Liberian Torborgee

There are 16 ethnic groups in Liberia and every ethnic group has a traditional food dear to its people. For instance, GB (a dish made with cassava roots) belongs to the Gio/Dahn and Mano ethnic groups; cassava leaf belongs to the Vai ethnic group, and torborgee is a specialty of the Loma ethnic group.

Torborgee can be prepared in many ways. There are a number of vegetable selections and various styles of torborgee soups, including water greens torborgee, peppers torborgee, beans torborgee, cassava leaf torborgee, fever leaf torborgee, and the most popular one, bitterball (garden egg) torborgee,

Torborgee soup is easy to make. The preparations start off as simple as how a regular soup would be cooked—with meat, chicken, seafood, seasoning, etc., along with vegetables of your choice. These vegetables may include garden egg, cassava leaf, water green, pepper, fever leaves, or beans.  What makes a regular soup turn to torborgee soup has to do with two key ingredients: torborgee soda/country soda and torborgee oil. Torborgee soda is like baking soda with a much stronger taste. As a matter of fact, sometimes people might substitute baking soda with torborgee soda. Torborgee oil is made of palm oil. This version of the oil has a slightly pungent odor and taste compared to regular palm oil. Sometimes palm oil might also substitute for torborgee oil.

As stated earlier, the torborgee dish is unique to Liberia, therefore if a non-Liberian is going to try it for the first time, they should be mindful of possibly having a slight stomachache afterward. However, this shouldn’t stop you from trying one of Liberia’s most popular and tasty dishes.

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