5 Traditional Recipes From Across the Francophone World

The season of Carnival and Mardi Gras means delicious foods are on the menu around the world. To whet your appetite, we present here some recipes for characteristic dishes from different French-speaking areas, all proud representatives of French culinary heritage. Bon appétit!

Ivory Coast: Alloco

Alloco is a traditional dish in West and Central Africa. It's made of plantains fried in peanut or palm oil, and is served as a snack or to accompany a main dish. Alloco originated in open-air restaurants, also called “allocodrome” by Ivorians, which sell classic Ivorian dishes like attiéké and poulet braisé (braised chicken) at low prices.

 Alocco: tranches de banane plantain frites (accompagnées ici de poissons frits) via wikimédia commons

Alloco: sliced and fried plantains (accompanied here by fried fish). Via Wikimedia Commons

The blog Recettes africains (African Recipes) shared a recipe for a a spicy personal topping for alloco:

Pilez les piments avec l’oignon et l’ail. Vous pouvez utiliser un robot cuilinaire ou un mortier.

Mélangez avec la tomate concentré ,l’eau, la moitié du bouillon cube et l’eau.

Chauffez l’huile juste un peu et ajoutez le mélange de piment. Faites cuire pendant 15 minutes à feu doux. Pour finir salez et poivrez, ajoutez un peu de citron si vous voulez (Moi j’aime bien).

Maintenant servez vos bananes frits avec le piment. Vous pouvez aussi servir avec de l’Attieké.

Crush the chiles with the onion and the garlic. You can use a blender or a mortar.

Mix with the tomato paste, half a cube of stock and water.

Heat the oil a little bit and add the chile mixture. Let it cook for 15 minutes on low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, and add a little lemon juice if you want. (I love it that way!)

Now serve your alloco with your spicy, delicious topping. You can also serve it with attieké.

Louisiana (USA):  Jambalaya/Crawfish gumbo

The term “jambalaya” encompasses many different versions of this classic dish, which can vary depending on the choice of meat and the preparation of the rice base. But authentic jambalaya is always very spicy. Creole jambalaya is the signature dish of the state of Louisiana, and is particularly associated with the city of New Orleans. One typical version is crawfish gumbo.

crawfish etouffée ou gumbo à l'écrevisse via wikimédia commons

Crawfish gumbo via Wikimedia Commons

Here's a recipe for shrimp gumbo from the food site Marmiton:

Nettoyez les crevettes en enlevant l'intestin, mais laissez les têtes (cela donne du goût).

Coupez les gombos en rondelles de 1 cm, et faites-les cuire dans de l'eau salée (20 min).

Faites revenir l'ail, l'oignon, et les crevettes dans un peu d'huile d'olive. Salez et poivrez (10 min).

Égouttez vos gombos cuits, et versez-les sur les crevettes (5 min).

Servir seul, ou avec du riz et un piment.

Clean the shrimp and take out the intestines, but leave the heads (which add to the taste).

Cut the okra into slices one centimeter thick, and cook in salted water. (20 min).

Brown the shrimp with the garlic and onion in a little olive oil. Add salt and pepper (10 min).

Strain the cooked okra, and pour onto the shrimp (5 min).

Serve alone or with rice and hot peppers.

Madagascar: Ravitoto

Ravitoto is a traditional Malagasy dish. The principal ingredient is the leaves of the sweet cassava plant, which are ground in a mortar and mixed with onions and pork.

Jenny M. in Antananarivo paid homage to this “canonical” Malagasy dish with her personal recipe:

#1. Faire cuire le porc avec un peu d’eau.

#2. Dans une grosse marmite, une fois l’huile chauffée, ajouter les oignons, l’ail et la viande. Une fois la viande bien dorée, ajouter les feuilles pilées, le gingembre et le Kub’Or ainsi qu’une tasse d’eau.

#3. Laisser mijoter 30 minutes puis finir la cuisson sans le couvercle pour laisser le ragoût réduire un peu (5 à 10 minutes).

#1: Cook the pork with a little water.

#2: In a big pot, heat the oil with the onions, garlic and meat. Once the meat is brown, add the crushed leaves, the ginger and the Kub'Or with a cup of water.

