Malian cuisine varies from region to region, but does not offer a great deal of choice. Most meals are based on a kind of porridge with a sauce.
The main foods eaten by a moderately well-off family living in Malis capital, Bamako, are rice, millet, sorghum, and beans, cooked as a sort of porridge, served with a meat or fish sauce. A common meal in southern Mali is called tô, a pudding made from pounded millet, served with a sauce of meat or vegetables. In the North, the Songhay and Touareg make thick doughy pancakes served with wild leaves. Tô is also popular in Burkina Faso.
Girls learn to prepare food and cook from their mothers, from an early age. Find out how to make tasty sesame seed and honey sticks, see what a Bamako family sits down to eat for Sunday lunch, and learn about Malis tea ceremony.
Kadidia Traoré spends the whole morning cooking Sunday lunch for her family in Bamako:
"First I put the oil in the pot, and while that is heating, I clean and salt the fish. I then peel the potato and fry it in the oil with the fish. Then I pound black pepper and garlic together and add it to the pot. I bought all the ingredients this morning. We go to the market each day. Theres also cabbage, aubergine, courgette, and okra, as well as rice in the finished dish.
"This is a typical Sunday lunch when you have the money, but it is much more expensive than an everyday meal. Normally we would just eat rice, with some kind of meat, vegetable, or fish sauce."
Photo for Oxfam GB by Rhodri Jones