Togo is a country situated on the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa, famous for the Togo Mountains and vibrant markets of its capital city, Lomé. Bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north, with a picturesque coastal stretch on the Atlantic Ocean to the South.
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Most Popular Togolese Dishes
Togo’s cuisine is influenced by local ingredients, as well as French and African culinary traditions. Many Togolese dishes use staple ingredients like cassava and yams as they are versatile and readily available across the country, such ingredients form the basis of popular Togolese dishes fufu and kokonte.
Spices play a crucial role in Togolese cooking, with ginger, garlic, and chili peppers being some of the most popular seasonings. Peanuts also feature as a common addition to many recipes, including as peanut butter or chopped up and added as a garnish.
In Togo, festive occasions often involve the preparation of special dishes such as fufu with rich stews, grilled meats and flavorful rice dishes.
Ayimolou (Rice and Beans)
Ayimolou is dish made by cooking rice and beans together with a spicy tomato sauce added on top.
Black eyed peas are the most popular beans choice of beans to make this dish, but black beans or red beans may also be used in some recipes. Baking soda is also added traditionally to give Ayimolou a distinct flavor and texture.
This is a very common dish in Togo, and is eaten regularly as a main meal for dinner, commonly served from one large dish in the middle of the table.
Riz Sauce d’Arachide (Rice with Peanut Stew)
Riz Sauce d’Arachide features rice served with a peanut-based stew enriched with spices, often containing vegetables or meat.
This is a popular dish across Africa; it may be referred to as different names depending on the region, for instance it is called domoda in Gambia, but is prepared in a very similar way.
Fufu (Pounded Cassava)
Fufu is a staple in Togolese cuisine, made from starchy ingredients like cassava, yams, or plantains. The preparation involves pounding and shaping the starchy mixture into a smooth, elastic consistency.
Fufu is commonly served with soups and stews, offering a comforting base for a variety of flavorful toppings. This is a popular side dish in many African countries, including Togo’s neighbors Ghana and Nigeria.
Koklo Meme (Grilled Chicken)
Koklo Meme is a Togolese grilled chicken dish; chicken thighs are seasoned with a spicy, pepper sauce and grilled over a flame.
Often enjoyed during festivals and special occasions, Koklo Meme shares similarities with other spicy grilled chicken dishes found in West African cuisine such as Kati Kati.
Akpan is a maize-based yoghurt that is made from fermented corn kernels and condensed milk to sweeten the dish.
This snack is often eaten as a breakfast food or a dessert, and can be found served ready to eat in plastic bags by street vendors in the cities.
Gbomo Dessi (Spinach & Tomato Stew)
Gbomo Dessi is a tomato and spinach-based stew containing onions and peppers. This dish can also incorporate meat or seafood.
Gbomo Dessi is often served with fufu, rice or potatoes on the side.
Pâté (Cornmeal Dough)
Pâté in Togo is a savory dough-like dish made from cornmeal, not to be confused with the French ‘Pâté‘. Pâté is typically served with a sauce made with ground meat, fish, or vegetables, and is used to dip into the sauce.
Pâté is similar to fufu, which is made with made with cassava instead of cornmeal has variations across West African countries.
Djenkoumé (Tomato Cornmeal Fritters)
Djenkoumé are tomato cornmeal fritters, usually seasoned with red palm oil, ginger, garlic and onions for extra flavor.
Djenkoumé are usually served as a side dish, often accompanying grilled chicken or stews. They may also be served with a chilli paste for extra flavor.