Thiakry Recipe: Spiced Couscous Pudding with Grilled Pineapple from Gambia

Thiakry is a sweet, creamy couscous pudding that is a popular dessert in Gambia and also makes for a satisfying breakfast. Couscous is mixed with yogurt, milk and sour cream to turn into a creamy pudding, then is lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and topped with refreshing grilled pineapple and coconut.

Thiakry | Vegetarian Gambian Dessert Recipe

Country Number 64: Gambia

You learn something new everyday. Today, I learnt that Gambia isn’t actually called Gambia. It is actually called “The Gambia”. I quite like the idea of adding  “the” in front of a proper noun.  It makes said noun sound very important indeed. Anyway, lets get back to The Gambia (now we have clarified the correct name of the country in question). The Gambia is the smallest country within mainland Africa. It is situated along the Gambia river, hence the name, and has an area of just over 10,000 kilometres.  The country shares it historical roots with many other Western African nations in the slave trade, and has been colonised by both the Portuguese and the British Empire before gaining independence in 1965. Sadly, almost half of the population of Gambia still lives in poverty.

History of Gambian Cuisine

Gambian cuisine is very similar to its West African neighbours. Peanuts, cassava, cabbage, fish, rice and black-eyed peas making up some of the nations most common ingredients. The most common staple food served in a Gambian home is rice, which is normally served with spicy sauces or domoda, a peanut, tomato and onion paste. In terms of protein, fish, chicken and oysters are all very common.

Popular Gambian Vegetarian Dishes

  • Domoda– Peanut paste mixed with tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon juice, onions, cabbage, mustard and black pepper.
  • Akara– Fritters made of black-eyed peas that are grounded into flour then fried
  • Baobab Juice– A popular non-alcoholic drink made from the fruit of a baobab tree
  • Maafe– A stew made from ground peanuts
  • Thiakry– A sweet dish made from couscous mixed with milk, yogurt and spices

Vegetarian rating of Gambian Cuisine:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.
Vegetarian Gambian Dessert Recipe

Making Spiced Couscous Pudding with Grilled Pineapple (Thiakry)

This around-the-world cooking challenge has really broadened our porridge/ pudding horizons. We’ve made porridges and puddings from oats, semolina, chia seeds, desiccated coconut and rice. Now, to add to that list, is this pudding made from couscous. Thiakry is a typical Gambian dish that combines couscous with milk/ yogurt/ sour cream and spices to create a creamy porridge-like texture. It’s the kind of dish you could heavily sweeten and eat as an indulgent dessert, or lightly sweeten and top with fruit for a satisfying breakfast. We chose to top our thiakry with grilled pineapple, however mango, banana or dried fruit would also work a treat.

How to make Spiced Couscous Pudding with Grilled Pineapple (Thiakry)

Other than the 30 minutes chilling time for the cous cous pudding, this is one of the quickest and easiest dishes you could make. Get ahead by preparing it the night before, chilling it overnight in the fridge and you can wake up to it ready!

  1. Cover couscous with boiling water for 5 minutes or until water is absorbed. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together plain yogurt, evaporated milk, sour cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, scraped vanilla pod and coconut sugar.
  3. Stir in the couscous and chopped pineapple to the mixture. Put in fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Serve thiakry topped with grilled pineapple, yogurt and shredded coconut.
Thiakry | Vegetarian Gambian Dessert Recipe

Ingredient notes for Spiced Couscous Pudding with Grilled Pineapple

  • Cous cous- This recipe works best using dry semolina cous cous. You could also used hulled millet, which is also use to make thiakry in Gambia.
  • Dairy products- We used three types of dairy products, yogurt, milk and sour cream, for our thiakry. However, if you only have one of these on hand, feel free to just triple the quantity of it (although if you just use milk it may not turn out quite as creamy). If you want to make this dairy-free, simply sub for non-dairy substitutes.
  • Coconut sugar– Sub for any sweetener of your choice and adjust amount for your sweetness preference.
Thiakry | Vegetarian Gambian Dessert Recipe

Serving suggestions for Thiakry

We served our spiced cous cous pudding with grilled pineapple, shredded coconut and additional yogurt. However, thiakry works well with any kind of fresh or dried fruit, including mango, banana or dried apricot. If you were serving this for dessert, you could also sub the yogurt for cream to make it a little more indulgent.

