Street Food: Ice or Gambian Ice Cream

Ice is a street dessert in The Gambia. It is a local juice made of natural fruit juices, put in plastic bags or bottles, frozen and sold to people in the markets and on the streets. Some sell it in their houses as well.
It is like local ice cream, but in The Gambia, we call it ice. You can have different types of ice depending on the juice you want. Some of the most common tastes of ice are made out of the juice of kaba, ginger, tamarind, baobab, hibiscus (wonjo), ditakh, even milk can be made to ice. Ice costs GMD 5 per small bag and GMD 10 for a larger amount. The bottles cost from GMD 50 to GMD 100, depending on the size.

The Juices

The process of preparing different tastes is more or less the same. The only difference is in the preparation of the juice, which is always tied in plastic bags or poured in the bottles and left to freeze.

Baobab Ice (Ice bouyi)

Boabab ice is made from the baobab fruit. The baobab is immersed in water for an hour or two to make it soft. After this, a spatula is used to stir until the fruits mix well with the water, dissolving the soft white part, leaving the seeds. Then the juice is sieved to remove seeds. In this process, a sieve with big holes is used to sieve the liquid. Sugar is added to it, milk powder and essence (flavour of choice) are mixed with water, then added to the juice. Then the sieve with small holes is used to remove smaller particles of the baobab that escaped through the big holes.

Hibiscus (Wonjo)

You can also make juice out of the dried hibiscus. The locals like the wonjo juice because of its health benefit. (Read more HERE) Some will boil the wonjo to extract the juice whilst others soak it for many hours. The most popular method is cooking it. Some will add the mint leaves to it. The leaves are then separated from the juice. When this is done, a strawberry and vanilla essence flavour with sugar is added to the liquid.

Ginger Ice

Because of the notable health benefits attributed to ginger, many people enjoy drinking this juice. When making ginger, it is washed thoroughly, peeled then pounded into a fine paste. The paste is put in a pan, and water is added. A sieve or a very thin cloth is used to obtain the juice leaving the remains of the paste. Sugar and essence are added.

Tamarind Ice

The ice processors will normally put the peeled and rinsed tamarind in water and soak for some time. When it becomes soft, they will squish it using their hands. They would remove the undissolved parts of the tamarind using a sieve or thin cloth. They would add essence, sugar and mix it again.

Ice Ditakh

Ditakh is commonly called Detarium Senegalese. It is a leguminous tree in the subfamily Detarioideae. The fruit is round in shape, covered with dried, harden shells. When the shell is removed, the edible fruit is green with a sweet-sour taste. The green fruit, which has been previously peeled, is pounded to obtain the juice. The bigger parts of the seeds are taken out before adding the water and sieving the fluid with a sieve. After this, the liquid is mixed with sugar and vanilla essence.

Ice Kaba

Ice Kaba is made from kaba fruit. The seeds of kaba are pounded in a mortar in order to extract the juice. Water, sugar, essence and pounded kaba are mixed in a pan. Seeds are not removed from this juice. Ice Kaba is found only in the kaba season. Read more about kaba HERE.

Milk Ice

Locals call the frozen milk ice cream. Ice cream is prepared using the local creamed milk. The milk is whisked until it is smooth, then a tiny amount of water is added with sugar and essence, and the mixture is ready for freezing.

Do you want to know more about the street food in The Gambia? Check out other issues of My Magazine HERE.

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