Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ghana

Flag of Ghana.svg

"Flag of Ghana". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Background: First sub-Saharan African country in colonial Africa to gain independence
Location: West African, bordering Cote d'Ivoire and Togo
Size: Almost 240,000 sq km; 82nd largest in the world
         Slightly smaller than Oregon
Population: About 25.75 million; 49th largest in the world
Source: CIA Worldfactbook

This one was a while ago, so bear with my memory.  This was during that glorious time where first-trimester wooziness was gone and third-trimester oh-my-god-I-only-want-to-sleep hadn't started.  What better to do with that time than cook African food?

As always, there was a lot of searching involved.  It was a bit easier to find Ghanaian recipes than many other countries.  There were lists like the 10 Ghanaian Foods You Must Eat Before You Die.  Fact: I found this list after I did this cooking and picked some different foods because I couldn't remember that I had already done Ghana.  AKA pregnancy brain.  Now I really want Strawberry Fool.

But anyway, in the end, this recipe for Chicken Stew with Rice and Plantain was the winner.  I don't entirely remember why, other than I hadn't made it yet and it didn't involve peanuts.  Hurray!

Separating a chicken?  I've got this down.  Although, looking at the pictures, I'm pretty sure I bought one already cut up.  Totally worth the little extra money.

Then some pepper, salt, garlic, and Maggi cubes.  Remember those?  We also used them for The Gambia.  I love getting to reuse some of these things!



For some reason I really like seasoning chicken like this before you cook it.  It just seems to permeate a little better.  This particular cooking method was a little different than what I usually do.  No oil or butter.  No water.  And the amount of time to cook was variable depending on the type.  I didn't know what "layer" and "broiler" types meant, so I just kept a watch on it.

There was also a chance to use my missing-lid blender for the tomatoes and peppers.  I don't specifically remember what kind of peppers I used, although I'm fairly certain we didn't use 10-12 like is recommended.  

Look how clean my counters were back then...

So, you steam the chicken, and then fry it.  I like where this is going...
Then you take out the chicken and start adding other things to the chicken-y oil.  Onions (always onions), curry powder, tomato puree, and then the blender mixture.

In the meantime, I also started working on the plantains.  Brendan colored.
The plantains basically get salted and fried.  The chicken gets added to the onion, tomato, etc mixture and simmered for a while.  In my case, I also started up my rice cooker.  Things start to come together.


Can we talk for a second about how good curry powder smells?  I really don't know why I don't use it more often.  I tend to associate the word curry with Indian or Thai cuisine, which is where the terminology originated.  Also, a curry powder is not just one thing, like basil or turmeric.  It is a mixture of spices, and therefore not necessarily universally the same.  Now you know.  (Thanks Wikipedia.)

Chicken on the rice.  Plantains on the side.  A salad for good measure.  Time to eat!
Give me food!
To be fair, this was quite a while ago.  But, from what I remember, we liked it.  It was good.  Spicy.  Flavorful.  Good.  Really spicy

I wouldn't say it wholly unique, but then again after you do a lot of food from one area that isn't too surprising.  It is a slightly different way of doing something that ends up a bit familiar.  But still tasty.  Another African win.  Yay!

Next time: Greece