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Monday, August 30, 2010

Kontomire with Chicken & Yam

Ghanaians enjoy a wide variety of meats and fish both fresh water and marine, and so tend to have more than one type in a dish. In Kontomire stew for instance, you could have beef, wele (cow skin), oysters and smoked tuna. For this recipe, chose to use just chicken. I don't think chicken mixes very well with other meats so I just use it on its own.

Ingredients I used are:
2 pounds chicken
1 pound washed chopped Kontomire leaves. (about GH¢0.50 worth)
1 1/2 cup ground Agushi (melon seed)
1 cup Palm oil
2 medium sized onions
1/2 onion (blended smooth)
10 - 12 medium sized tomatoes
15 - 20 kpakpo shito (green peppers)
1 tuber of yam
Maggi cube
salt

 
Start by removing the chicken skin, cutting it into desired sizes and washing it thoroughly.

Spice the chicken with 1/2 a blended onion, 1 maggi cube, some salt and black pepper. mix it all in and steam the chicken, just until it turns white and produces stock.

 
Chop the onions ...

 
... and blend the tomatoes together with the pepper.

 
Pour the Agushi into a bowl and add about 1/2 a teaspoon of salt to it,

 
then pour in enough water to cover it and leave it to soak.

The kontomire could be shredded from the stalks, boiled and mashed, or just chopped like i prefer.


Heat the palm oil in a pot and add onions. Fry until the onions are soft, then add the tomatoes and cover. Simmer it all down till it starts to fry. Stir it for about 3 minutes then add the chicken pieces. Fry a little more until it starts to stick.

Stir gently then add the kontomire.


 
Stir it in, add the stock and leave it to simmer


Add the soaked Agushi, stir it in gently and leave it to simmer. After a few minutes, the agushi starts to clump in the sauce. Stirring too much will break up the clumps, so either stir gently or lift the pot and 'shake' it to move this around.

 
Simmer it on a very low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Only add extra salt after the stock and Agushi are in since they both contain salt.



Turn it off sooner if you reach your preferred thickness.

Peel the tuber of yam and cut into even pieces. Add enough water to cover all the yam, add some salt and boil. When a fork can pass through, it is ready. Pour off the excess water and serve with the knotomire stew.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tilapia in Garden Egg Stew


I haven't posted anything in a while because I had a bout of Malaria. I'm all better now and so we get back to cooking!

I prepared what I have for the longest time considered to be Fante-Fante. A good friend passed by as I was uploading my pictures and promptly announced that THIS is NOT fante-fante. This sparked a heated debate, at the end of which, I was not convinced. I need further clarification, so if anyone can shed light on this, it just might lighten the strain on a very good friendship. : D

Anyway, the ingredients I used are:

4 medium size Tilapia (cut into 3 pieces each)
8 large Garden Eggs
10 Medium size Tomatoes
12 - 15 Hot peppers
2 Large Onions
3/4 cup Palm Oil
1 large Maggi Shrimp cube
1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
Salt

Scale and the Tilapia (if not already done) and wash it thoroughly, making sure all the scales and entrails are removed. Some people like to leave the gills in, but I take them out. Shake off all excess water.


Crumble the Maggi cube over the Tilapia and sprinkle the black pepper and about a teaspoon of salt on it. Toss the fish gently to get the seasoning all over it. Too vigorously and the fish may start to get mashed. However fresh fish is quite firm, so gently tossing it is fine. Leave to marinate for about 10 - 15 minutes.

Wash the garden eggs . Cut off the stalks and slice each in half lengthwise. This allows them to cook faster. Place in a pot and add enough water to cover and boil. When the flesh starts to look transparent and seperates from the skin, it is cooked. About 10 - 15 minutes.

Wash and blend the tomatoes and pepper till smooth.

Chop up the onions.

Place the oil in a pot big enough to comfortably hold all the ingredients and heat. Remember, the fish needs enough room in the pot or it will be mashed up.

When the oil is hot, add the onions and fry till they are soft.

When the onions are cooked, add the blended tomatoes and pepper and leave to simmer. Allow all the water to evaporate while stirring intermitently. Fry for an additional 5 minutes after the water evaporates but making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.

