Chicken yassa, sweet potato leaves, peanut butter sauce with beef — and that’s just a small sampling of the traditional West African cuisine being cooked up at Madina Restaurant.
The owners, a family from Guinea, brought their authentic recipes from their homeland to the United States, settling into a corridor of ethnic restaurants and other shops on the Northwest side of Indianapolis known as the International Marketplace.
You’ll find familiar food on Madina’s menu, like fried catfish, beef stew and chicken wings, but you’ll also wander into unfamiliar territory, with dishes like suppu kandja (okra sauce), thieray (Senegalese couscous), borrokhe, and several other items you’ve never heard of and can’t begin to pronounce.
The food is full of vibrant flavor and is as healthy as it is delicious.
The owner, Alpha Barry, who’s wife cooks much of the food at the restaurant, tells me, the way West African food is prepared is what makes it different from many American foods. It’s healthy, not processed.
It’s not only the healthy, delicious food that will have me going back for more, Madina also makes its own juice, in sorrel and ginger root flavors.
The restaurant has a simple setting… a dining room with dozens of tables and chairs and a counter for ordering, where the owners extend a gracious welcome in, for a taste of their culture.
I enjoyed a sampling of exquisite West African food, but was hooked on the chicken yassa, peanut sauce with beef, carrots, and potatoes, the sweet potato leaves, and the sorrel juice.
I’m pleased to say I’ve expanded my global palate, and I’ve added a few new favorite foods to my list.
You’ll never know how much you like a particular food until you try it, and that was certainly the case for me!
Madina Restaurant, 3703 Commercial Drive, is part of the Savor the International Marketplace event, offering special meal deals, Oct. 1- Oct. 15.
Learn more about Savor the International Marketplace here.