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Monday, April 18, 2011

Gizzard Sauce with Pasta

I love Pasta! The only reason I haven't featured a pasta dish here is because "they" say I need to lose weight and it is one of the big No-No's! That said, every now and then I indulge. I made some Macaroni with Gizzard stew over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Here are my ingredients:
1 kg Gizzard
500g Macaroni
4 or 5 Cloves of Garlic
3 Onions
10 Tomatoes
8 Peppers
2 Green / Bell Peppers
1 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
1 cup Cooking Oil

Wash the Gizzard well and season with  1/2 an Onion blended smooth with The garlic, salt, some black pepper and a very tiny bit of Ginger.

Place in a covered pot and steam for 10 - 15 minutes. It doesn't contain as much water as say, chicken or meat so you will need to add a cup or two of water after it steams for a while.

In another pot, bring about 2 litre of water to boil. (The pot should be large enough to contain the uncooked pasta, halfway.) When the water boils, add a teaspoonful of salt and add the pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes. When I was about 12 or 13, my aunt taught me an interesting way of telling when spaghetti was cooked. When it got soft, I would take one out of the boiling water and fling it at an oil-painted wall or tile. If it stuck to the wall / tile, it was cooked. If it fell off, I was to give it a few more minutes. It served me well : ) When it is cooked, pour it into a colander, siting in the sink. leave it to drain for a few minutes and then put it back into the pot.

Finely chop the remaining 2 and a half onions. Blend the tomatoes and pepper. Toss in the puree when the tomatoes are blended just to mix it in.

Heat the cooking oil in a pan and fry the gizzard. You may need to work in 2 or 3 batches depending on the size of you pan. Return the now browned gizzard to the stock  you cookied it in.

Keep the pan on the fire but reduce the oil and then add the chopped onions. Fry the onions until they turn translucent and start to brown.

Add the blended tomatoes, pepper and puree, and cover for 5 minutes.
Uncover and allow it to simmer and reduce the liquid in it.

As the water reduces, it will start to fry, if it is sticking, add a little of the oil you removed earlier.
Fry it dry till it is almost beginning to burn and you have to stir continuously to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add the stock (about 2 cups, add water if need be) and gizzard to the sauce, cover and leave to simmer.
Uncover about 3 - 5 minutes later and lower the heat, allow to thicken gently. When it thickens enough, taste it and add salt if necessary then add the chopped Green peppers and leave on for a minute or so.

Serve with the pasta.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Waakye with Fried Fish and Wele stew

This is not the first time I have made rice and beans, but I would just use regular black eyed peas/beans with white rice. It tasted good but could hardly be called Waakye. Last weekend I decided to go all out and make the kind of waakye I go out and buy almost everyday.

Here are my Ingredients:

4 cups Brown Rice
3 cups red beans
3 millet stalks
3 medium Tilapia (cut into 3 each)
1 pound of wele (cow skin) cut into sizeable pieces
8-10 medium sized tomatoes
2 medium sized onions
8 Peppers
Cooking oil
2 Maggi cubes
Black Pepper

I start by soaking the beans overnight. I find that it not only softens them and reduces cooking time, but it makes it easier to pick out stones and such, which I do and then put the beans on to boil.

You could also season the fish with some salt, black pepper and one Maggi shrimp cube and leave overnight, otherwise, you could just do that 10 to 15 minutes before you fry it.

Wash the millet stalks to remove any dirt or dust. Do this quickly since the colour starts to run as soon as they get wet. Cut them into lengths of 3 to 4 inches, toss them in with the boiling beans and allow then to cook together.

Pick through the brown rice if you have to. There are a few husks of rice that are better not found in the waakye as well as stones depending on how "brown" your rice is. I bought mine from a lady in Kaneshie market who had brown rice that had been picked as well as a cheaper version she said hadn't been picked. The price difference wasn't equal to the amount of work I saw looming ahead of me, so I chose the picked version.

Wash and drain your rice and add it to the beans as soon as they are cooked, add salt and some water if necessary and cook as you would cook rice.

Now as you may have noticed from the picture, I left the millet stalks in and cooked the rice with them in ... don't do that. It is easier to remove them before adding the rice than when they are cooked with the rice, as I found out the hard way.

Blend the tomatoes and pepper. Chop the onions and heat about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and start frying the onions.

When the onions turn translucent and just start to brown around the edges, add the tomato puree.

Add a Maggi cube some salt and cover for about 5 minutes to allow the tomatoes to cook.

Uncover and allow the sauce to simmer down and start to fry. Fry the stew till it is dry and almost sticking ...

... then add the wele and  a cup or 2 of water depending on how thick or tough your wele is. The tougher it is, the more water you will need. Cover and simmer on a low fire. when the stew thickens and the wele is the desired texture (a fork can go through), you don't want to over cook it as it will become a gooey gluey mess.

Heat 1/2 a cup of oil in a pan. When it is hot, lower the heat and gently place the fish into it making sure to space them enough that they don't touch. If they do, the will tear when you try to turn them. Fry each side for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Using a spatula or fork, turn the fish, if there is significant resistance leave it for a minute or so, then try turning again, when it is ready, it should turn easily. When it is evenly cooked, remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Continue till all the fish is fried.
Serve the Waakye with the Fish and Wele stew. Enjoy!!


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