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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.

33 comments:

  1. This is just like I do it, only I chop the garden egg into cubes. I don't blend.

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  2. I see, seeing who taught you to cook, I should probably try it. lol Your mum can cook! Matter of fact we should feature her here. What do you say Aunty Yaa?

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  3. I'm definitely gonna try cooking this on my own. Been missing banku since my student years in Gh. Thank u so much for this recipe!

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  4. You are welcome Kanzulu and please let me know how it turns out.

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  5. Chef lady, i can do it and will do it at weekend. Thanks for your reminding.
    Rachel

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  6. Thanks for all your comments Rachel, it is great to get feedback :)

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  7. I did this with more Ghanaian ingredients and it came out great...please keep the wonderful recipes coming.

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  8. Thanks so much for passing through. Could you tell me what ingredients you used in yours? And I hope you took a picture of the food. I would like share it here. Happy Holidays!!

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  9. I am loving this recipe. What distinguishes this recipe and its presentation on the web page from others i have seen is that at every step you get to see result. THis is unique. I give you thumbs up

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  10. Thanks for the encouragement. Sometime it can be a whole juggling act trying to take pictures while i cook and not burn stuff, but I enjoy it so much, it is totally worth it.

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  11. hi I am also loving this post.It is great and beautiful.its better than the other sites ive seen and its really helped me in my biotech assignment since we are working on fermented foods.keep up the good work and all the best

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    Replies
    1. I'm so glad my love of food can come in handy for your assignment. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. thanks for your recipes, I have been looking for a practical website for Ghanaian dishes foe months and then chance upo this on facebook. Finally I can add up to mmy family's menu. God bless and will be looking out for more.

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  13. Thanks for the detailed recipe. Can you please put up the recipe for tz and soup for me. Thank you

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  14. this hw i most at times prepare my okro soup but it stop slimmy when am ready to eat it...why does it stop slimmy after cooking and ready to serve

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  15. Hi, sorry I took so long to reply. One of the reasons for losing the slime of the okro is covering it when you are done cooking. The steam cuts the slime just as effectively as tomatoes do. So avoid both and you should be good.

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  16. This is my son's FAVORITE Ghanaian dish (besides Banku and Pepper Fish), I am going to try this recipe, adapted with local ingredients (we live in rural southern Illinois :-)). What are Garden Eggs and what might the closest vegetable substitute be that I might be able to find in a typical US grocery store be? Squash? They look divine! We have okra (okro) growing in our garden, so I can use fresh okra.

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    Replies
    1. Egg plant is a great substitute for garden eggs.

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  17. God bless you for posting this! My friends and I are away for school and we have been craving some banku!
    This recipe really helped us out! lol

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    Replies
    1. That's great to know. I hope you tried some of the other recipes here.

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  18. I leave in miami about a month ago and I miss banku and okra stew.. If someone can help me buy sone of ingredient. . And where can I get ghanaian food to buy. .

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    Replies
    1. Henry, I'm sorry but at the moment, i have no idea how you can get Ghanaian food in Miami. I'm working on a few things so hopefully we can sort you out soon :) All the best

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  19. is vary interesting i will try to do it probably this weekend is vary simple i love that thanks a lot

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    Replies
    1. Daniel did you try it? Let us know how it went.

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  20. I'm going to try it... The one I know is the one with cut garden eggs.. So after boiling it you have to blend it

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  22. Haven't made banku since before my grandmother passed away, which was like 13years ago, made it today using this recipe turned out great thanks

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