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Liberian Cuisine


Liberian cuisine reflects the rich heritage of Liberians. Certain American traditions are also reflected in Liberian recipes.

Liberian recipes contain an interesting melange of ingredients. Often found in Liberian ingredients are cassava, peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, ginger, palm oil and many tasteful vegetables.

Rice is one of the staple foods in Liberia. You will often hear a Liberian exclaim that he/she hasn't eaten all day, if they haven't had a rice dish for the day.

Dumboy (boiled and then pounded cassava) and Fufu/foofoo (derivative of cassava) are also staple Liberian side dishes.

From the Cassava leaf sauce coated in chunks of beef and chicken to the lush and delicious rice bread, Liberian cooking keeps one's taste buds asking for more...

Check out some of the great Liberian recipes below and please send us some of your favourite Liberian recipes. The ingredients found in the recipes below are available in most ethnic food stores.

Liberian Rice Bread

Yield: 8 x 12-inch bread

This rice bread is the typical recipe used by the Liberian housewife. It is not too sweet, can be used as a coffee cake or as a bread, and stays moist for a full week.

In a 4 quart bowl:

Combine: 2 cups CREAM OF RICE (cereal)

4 Tbs. SUGAR
1/2 tsp. NUTMEG
1 tsp. SALT
1 cup WATER
Stir until thoroughly blended.

Bake in a well-greased 8 x 12-inch rectangular or 9-inch round cake pan at 400' for 30 minutes.

Test with a toothpick (when it comes out dry, bread is done)

Beef Soup

Yield: 3 quarts soup
Check dried codfish for saltiness. If very salty it may need to be soaked overnight, in which case eliminate salt from recipe.

Liberian soups are unlike most soup dishes and are often a combination of meats, fish, and vegetables ultimately combined in one pot. With less water they may be served as main dishes. Other vegetables such as okra and string beans may be added.

In a 1 gallon pot:

Combine: 1 Ib. STEW BEEF, cut in 1/2 inch dice

1/2 lb. TRIPE, cut in small pieces (optional)
1 6-oz. can TOMATO PASTE
1 Tbs. SALT
1/2 Ib. FRESH TOMATOES, cut in 1/2-inch squares
1 quart WATER.
Simmer for one hour or until meat is tender.

In another 1 gallon pot:

Combine: 1/2 Ib. ONIONS, thinly sliced

1/2 Ib. DRIED CODFISH, cut in small pieces, in
2 quarts WATER.
Simmer until fish is tender.

Combine fish and meat and simmer slowly for 20 minutes.

Debone 1 large SMOKED FISH (herring, mackerel, whitefish, etc.).

Add to soup and cook 10 minutes longer.

Correct the Seasonings to your taste.

Serve with rice or Foo-foo.

Jollof Rice

Jollof Rice is served with variations in many countries of West Africa. In Liberia pigs' feet are used with salt pork and bacon as well as with chicken. This dish may be made from scratch with fresh chicken pieces, alone or in combination, but it is also an excellent dish for leftover chicken, veal, turkey, tongue, ham, bacon, etc.

In a 10-inch skillet:

Saute: 2 Ibs. COOKED MEATS (such as chicken, bacon, shrimp, smoked pork) cut in 1-inch chunks in

1/2 cup VEGETABLE OIL until slightly brown.
In a 4-quart kettle:

Saute: 1/2 cup YELLOW ONIONS, finely chopped

1/2 cup GREEN PEPPERS, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. GROUND GINGER (optional), in
1/4 cup VEGETABLE OIL until onions are soft.
Add 1 16-oz. can WHOLE TOMATOES (2 cups).

Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add: 2 6-oz. cans TOMATO PASTE

2 quarts WATER
1 Tbs. SALT
1/2 tsp. THYME
Add the cooked meat and simmer 20 minutes longer.

In a 2 quart saucepan:

Cook: 2 cups WHITE RICE in

5 cups CHICKEN STOCK or WATER until tender.
Correct the Seasonings with salt, pepper, etc.

