Our C.E.O. (Chief Eating Officer) here at TravelFoodandDrink.com recently ate some interesting food from Ghana, and wanted to learn more about this mysterious cuisine from Africa’s Gold Coast, so he contacted Sandra Amoako, an expert from Ghana who has published her first cookbook on Ghanaian food.
What can you tell us about “Akwaaba: A Taste of Ghana”?
My cookbook “Akwaaba: A Taste of Ghana” offers a vibrant and fresh outlook on common, traditional and modern recipes from Ghana.It also offers easy-to-follow recipes, helpful hints, fun facts about Ghana and cultural information on Ghana.This is a Ghanaian cookbook that both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians will appreciate and the hope is that it not only allows people of other cultures to experience a little part of what Ghana has to offer but also promote Ghana and Ghanaian food worldwide!
What are the essential Ghanaian ingredients?
Some essential Ghanaian ingredients are staples such as rice, yam and plantains as well as cooking oil (vegetable and palm), fresh tomatoes, ginger,onions and spices. These ingredients make up the foundation of most Ghanaian dishes.
What are your favorite dishes and why?
I love peanut soup because it goes great with a lot of stuff and even just by itself. I normally love eating it with rice balls or fufu and every once in a while, I will create a peanut noodle soup by adding some pasta to a big bowl of peanut soup. It is one of my favorite dishes because it is delicious! Jollof is another great one – it’s the little black dress of Ghanaian cuisine! Even though it’s not considered a dish, one of my favorite things to eat is fried sweet bread…it’s one of my comfort foods.
What dishes do you think visitors to the country should try?
I think visitors to Ghana should try Jollof, peanut soup with rice ball or fufu, kebab (with really good kebab pepper), kele wele, fried yams and pepper sauce and red-red (fried red plantains with beans stew). They should try everything…they are all so delicious!
Is it easy to cook Ghanaian food at home?
Absolutely! With the right step-by-step guidelines, which my cookbook “Akwaaba: A Taste of Ghana” provides, I feel that anyone can cook Ghanaian food at home.
Where can you get the book?
Currently, the book can be bought online at www.alikobooks.com , and on www.amazon.com. My cookbook is also available to purchase as a nook book at www.bn.com on nookcolor, nook, ipad, iphone, etc People can check “Where To Buy” tab at www.alikobooks.com to get updates on where to buy a copy.
Garden Egg (eggplant) Stew
9 garden eggs
8 large tomatoes or 1 can ( 29oz) of tomato puree
2 large white onions
1 tablespoon of red pepper powder
1 habanero pepper
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 (grated) small ginger root
½ lb of steamed or dried fish
1 cup of dried shrimp
1 cup of palm oil
Salt ( to taste)
1. Boil the garden eggs for 12-15 minutes, then remove the skin and seeds
2. Dice the garden eggs and place in a bowl
3. Heat palm oil in a cooking pot for about 3-5 minutes in medium heat
4. Dice 1 onion and fry in the heated oil for 3 minutes
5. Add pepper powder and nutmeg to frying onions and let simmer for 3 minutes
6. Add dried shrimp to the frying onions
7. Blend tomatoes, habanero pepper and other onion ad add to the frying onions
8. Let sauce simmer for about 15 minutes on medium heat
9. Add 1 cup of water to the sauce and let simmer for another 20 minutes
10. Then add the fish and diced garden eggs to the sauce
11. Let the stew simmer for another 30-40 minutes on low heat
12. Add salt to taste
Helpful hints & more:
Garden egg is another name for eggplant
It’s called garden egg because of its eggshell color, size and shape!
If you are using your local type of eggplant ( if you are in different country), prepare it the same way as in this recipe
You can use any fish of your choosing – Tilapia, cod, haddock, etc
This stew goes well with boiled yams, green or red plantains, rice and even boiled potatoes