El-Shaddai African Cuisine
Joseph Koroma is from Sierra Leone. After coming to Sydney as a UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) refugee in 2001, he opened El-Shaddai in Guildford, in Sydney’s western suburbs. It’s one of the city’s only restaurants specialising in West African food and is popular among Sydney’s West African population because it’s the only place to get even the most basic staples of that region’s cuisine.
Probably the best example of this is fufu, a fermented and pounded cassava product with a starchy taste and a doughy, elastic. Like most things in West Africa you eat it with your hands and with stew. Such as an okra stew that clings to cutlery like honey, a peanut-y groundnut stew (ground peanuts, chicken, spices and stock) and egusi (a rich and slightly bitter stew made from ground up melon seeds, cassava leaves and fatty meat).
Rice is also central to the cuisine. It’s served with kankankan (long skewers of spiced lamb or goat cooked over a barbeque). Better known is jollof rice, a fried-rice dish of tomato paste, onions, chilli and meat.
For a more regionally specific meal ask for asieke (also known as attieke), cassava that’s grated, fermented and steamed until it has a couscous-like texture. As is common in Ivory Coast or Sierra Leone, it’s served here with a crunchy deep-fried fish, an incendiary chilli-and-onion relish, and a lettuce and tomato salad with mayo – all of which is tossed into a spicy, fatty and textural mess.