Combine the sauce of the meat with the rice.

Pour the Jollof Rice in a deep bowl, arranging the meat in the center.

Stewed Mango with Cloves

A simple fruit dessert might be added to the dinner or served later in the evening. You can make this with fresh or canned (yellow cling) peaches or apricots if mangos are not available. Use two 24-oz. cans of peaches or apricots for eight servings.

In a 1-quart saucepan:

Place 4 large MANGOS peeled and cut in large pieces.

Add: 1 cup SYRUP from a can of peaches and

Simmer for 15 minutes or until mangos are tender.

Spear some of the pieces with a few cloves.

Cool and serve in compote dishes.

Collards and Cabbage

Yield: 8 portions
If collard greens are not available, use 2 Ibs. spinach instead, in which case cut cooking time to 10 minutes.

In a 4-quart saucepan:

Combine: 1 bunch COLLARD GREENS, washed and cut in small pieces

1/2 Ib. BACON, cut in 1- to 2-inches pieces*
1 large ONION, sliced
1 Tbs. SALT
1 tsp. BLACK PEPPER and
1 quart WATER.
Simmer gently for 30 minutes.

Add: 2 Ibs. CABBAGE cut into 8 wedges and

1 oz. BUTTER or OIL.
Cook for 15 minutes or longer until vegetables are tender.

Correct the Seasoning to your taste.

Strain before serving if water has not been absorbed.

Serve in a 2-quart bowl.

* Ham hocks previously cooked may be substituted for bacon, but save the water in which ham hocks were cooked to use as the Iiquid for the recipe.

Ginger Beer

Yield: more than 2 1/2 gallons
Ginger beer may be diluted with water or extra sugar, or ginger may be added to obtain desired taste. Liberians make the ginger beer with the peelings of pineapple only.

Chop 1 Ib. FRESH GINGER finely, and then beat to a powder.

Add 2 FRESH PINEAPPLES unpeeled and cut in chunks.

Pour 2 gallons BOILING WATER over and allow to cool to lukewarm.

Add 2 tsp. YEAST dissolved in 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.

Allow to stand overnight covered.

Add 3 1/2 cups MOLASSES on the following day.

Chill and strain. Bottle tightly and refrigerate.

Liberian Sweet Potato Pone

Yield: 9-inch square potato pone
In a 3-quart saucepan:


1 tsp. SALT
Simmer slowly, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes.

Pour into well-greased 9-inch baking pan.

Bake at 325' for 30 minutes, stirring up every 5 minutes for the first 20 minutes.

Smooth down the top and allow to brown.

Cut into squares and serve either hot or cold.

Liberian Pineapple Nut Bread
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup wheat bran
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts or walnuts

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.
Mix in the wheat bran. Add the eggs, pineapple, and 1/4 cup of the nuts.
Mix together thoroughly. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake
for 1 hour, or until a toothpick or tester inserted in the middle of the
loaf comes out clean. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped peanuts or

Plantain chips

3 or 4 plantains 2cups of oil
Peel very green plantains and slice very thin. Fry in deep oil until golden brown and crisp then drain on paper towel. sprinkle with salt. Keep in sealed containers.

Cassava Cake

12 eggs 2 lbs. butter
3 cups of flour 16-tsb baking power
2 sm tins of canned milk 5 cups cassava
3 cups of sugar
1- tsp cloves
1-tsp allspice
1-tsp nutmeg
1-tsp cinnamon

Grate cassava. Put cassava into a pillowcase. Set out in the sun with a heavy stone on top for 3-4 hours. Take cassava and sift.
Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add flour, sifted cassava, baking power, milk and spices. Pour in to greased pans and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes

Cassava Leaf

2 cups of Palm oil
4 bunches of cassava leaf
2 chicken bouillon cubes
*Handful of bitter balls (county pepper) to taste
½ pound of fresh meat
1 large onion
1-tsp soda
½ cup or 1 dried fish
½ cup dry meat

Beat and grind cassava leaf with peppers and onion. Put dry fish, and fresh meat in a pot of water and Season with salt to taste. Let boil until water is completely dry, then, add palm oil and stir cassava leaf in for oil to go all the way through. Let simmer for 10 minutes and serve.

