Cafriela de Frango: Guinea-Bissau

Africa in my kitchen

Listen to the podcast: Link

Reposted from @234Pantry on Instagram

Guinea-Bissau proverb: A warrior fights with courage, not with anger.

Our latest Lusophone country is Guinea-Bissau and our feature dish is a simple but tasty grilled chicken called Cafriela de Frango. Officially called the Republic of Guinea-Bissau, the country sits in West Africa, bordered by Senegal to the north and Guinea to the south-east. Its capital city is Bissau.

Modern-day Guinea-Bissau was once part of the Mali Empire which existed between 1235 and 1670. In the 19th century, Portugal colonized the country and called it Portuguese Guinea until it became independent in 1973. When it gained independence, the country’s name was changed to Guinea-Bissau, adding the name of the capital city to distinguish it from neighbouring Guinea. Guinea-Bissau has a population of 1.9 million. The official language is Portuguese, but only about a third of the population speak it. The national language is called Kiriol or Portuguese Creole. Kiriol is also spoken in parts of Senegal and The Gambia.

Flag of Guinea-Bissau. Source: Britannica

When it comes to cuisine, rice is a staple along the coastal areas and millet is a staple in the interior. Seafood is also prominent, as are cereals and tubers like yam, cassava and potatoes. Melegueta pepper (alligator pepper or Grains of Paradise) is a common spice used in cooking.

Looking up food from Guinea-Bissau proved a little tricky because most of the information I could find on the internet, YouTube, and social media was in Portuguese. However, we prevailed. If any of our friends from Guinea-Bissau are reading, please let us know how well we did. Since this one was a little trickier to look into, we have included some resources below in case you are interested in exploring Guinea-Bissau cuisine further. Here’s some of what you can find in Guinea-Bissau.

Foli – in different parts of Africa, it is also called, Madd / Kabaa (in the Wolof language), Malombo (in Sierra Leone and Congo basin), and Saba (in Cote d’Ivoire). Foli is a yellow fruit with a similar acidity to tamarind. The scientific name is Saba senegalensis. We haven’t had it over here at AIMK, but we’ve heard it described as a cross between mango and passion fruit.

Foli fruit. Source: T.K. Naliaka. Wikimedia Commons (,_madd.jpg)

Bolo – a kind of cake

Bolinhos de mancarra de peixe – fish and peanut balls –

Croquette de peixe – fish cakes made from fish and potatoes

Warga or Ataya – a strong sweet tea also drunk in Senegal

Siga – okro and beef palm oil stew

Torresmo Crocante – I honestly, couldn’t find the translation for this in English, but I think it is crispy fried pork

Poportada – a pork sauce thickened with rice flour. It can be served with rice

Caldo de mancarra – peanut sauce eaten with rice

La moqueca de peixe – a fish stew made with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and coconut milk

Cabaceira – finding out what this word meant took a while, but I refused to be defeated. This is baobab, often made into a drink

Baobab fruit. Source:

Pasteis de mandioca – cassava pastry

Fidjios – fried pastry (fried dough pastry; in Cape Verde it is made from banana)

Abacate recheado com atum – Please let us know if this is a Guinea-Bissau dish. It is a tuna and avocado dish.

We mainly got the recipe from Culinária Guineense and modified a little bit to suit our taste.


Chicken thighs (about 3 lbs / 1.36 kg)

2 medium onions

10 cloves of garlic

1/3 cup lemon juice

3 tbsp of olive oil

2 tbsp of margarine

Bay leaves

1 large green pepper

Salt and black pepper to taste. I also added about 3 tablespoon of Cameroon pepper

3 bouillon cubes (optional)

Cafriela de Frango is made by first steaming the chicken and then grilling it, typically over a charcoal fire. In the absence of a grill, we improvised and went with an air fryer, but I’m sure it would have tasted even better with a proper grill. You chop the garlic, slice onions and green peppers (julienne style), add that and everything else into a pot and steam with a little water until just cooked.

Cooking time will depend on the kind of chicken you use, but ours took about 20 minutes.

Once it’s cooked, pop it on the grill till it is ready to eat. Typically, you serve the chicken together with the sauce with whatever you’re eating it with.

The combination of lemon and green pepper was surprising, but gave a uniquely delicious taste to the chicken. The recipe didn’t call for Cameroon pepper, but I added a little and it gave a smokiness to the dish that just made it work.

It’s just grilled chicken, so you can pair it with anything you like. If you like chicken and are looking for something simple and different, definitely give this a try.

Depending on how much water you steamed the chicken with, you may have quite a bit of broth left over.

We had a lot of broth left over

We actually had too much for the chicken. If you don’t want to serve it over rice or your side of choice, you can try boiling rice in it. The lemon and green pepper flavours add a delightful zing and it’s a simple way to make your boiled rice more interesting. I tried it and added a little curry and salt. Here’s a tip: You can strain out the solids and add them back after the rice is done or you can just throw out the solids. I don’t like to waste things, so I put the onions and green pepper back in after the rice was done and absolutely loved it.

Rice boiled in broth from Cafriela de Frango

Here are some additional sources for cuisine from Guinea-Bissau if you are interested and can speak Portuguese

@hellobissaufood – Instagram


“Flag of Guinea-Bissau”. Britannica.

Written by @234Pantry

Never miss an episode

Subscribe wherever you enjoy podcasts:

Before you leave, don’t forget to subscribe for notifications.

© 2020 TunukaMedia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.