Meanwhile, remove the skin and seeds from the flesh of the garden eggs and discard. Usind an earthenware pot (Asanka), mash the garden eggs until a semi-smooth paste is made. Don't blend because you want to retain some texture. You could also just roughly chop the garden eggs, just be sure to squish some to get some parts pastey.

Add the garden egg paste to the sauce and add 1/2 a cup of water.


Bring it to a simmer and add the Tilapia. Once the fish is added, reduce the heat under the pot and stir the fish in gently, making sure as much of the fish as possible is covered by the sauce. leave it to simmer gently for another 15 minutes. Stir occassionaly to make sure it isn't sticking, but be sure not to mash up the fish. If you are sure it isn't sticking, you could even just lift the pot by the handles and give it a shake, rotating the sauce colckwise , the anti-clockwise sor of like steering. Do this until desired thickness of stew is achieved. (10 minutes)

Peel a tuber of yam and cut into desired sizes, wash the pieces thoroughly to get all the sand off, then place in a pot, add enough water to cover, add salt to taste and boil. Cook until a fork goes trough easily. Drain off the water and serve hot with the Tilapia stew.
You could also serve the Stew with boiled plantain, ripe or unripe.
It also goes well with Eba (Gari cooked with hot water) or plain rice.
Let me know you variations of this dish. Aslo please let me know if you would consider this fante-fante? and if not, what is fant-fante to you?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Groundnut Stew (with a Guinean twist)

Most Ghanaians tend to cook soups in large quantities. In the case of Groundnut/Peanut butter soup, we usually eat it as soup the day it is made, and then thicken it down to a stew.

This is a Guinean version which really is a stew. You could use any number of meats to prepare it; Beef, Goat meat, Pork, Mutton, Chicken, Fish, Oxtail, etc. and most of the time, combinations of them. For this post, I decided to use just Chicken, because that was what my friends used when showing me how to prepare it.



Ingredients

2 pounds chicken

1 Margerine tin /500 ml Peanut butter

1 Large Onion

8-10 Tomatoes

15-20 Peppers (kpakpo shito)

1/2 cup Cooking Oil

1 Tablespoon Tomato puree

4 Cloves Garlic

1 Large Maggi cube

Salt


Cut and wash the chicken. Leave the skin on it you like it, I don't but left it on like in the original recipe. Crush or finely chop the garlic, crumble the maggi cube and then add about a teaspoon of salt. Toss it and leave to marinate for about 10-15 minutes.

While the chicken marinates, slice the onion into half circles ...

.. add the pepper to the tomatoes and blend till smooth.

Scoop the peanut butter into a bowl. Add 1 1/2 - 2 cups of water. Then with clean fingers, mash the peanut butter into the water till they are mixed into a waterier, runnier paste.

Heat the cooking oil in a large pot.

When the oil is hot, add all the chicken. It should instantly start to sizzle but eventually settle down to steam.

Add the onions and stir them in, allowing them to fry with the chicken.

After about 5 minutes when the chicken turns white and the stock mixes with the oil, add the tomato puree. Fry the chicken and puree for a couple more minutes...


... then add the blended tomatoes. Gently stir them in and cover. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes so the tomatoes can cook. Stir occassionaly to prevent it sticking to the bottom.

Add the peanut butter mixture to the pot and leave to simmer gently. Lower the fire so it doesn't burn.
When the oil starts to come to the surface, it is almost ready. Continue simmering until you reach your desired thickness.
Serve this on a bed of rice, with boiled yam, potatoes, cocoyam or plantain, it goes with everything.
Give this a try and let me know how it turned out.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Banku with Okro Soup

 

Ingredients:

1 pound of Beef
1/2 pound of Wele (cow skin)
1/2 medium sized Salmon
1 pound chopped Okro
1 mediun tomato
1 large Onion
10 - 15 peppers (kpakpo shito)
3 or 4 Garden Eggs
1/2 cup Palm Oil
Corn Dough
Cassava Dough
Salt

 
Chop the onion and cut and season the meat. Leave it to marinate for about 15 minutes.

 
Put the meat in a pot and and steam. Don't add any water, the meat will release it's juices. If the juices are drying up, but the meat is tough, add some water and keep on fire till it is tender enough for your taste.
 