Palm Butter

Wash palm nuts and boil until the skin becomes loose. Drain water. Place nuts in a mortar and beat until skin becomes separated from kernels. Rove kernels and continue beating to form a pulp. Transfer pulp to a pan and add water to cover. Wash pulp thoroughly, then squeeze out fibers and kernels. Pass liquid through a sieve to remove all fibers and kernels. Palm butter is now ready to be cooked. Palm butter maybe stored in a freezer until ready to cook

Processed palm nut sauce can be substituted for Palm nuts.

10 cups prepared palm butter
20 crabs (optional)
2 med onions, hot peppers if desired
can be fresh or dry
2 pounds country chicken
6 Cray-fish or shrimp and salt and pepper them to taste

Cut up chicken, season with salt, pepper and chopped onions. Place into a large saucepan put all ingredients and cook uncovered until sauce becomes thick. Serve over white county rice.

Eggplant stew

2 pounds eggplant

1 onion, chopped finely

3 Fresh tomato balls

Tomato paste (3 tea sp)

4 to 6 table sp oil

Chicken/Meat/Fish as desired

salt and pepper to taste


Peel and slice eggplant in chunks. Saute eggplant in a oil until light brown. Add onions, tomato balls, meat, and stir. Add water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then add tomato paste.

Cover the pan and turn the heat to low, simmering for 20 to 30 minutes and stir often until the eggplant is tender and the flavors have blended.

Can be served with rice, or your favourite side dish.


Kanya (or Kanyah), is a sweet snack made from just three ingredients: rice, peanuts , and sugar. Kanya can be made with store-bought rice flour, or you can make your own by crushing parched cup


  • peanuts, shells and skins removed, roasted
  • one cup uncooked rice or rice flour
  • one-half cup sugar

Using a mortar and pestle, a rolling pin, or something similar, break and grind the peanuts into small pieces, taking care not to crush them into a powder or paste.

If using uncooked rice: parch the rice in a dry skillet, stirring continuously, until it becomes slightly browned. Break and grind the rice into pieces as was done with the peanuts.
If using rice flour: parch the rice flour in a dry skillet, stirring continuously, until it becomes slightly browned.

Combine the crushed peanuts and rice (or rice flour). Crush and grind them together until they form a powder, add the sugar and mix well.

Using your hands, form the mixture into cubes or pyramids, or press it into a pan and then cut it into squares.

May be served immediately, or stored in air-tight containers.

Liberian Cake


5 oz. butter
6 oz. caster sugar
4 eggs
9 oz. plain flour
3/4 level teaspoon baking soda
1/2 level teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 level teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 level teaspoon ground mace
1/2 level teaspoon baking powder
1/8 level teaspoon powdered cloves
7 oz. golden syrup
1/4 pint milk
2 oz. citron [lemon] peel, cut very finely
3 oz. seedless raisins, chopped
2 oz. shredded coconut

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Sift together dry ingredients and add to egg mixture alternately with mixture of milk and syrup. (Start and end with dry ingredients.) Stir just until smooth. Fold in fruit and coconut. Pour batter into two greased and floured loaf tins, 9 by 5 by 2 and 1/2 inches. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in a very moderate oven (350 degrees F).



A 2 & 1/2 to 3 lb. chicken, cut up
5 pints cold water
2 level tablespoons salt
3 level tablespoons peanut butter
2 level teaspoons tomato concentrate
1 sprig parsley, chopped
1/4 level teaspoon black pepper
1 small potato, diced

Place chicken in a saucepan with cold water and salt; cover and bring slowly to the boil; remove scum. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Mix peanut butter with 1/4 pint of the chicken stock and add to the boiling chicken. Add remaining ingredients and cover. Simmer very gently for about 1 hour, occasionally. Serve hot. Serves 8.

