#13 The Gambia: Benachin



With memories still fresh from an amazing recent holiday to The Gambia, my next recipe in this series had to be a Gambian dish.  I have chosen a vegetarian version of Benachin (literally “one pot” from the Wolof) which is basically Jollof rice, typically served with fish or beef.  This was the first meal I ate in The Gambia and was also what I was served when I visited the home of one of the hotel security guards (a really nice guy named Lamin) after he took me on a day trip to Serekunda market, Kachikally crocodile pool (see pic below!) and Tanji fish market.  These were experiences that will live long in my memory.  The people were so warm and friendly.  If you get the chance, visit The Gambia – it is an amazing country!  This is a great dish, especially if you like your food hot!!


  • 2 medium onions
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • 4 chillies (crushed)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 Maggi cubes
  • 3 cups long grain rice
  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 peppers
  • 1/2 small cabbage


  1. Blanch, peel and then chop the tomatoes.
  2. Finely chop and fry the onions in oil in a large pot for 5 minutes, before adding add the crushed garlic and crushed chillies. Fry for a further 5 minutes before adding the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and crushed Maggi cubes.
  3. Next add the chopped vegetables to the simmering sauce for about 5 minutes – this is mainly to get the flavour onto the veg. Then remove from the pot and leave to one side.
  4. Rinse 3 of cups long grain rice and add to the pot with 6 cups of water.
  5. Stir well and then bring the liquids to a boil, before reducing to a simmer. Cover and leave to cook for 15 minutes.
  6. Add the vegetables to the pot, to sit on top of the rice, together with the bay leaves. Season well and then re-cover and cook for about 25 minutes, effectively steaming the vegetables with the rice, until the vegetables are tender.

Acknowledgement: Adapted from a recipe I found on Celtnet Recipes.

036 Kachikally crocodile pool