Meanwhile you can blend the tomatoe and pepper. The mixture will come out looking more green than red since there is just one tomato.

 
Wash and cut the wele into 2 to 2 inch rolls and wash thoroughly. Dependin on where you got it and what state it was in, you may have to peel a black layer from the inside. You can have this done at the market. When you get it from a supermarket, this is already done. If it is very thick and hard, steam it in salted water with some bay leaves. Some people steam it with the meat, but I think it overwhealms the taste and smell of the meat.

 
If you haven't chopped the okro, now would be a good time to do it. I usually chop it as soon as I get back from the market, then freeze it till i need it. Keeping it in the fridge for a few days is alright but longer than that and it tends to become tough and stringy.

 
Cut the stalks off the Garden eggs then cut them lengthwise down the middle. Put them in a pot with enough water to cover them then bring to a boil. Cover and cook till the white fleshy part turns translucent (10-15 minutes). Seperate the flesh from the seeds and skin, add a little water and blend till smooth.


Heat the Palm oil in a pot and fry the onions.

 
Fry until they get soft but not long enough to start browning. Add the tomato/pepper pure and simmer till the liquid evaporates and it begins to fry.



While the sauce cooks, get your salmon ready. If is straight from the market, just split it down the middle and rinse out the insides (the inside are not removed from fish that is to be smoked) as well as the outside. Be sure to keep the skin. It is a personal favourite of mine although some people don't like it. If you are like me, you probably buy a batch and freeze, in which case just take out however much you want to use.

 
Add the salmon, meat, wele and garden egg puree. Strir gently for a minute or 2 then add a cup of water and lower the fire.

Put the chopped Okro in a pot, add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking/coking soda or a small lump of Kanwe (the local version easily got in the market). Keep stirring till it gets very slimey, that is what we are aiming for. The slimier it gets, the better.

 
After a while it will be bubbling up. When it threatens to boil over the edge of the pot, it is ready.

 
Add the okro to the main pot and stir it in.

 
Lower the fire some more and leave to simmer gently.

 
The rule I live by when making Banku is, 1 portion of Cassava dough to 2 portions of Corn Dough. So in this case, I used 1 pound of Cassava dough to 2 pounds of Corn dough. Cassava dough tends to be more lumpy and have in it, unmilled pieces of cassava, and so is prepared first. Place it in a container and add just enough water to cover it (about 1 1/2 cups for 1 pound). Now with clean hands, mix and mash up all the dough to form a watery paste. Pick out all the lumps and fibre that are in it. This may take a while (2-5 minutes). When all are removed, pour the mixture into a pot and repeat the process with the corn dough.

 
When this is done, add 1 teaspoon of salt and place on fire. Using a wooden spoon/spatula (there is a locally adapted spoon/spatula/paddle made especially for Banku and similar dishes), stir continuously until it starts to thicken. It needs the constant motion of stirring to keep it from turning lumpy prematurely.

 
As it progresses, it will start to gather at the bottom of the spoon and will need more and more force to stir it. Reduce the heat. Now use a dish cloth or towel to hold the pot in place, and still with the wooden spoon, start to knead it. Do this for about 5 minutes resting intermitently. Add 1 cup of waterand move the mass of soon-to-be banku until it is almost floating in the water. Use the wooden spoon to make a few holes in the mass so that the just added water can get all around. Increase the fire and cover.


 
As the water boils and evaporates, it is cooking the dough further. Turn it a few times during this process (About 5 Minutes). When the water is almost finished, turn down the heat and start kneading the banku again. Another 5 minutes should do it.

 
Use a small bowl or even the woodens poon itself to shape the banku into your prefered serving sizes. I personally use the plastic spoon that comes with rice cookers since it gives me the perfect size. I spoon out one portion into a small (margerine size) plastic bags and roll up the ends. It looks nice and is very convenient for serving, storing and reheating.

 
Serve it with the Okro soup. Interestingly, Banku can be eaten with almost any soups and stews.
Just like any food, there are many variations of this dish. I would love to hear and try them. Let me know how you prepare and eat your Banku and Okro soup.

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