Adalu Recipe: A Delicious Traditional Dish from Chad


Adalu Recipe: A Delicious Traditional Dish from Chad
Region / culture: Chad | Preparation time: overnight | Cooking time: 1 hour | Servings: 4-6



Adalu is a traditional West African dish that beautifully combines the earthy flavors of beans and the sweetness of corn, creating a hearty and nutritious meal. This dish is a staple in many households due to its simplicity, affordability, and the comforting flavors it brings to the table. Adalu can be enjoyed as a main dish or a side dish, making it versatile and a favorite among many.


The history of Adalu dates back centuries in West African cuisine, particularly among the Yoruba people of Nigeria. It is a dish born out of the necessity to create a nutritious and satisfying meal from available local ingredients. The combination of beans and corn provides a balance of flavors and nutrients, making Adalu a well-rounded meal. Over the years, this dish has spread across West Africa and has seen various adaptations, but its core ingredients remain the same, celebrating the rich agricultural heritage of the region.


How to prepare

  1. If using dried cowpeas (or beans) or dried corn, clean and soak them in water for a few hours or overnight, as needed.
  2. Rinse and drain the cowpeas (or beans) or corn.
  3. In a large pot, cook the cowpeas (or beans) in water until they are nearly tender (about an hour).
  4. Add the corn and other ingredients. Cook until the cowpeas (or beans) and maize begin to disintegrate and form a paste.
  5. Season the mixture to taste.
  6. Serve the dish as a main dish or side dish.


  • Vegan Adalu: Omit the shrimp and use vegetable oil for a vegan version.
  • Spicy Adalu: Add more red pepper or a few slices of fresh chili pepper for extra heat.
  • Adalu with Meat: Include pieces of cooked chicken, beef, or fish for a non-vegetarian variant.
  • There are several ways to vary the traditional Adalu recipe:
  • Add coconut milk for a creamy texture and rich flavor.
  • Include other vegetables such as spinach or kale for added nutrition.
  • Use different types of beans or a mix of beans for variety.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To achieve the perfect consistency and flavor in Adalu, consider the following tips:

- Soak the beans overnight to reduce cooking time and make them easier to digest.

- Use a combination of fresh and smoked ingredients to add depth to the dish.

- Adjust the amount of water during cooking to achieve your desired consistency, whether you prefer it more stew-like or as a thick paste.

- Season the dish gradually to build layers of flavor.

Serving Suggestions

Adalu can be served on its own or accompanied by a side of steamed vegetables, fried plantains, or a simple salad to add freshness and contrast to the meal.

Cooking Techniques

The traditional method of cooking Adalu involves simmering the beans and corn until tender. For a modern twist, you can use a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time or a slow cooker for convenience, allowing the flavors to meld together over several hours.

Ingredient Substitutions

If cowpeas are not available, black-eyed peas, kidney beans, or any other type of bean can be used as a substitute. Fresh corn can be replaced with canned or frozen corn, and if dried shrimp is not to your liking, it can be omitted or replaced with another source of umami flavor, such as mushrooms.

Make Ahead Tips

Adalu can be made in large batches and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to a month. This makes it a convenient option for meal prep or for having a nutritious meal ready on busy days.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Adalu in a colorful bowl, garnished with fresh herbs such as cilantro or parsley. A side of sliced avocado or a dollop of sour cream can add a refreshing touch to the dish.

Pairing Recommendations

Adalu pairs well with a light, crisp white wine or a cold beer. For a non-alcoholic option, a ginger beer or a hibiscus tea complements the flavors of the dish beautifully.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Adalu in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply warm it in a pot over medium heat, adding a little water if necessary to adjust the consistency. Adalu can also be reheated in the microwave.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Adalu is relatively low in calories, making it an excellent choice for those monitoring their calorie intake. The exact calorie count can vary depending on the specific ingredients and quantities used but is generally considered a moderate-calorie meal.


