The Recipes Of Liberia

Liberia, with its capital Monrovia on the Atlantic is a beautiful country on the outskirts of West Africa's central rainforest belt. However, the country is one of the world's poorest and is just emerging from a devastating civil war at the turn of the millennium. The economy and infrastructure are still wrecked and the fall-out of the civil war is still being dealt with.

The country was first settled by freed African slaves from America in the 19th century (the name means 'Land of the Free') and it was one of the few African countries not to come under colonial rule.

As a result of this heritage Liberian cuisine is a melange of influences. Liberia is one of the few African countries with a native tradition of baking and this is juxtaposed with native traditions of creating palm-oil-based stews with forest greens. Being tropical the country has a high rainfall and rice is successfully grown there. Drinks such as ginger beer are also common and made locally.

The recipes below will give you a brief taste of what Liberia has to offer:

Dry Rice with Pork

Ingredients:
200g parboiled rice

225g salted pork (or smoked fish)

1 medium onion, chopped

2l boiling water

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1 Maggi cube or chicken bouillon

1 tsp butter

Method:
Wash the rice with hot water then add the water, rice and butter to a pot. Bring to a rapid boil then add the pepper, onion, smoked fish, bouillon cubes and salt. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed. Serve immediately

Liberian Ginger Beer

Ingredients
500g fresh ginger, finely chopped and pounded to a paste

2 fresh pineapples, peeled and cut into chunks

7.5l boiling water

2 tsp yeast (dissolved in 120ml lukewarm water with 1/2 tsp sugar)

700ml treacle (molasses)

Method:
First make the yeast mixture and allow to activate in a warm place. Add the ginger and pineapple to a heat-proof dish and pour over the hot water. Allow to cool to room temperature then add the yeast. Cover with a cloth and allow to ferment over night.
The following day add the molasses and mix thoroughly to incorporate. Chill in the fridge then strain into bottles. Screw the lids on tightly and refrigerate.

I hope that these recipes have given you a little taste of the foods of Liberia and that you are now prepared to find more.

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About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans is a cook, with a fascination for the recipes of Africa. You can find more Liberian Recipes in his West African Recipes site. The site also supports the refugees of Liberia displaced to Senegal. You can find more about then and how to help on the Recipes to aid the Refugees of Liberia page.