Eggplant Fritters

1 large eggplant
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup canned milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
Pepper, to taste
2 cups cooking oil

Boil unpeeled eggplant until soft.

Cut in half and scoop out pulp. Mash pulp well. Cool. Stir in salt, pepper,
and eggs.

When cold, add milk and flour (adding more flour if necessary to make a thick batter). Drop by spoonfuls into hot deep fat. Drain.

Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 fritters.

Banana Cream of Wheat Bread
2 cups Cream of Wheat 1+1/2 cups mashed bananas
1+1/2 cups mashed bananas 1 Tbs. sugar
2 eggs 1 tsp. nutmeg
1+1/2 cups water 1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup unsaturated oil
1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup unsaturated oil  

Mix dry ingredients together.

Gradually add bananas, egg, water, and oil. Blend well.

Bake in greased 8-inch by 12-inch pan for 45 minutes at 350 F. until knife stuck in center of cake comes clean. Remove from pan and cool.

Serves 4.

Peanut Soup


  • 2 & 1/2 to 3 lb. chicken or meat (cut as desired)
  • 5 pints cold water
  • 2 level tablespoons salt
  • 3 level tablespoons peanut butter or ground peanuts
  • 2 level teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 meduim chopped onions
  • Peper (as desired)
Place chicken/meat in a saucepan with cold water, onions and salt. Cover and bring slowly to a boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Mix peanut butter with 1/4 pint of the chicken/meat stock and add to the boiling chicken/meat. Add remaining ingredients and cover. Simmer very gently for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Serve hot.
Plantain Gingerbread


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups sliced half-ripe plantain
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix the sugar and water in a sauce pan over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Peel plantain and add to the boiling sugar syrup. Add the plantain and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove the plantain and drain. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan heavily. Spread the plantain slices evenly over the bottom.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

Place the butter and molasses in a sauce pan over moderate heat and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Combine this heated mixture and the boiling water and stir. Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, stirring, and then beat vigorously. Pour the batter over the sliced plantain. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 50 minutes, or until the cake tests done. Let the pan stand for 5 minutes on a rack, then loosen with a spatula and turn the cake upside down on a serving plate. Cut into squares. The cake is topped with shipped cream. Serve warm or cooled.

Yield: 6 to 8

Pumpkin Cake
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 1/4 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Can Pumpkin
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Soda

Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs and mix. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl.
Mix pumpkin, soda and milk.
Add dry ingredients to pumpkin, soda and milk bowl and blend well. Add blended mixure to sugar, butter and eggs mixure.
Pour into greased baking pan 9 x 13".
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes.

Cabbage Stew
  • 1 med. size cabbage
  • 1 sm. mixed pkg. chicken thighs, and drum sticks
  • 1/2 lb. ham cubes
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • 3-4 tsp. Hunt's tomato paste
  • Water
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt, if desired
  • 2 bouillons, chicken
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • Meat tenderizer

1. Cut off stem at cabbage head. Cut cabbage in 4 quarters. Chop up each into large hunks.

2. Season chicken with extra salt. Separately, season beef with meat tenderizer, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

3. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan. Fry chicken and meat together until golden brown or firm. Put contents in a bowl.

4. Reduce heat to low. Pour oil in pot to cook cabbage. Put in cabbage. Fry cabbage until stiffness is limbo. Raise temperature to moderate. Stir constantly.

5. Put in onions, salt, pepper, and tomato paste. Stir and simmer for about 4 minutes. Stir at least once.

6. Add chicken, beef stew meat, and ham cubes. Stir and let it simmer for about 4 minutes. Again, stir at least once.

7. Add water. Water should be an inch above contents. Stir.

8. Stir occasionally. When contents begin to thicken, reduce heat. Watch it carefully to prevent sticking at bottom. When contents begin to stick, turn off heat. It is ready to serve.