Adalu is a good source of carbohydrates, primarily from the beans and corn, which are integral to the dish. Beans provide complex carbohydrates, which are slow-releasing, ensuring a steady supply of energy. Corn adds a sweet note and also contributes carbohydrates, making Adalu an energy-dense meal.


The oil used in the recipe contributes to the fat content of Adalu. Using a healthier oil option, such as olive oil or coconut oil, can provide beneficial fats that are good for heart health. The optional addition of dried shrimp can also add a small amount of healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids.


Beans are an excellent source of plant-based protein, making Adalu a great option for vegetarians and vegans. The protein content in beans helps in muscle repair and growth, making this dish not only delicious but also very nutritious.

Vitamins and minerals

Adalu is rich in vitamins and minerals, thanks to the beans and corn. Beans are a good source of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Corn contributes vitamins A, B, and E, along with magnesium and phosphorus. Together, they make Adalu a nutrient-dense meal.


Adalu is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free, making it suitable for those with gluten intolerance or lactose intolerance. However, individuals with allergies to legumes should avoid this dish due to the presence of beans.


Overall, Adalu is a nutritious and balanced meal, providing a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It is a wholesome choice for anyone looking to enjoy traditional West African flavors.


Adalu is a flavorful and nutritious dish that celebrates the simplicity and richness of West African cuisine. With its combination of beans and corn, it offers a balanced meal that is both satisfying and healthy. Whether enjoyed as a traditional recipe or with modern adaptations, Adalu is a testament to the enduring appeal of West African culinary traditions.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was captivated by its simplicity. It was a dish called Adalu, a Nigerian dish made with beans and corn. I came across it in a cookbook that my friend had lent me, and I knew I had to try it.

I had always been drawn to the flavors and spices of African cuisine, and Adalu seemed like the perfect recipe to experiment with. I gathered all the ingredients - black-eyed peas, corn, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of spices - and got to work.

As I cooked, the aromas of the spices filled my kitchen, transporting me to a faraway land. I could almost imagine the bustling markets of Nigeria, the colorful stalls selling fresh produce and spices. I felt a sense of connection to a culture that was so different from my own.

As the dish simmered on the stove, I couldn't wait to taste it. When it was finally ready, I took my first bite and was blown away by the flavors. The combination of the creamy beans and sweet corn, the tangy tomatoes and spicy peppers, it was a symphony of tastes that danced on my tongue.

I knew then that Adalu would become a staple in my cooking repertoire. I shared the recipe with my friends and family, and it quickly became a favorite among them as well. They would often request it for dinner parties and gatherings, and I was always happy to oblige.

Over the years, I honed my skills in making Adalu. I learned to adjust the spices to suit my taste, to cook the beans until they were perfectly tender, to balance the flavors just right. It became a dish that I could make with my eyes closed, a dish that brought me comfort and joy.

But it wasn't just the dish itself that made Adalu special to me. It was the memories that it evoked, the connections that it forged. I remembered the first time I made it, the sense of wonder and excitement that I felt. I remembered the friends and family that I shared it with, the laughter and conversations that accompanied each meal.

I also remembered the people who had taught me the recipe, who had shared their knowledge and passion for food with me. There was my friend who lent me the cookbook, who introduced me to the world of African cuisine. There was the elderly woman at the farmers market who had given me tips on selecting the best ingredients. There was the chef at the local restaurant who had shown me how to elevate the dish to new heights.

Each person had played a role in shaping my understanding of Adalu, in enriching my culinary journey. And for that, I was grateful.

As I sit here now, writing this story, I realize how much this simple dish has meant to me. It has been a constant companion in my kitchen, a source of inspiration and creativity. It has taught me about different cultures and traditions, about the power of food to bring people together.

And so, I continue to make Adalu, to share it with others, to pass on the recipe to future generations. Because in the end, it is not just a dish - it is a story, a legacy, a part of who I am. And I will always cherish it, in all its simplicity and beauty.


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