Did you make this thiakry recipe? We’d love to know! Tell us how it went in the comments below or tag us (@gourmetvegetarians) in your photos on Instagram.

Other porridge dishes to try

Liked this thiakry recipe? Pin it for later!

How to make this thiakry recipe - spiced couscous pudding from Gambia
Nicola Easterby Bio Image

HEY THERE, I'M NICOLA!

I am on a mission to discover the BEST destinations & dishes from around the world. In fact, I’ve visited 54 countries and cooked 196 cuisines in this very pursuit. Whether it’s hopping on a plane or into the kitchen, come join the adventure!

CURRENTLY TRENDING:

Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

This is a dessert mash-up made in heaven. Moist spiced carrot cake is layered with a creamy biscoff no-bake cheesecake then topped off with more biscoff spread, lotus biscuits and pecans. You know those things you eat and dream about years later? The carrot cake...

The BEST 23 things to do in the Catlins NZ in 2022

The BEST 23 things to do in the Catlins NZ in 2022

The ultimate guide to visiting the Catlins in 2022, including the best things to do, where to stay and how to get around the South Island of New Zealand's most overlooked destination. The Catlins is one of New Zealand’s most underrated gems. The region, located in the...

The TOP 6 North Island Glamping Spots in New Zealand

The TOP 6 North Island Glamping Spots in New Zealand

If you are looking for a spectacular place to go Glamping on the North Island of New Zealand, look no further. These 6 NZ glamping spots each feature luxurious safari tents, idyllic outdoor baths, and jaw-dropping views. With its endless lush countryside, unique...

READ NEXT:

Vegan Stuffed Avocados Recipe (Abacate Recheado)

Vegan Stuffed Avocados Recipe (Abacate Recheado)

These vegan stuffed avocados are inspired by a popular food from Guinea Bissau, Abacate Recheado. Avocado halves are stuffed with a herbed vegan chickpea tuna mayo, topped with tomatoes and garnished with toasted coconut flakes. Overview of Guinea Bissau The Republic...

read more
Healthy Vegan Anzac Biscuits Recipe

Healthy Vegan Anzac Biscuits Recipe

These anzac biscuits, made with rolled oats, desiccated coconut and golden syrup, are soft, chewy and so delicious. I promise you wouldn't know that they are a healthier vegan and gluten-free take on the typical anzac biscuit! Every year on April 25th, we celebrated...

read more
Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Biscoff Carrot Cake Cheesecake

This is a dessert mash-up made in heaven. Moist spiced carrot cake is layered with a creamy biscoff no-bake cheesecake then topped off with more biscoff spread, lotus biscuits and pecans. You know those things you eat and dream about years later? The carrot cake...

read more

READ NEXT:

Vegan Stuffed Avocados Recipe (Abacate Recheado)

Vegan Stuffed Avocados Recipe (Abacate Recheado)

These vegan stuffed avocados are inspired by a popular food from Guinea Bissau, Abacate Recheado. Avocado halves are stuffed with a herbed vegan chickpea tuna mayo, topped with tomatoes and garnished with toasted coconut flakes. Overview of Guinea Bissau The Republic...

read more
31 Best Desserts in Paris to Try in 2022

31 Best Desserts in Paris to Try in 2022

If you are visiting Paris and wondering which sweet treats to try, look no further. Here is a list of 31 of the best desserts in Paris in 2022 and where to try them. It is no secret that Paris is home to some of the best restaurants, patisseries and boulangeries in...

read more
Los Angeles Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Days in LA

Los Angeles Itinerary: How to Spend 2 Days in LA

Visiting L.A on a time crunch? Follow my ultimate Los Angeles itinerary to ensure you make the most of 2 days in la la land! I must admit, the first time I visited Los Angeles, I was not very enamoured by the city of stars. Getting around was difficult, everywhere I...

read more