Dry Rice (one pot)


  • 1 cups parboiled rice
  • 1/2 lb. salted pork (or smoked fish)
  • 1medium chopped onion
  • 2 quarts boiling water (or more for softer rice)
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper, if desired
  • 1 tsp. salt, if desired
  • 1 bouillons, chicken (or maggi cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon oil/margarine/butter

Wash rice with hot water. Add water, rice and oil to pot. Bring rice to a rapid boil.

Add pepper, onions, smoked fish (or salted pork), maggi cubes, and salt. Reduce heat and simmer until rice is tender.

Serve immediately

Basic Cornbread

Preheat oven to 400 °F Grease an 9x9" baking pan.

3/4 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg

Mix the cornmeal and milk in a small bowl so the cornmeal can soak while preparing the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and the sugar. Mix the egg and oil together well and stir into the cornmeal. Add the cornmeal to the flour and stir to moisten. Don't overmix! Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a inserted toothpick comes out clean. Bake only until golden brown.

Makes 1 loaf or 16 squares.


1-3   lbs.  chicken                         

1/3   cup cooking oil

2      onions                                   

2   bullion cubes

3   teaspoons tomato paste     

Season to taste with salt, pepper, as desired.

Cut up chicken in chunks. Keep at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Heat oil and stir fry chicken until golden brown. Combine pepper, sliced onions and one teaspoon salt and mix. 

Using oil in which chicken was fried, brown flour, and then add pepper mixture, cubes and tomato paste. Stir constantly for 6 minutes. Add pieces of chicken add a little water and simmer until most of the water has dried. Serve with hot rice or favourite side dish.

3    “BUNCHES” of potato greens          

4   bonnies (dried)

2   medium size onions                     

1  medium dry fish

1 ½   lb beef and/or fried fish                  

1  pigfoot (boiled till tender)

2    pods hot pepper, salt, black pepper, 

2  bullion cubes

Remove stems and wash greens two to three times. Cut into fine shreds. Boil pigfoot until tender and salt free. Also, boil beef until tender. Save beef stock.  Combine greens, onions,  hot pepper and fry for about 10 minutes; stirring constantly. Remove bones from dry fish and bonnies and wash. Add beef dried fish, bonnies and tender pigfoot. Add the water in which beef was boiled and season to taste. Cook until all water is removed.  Serve with hot rice or your favourite side dish.


2    cups  sugar                        

2   cups flour

3   teaspoons salt                    

2   teaspoons  cinnamon

1  teaspoon soda                   

1/3 cup vegetable oil

4   eggs (beaten)                           

2   cups finely grated carrots

Sift flour, salt, soda and cinnamon. Add sugar and oil. Mix well. Add beaten eggs and carrots. Mix well and bake at 350◦F for about 30 minutes.

Cassava Leaf soup
  • 2 & 1/2 to 3 lb chicken or meat (cut as desired)
  • 1 pack cassava leaf (or more if desired)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/3 red palm oil (or more if desired)
  • 2 level teaspoons tomato paste
  • 2 meduim chopped onion

Wash leaves and chop meat/chicken, blend pepper and onions until paste is formed.

Add oil to pot and heat and add blended pepper and onion mixture. Saute for 5 minutes then add tomato paste. Saute mixture for 5 more minutes then add beef/chicken and stir for about 5 minutes.

Add water and cassava leaf. Boil for about 15 minutes, then simmer until done.

Serve with rice or favourite side dish.

There are several variations of the recipe for cassava leaf. Find another version below:

2 cups of Palm oil
4 bunches of cassava leaf
2 chicken bouillon cubes
Handful of bitter balls ( pepper) to taste
½ pound of fresh meat
1 large onion

1-tsp soda
½ cup or 1 dried fish
½ cup dry meat

Beat and grind cassava leaf with peppers and onion.  Put dry fish, and fresh meat in a pot of water and Season with salt to taste. Let boil until water is completely dry, then, add palm oil and stir cassava leaf in for oil to go all the way through. Let simmer for 10 minutes and serve.


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