The dish is typically made vegetarian, and other commonly used ingredients include tomatoes, red peppers and spinach. On special occasions and events, however, pieces of beef or other meat may be added.
Spices such as turmeric and ginger are added, giving the dish an authentic Chadian flavour. Stews are known to be one of the most widely consumed main meals in the country, and this rich and nutritious stew is considered a comfort dish during winter evenings.
Bangaou is a stew prepared using sweet potatoes and meat (generally lamb). The dish is further flavored by adding other ingredients, such as ginger, onions, garlic, tomatoes and a bouillon cube. Occasionally, one can also find peas (in the south) or beans or chickpeas (in the drier north) being added to the stew.
Bangaou is usually accompanied by either couscous or rice. The dish is believed to have originated in the traditions of the Arab north of the country.