One of the most fascinating (and delicious) parts of visiting with our partners around the world is learning first-hand what our scholars eat. As STF’s Director of International Operations, I’d be amiss if I didn’t thoroughly study all the culinary options available to our students — don’t you agree?

(By the way, here are food posts from India and East Africa, if you’re feeling particularly hungry!)

This time around, I’m going to show you a few of the most readily available foods, most common dishes, and methods of cooking. But as an added bonus, we went ahead and learned how to make a Gambian dish that you can try out at home! Stick around for the step-by-step guide at the end of the post.

Now, ready to make your own Gambian dish? (As a side note, this is a variation of curry chicken, a dish Gambians often eat. Since our hosts have a curry allergy in the family, we substituted tumeric for curry; but you can do it either way!)

Tumeric Chicken

Whole chicken (or 4-5 chicken breasts)
5 Medium carrots
3 medium tomatoes
3 Medium onions go for white or yellow)
8 Cloves garlic
Half head of cabbage
2 Limes
5 Medium potatoes
1 Large eggplant, quartered
Bread to eat on the side

*Note on ingredients: Don’t like eggplant? Leave it out! The idea here is that you get to play around a bit. Very little of this recipe is set in stone. Have fun with it!


1. Clean the chicken. If you’re working with a whole chicken, chop it into 6 or so pieces and de-skin. Then, using sea salt, clean the chicken by rubbing it down with the salt, then washing the chicken in a pot of water. (We aren’t really sure why we did this. Just go with it.)


2. Place chicken pieces in a bowl or dish. Douse them with your spices, and rub them down. You want each piece thoroughly covered. If your hands aren’t bright yellow from tumeric, you’re not doing it right!


3. Squeeze your limes over the thoroughly-spiced chicken, creating a kind of paste.


4. What did I tell you about the hands?


5. Add about 2″ water to a large pot. Add your chicken and all lime juice/spices left in the dish. Then, add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots, and potatoes. Wait to add the eggplant and cabbage, as these will cook more quickly.


6. Cover the pot and place on stove over medium heat.


7. Oops! You forgot to add pepper, which is a crucial ingredient. Add this and anything else you may have overlooked when the pot begins to boil.


8. Now, we wait. This is a great time to enjoy Gambian-style conversation, which means you tell all stories in long-form. Check in on your food every so often to give it a stir. When your potatoes and carrots begin to soften and the chicken is nearly cooked, add in the cabbage and eggplant.


9. Voila! You’ve got a spicy chicken dish to impress even your most well-traveled friends. Enjoy!

Big thanks to Yassin SarrFox, co-founder of our partner Starfish International, for sharing her recipe and kitchen with us!