#3. Let stew for 30 minutes, then for the last step, take off the cover and let the stew reduce a little (5 to 10 minutes).

ravitoto via Dodanville

Ravitoto via Dodovanille


Morocco: Tajine

Tajine is a traditional stew with a composition that varies depending on the chef's mood or what's available at the market. Every Moroccan cook has his or her own personal version, but tajine always is a meat or fish stew with vegetables or dried fruit. The blog La Cuisine Marocaine presents a recipe for a lamb tajine with white truffles:

Si vous utilisez des truffes fraiches, rincez les soigneusement a l'eau froide pour les débarrasser de leur sable.
Epluchez-les et mettez-les au fur et a mesure dans un saladier d'eau. Selon leur grosseur, coupez-les ou laissez-les entières. Ensuite, faites-les cuire à l'eau bouillante salée pendant environ 15 min jusqu'à ce qu'elles soient tendres. Egouttez les Bien.

Coupez l'épaule d'agneau en morceaux. Epluchez l?ail et coupez-le en lamelles. Dans une marmite, versez l?huile d'olive, ajoutez les morceaux de viande et faites-les dorer à feu moyen. Au bout de 5 min, versez 40 cl d'eau, ajoutez l?ail et le curcuma. Salez et poivrez.

Couvrez et laissez mijoter a feu doux pendant environ 1 h. Ajoutez les truffes dans la marmite 10 min environ avant la fin de la cuisson.

If you're using fresh truffles, rinse them thoroughly in cold water to clean off any dirt. Skin them and put them down slowly and carefully in a large bowl of water. Depending on their size, cut them or leave them whole. Then, cook them in boiling water with a little salt for about 15 minutes or until they become tender. Dry them well in a strainer.

Cut the lamb shoulder into small pieces. Peel the garlic and cut it into slivers. Cook the lamb in a pot with olive oil on medium heat until brown. After five minutes, add 40 centiliters of water, garlic, turmeric, salt, and pepper.

Cover and let simmer on low heat for about an hour. Add the truffles to the pot about 10 minutes before finishing.

Tajine du Maroc via wikimedia commons

Tajine via Wikimedia Commons

France: Coq au vin

Coq au vin, or rooster in wine, is a French culinary classic. Oenologie perwez narrates the legendary history of the dish:

Une tribu Arverne était assiégée par les romains; le chef, pour narguer le Romain, lui fit parvenir un coq maigre, combatif et agressif, pour témoigner de la détermination des Gaulois. Lors d'une trêve, le général (Jules César) invita le chef Arverne à un repas où lui fut servi une délicieuse volaille baignée d'une onctueuse sauce rouge. S'étant régalé, le Gaulois demanda à César: “Quel est donc ce mets?”. Il lui répondit qu'il s'agissait de son coq, mariné dans du vin et cuit lentement…

An Arvernian tribe was besieged by the Romans. The chef, in order to mock the Romans, sent them a skinny but aggressive rooster as an emblem of the Gauls’ determination despite the odds. During a truce, the Roman general—Julius Caesar—invited the Arvernian chef to a meal, at which the main course was a delicious poultry dish in a thick red sauce. Enjoying the dish greatly, the Gaul asked Caesar what it was. Caesar responded that it was the rooster, marinated in wine and cooked slowly…

Coq au vin rouge via wikimedia commons

Coq au vin via Wikimedia Commons


  • Wow, we do cook Ravitoto in Brazil, actually specifically in Bahia, where we call it Maniçoba. It is one of the traditional dishes of the dry backlands, and my aunt is a great cook of it! Now, it is believed there that cassava leaves can be poisonous, so there is this long process of cooking the leaves I don’t know how many hours changing the water who knows how many times – very laborious. Is it the same in Madagascar, or the leaves used are pre-prepared somehow, or just not poisonous? Perhaps it is an urban legend in Brazil!

    • haritia

      In Madagascar, we believe that it’s the cassave skin that contains a marginal amount of cyanide and can be deadly. So we either make sure we peel very well or cook the cassava very thouroughly. I don’t believe the leaves are considered poisonous at all in Madagascar.

      However, according to this [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030514080833.htm] both the leaves and the roots (aka the skin then) do contain the poison. Perhaps it’s because it has been pounded out?

  • […] Pilez les piments avec l’oignon et l’ail. Vous pouvez utiliser un robot cuilinaire ou un mortier… […]

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