Sunday, 29 November 2009

It's here...

The first recipe of HP is simple yet impactful with a nod to the title of this very blog...Spicy plantain chips! In addition to being quick and easy to make, they make a great accompaniment to my sweet chilli and coriander dip. Enjoy!

Okay, firstly, you'll need the ingredients -
1) Sea salt
2) One hard, ripe plantain.
3) Cayenne pepper (optional)
4)A bunch of coriander
5) Sweet chilli sauce.


Peel and chop the plantain into very thin, even slices, then place in a bowl and sprinkle liberally with sea salt. Take a pan and fill with 2 cm of oil and heat until very hot. You can test the heat by dropping one plantain slice in the oil and if it sizzles, you're ready to fry the rest in batches.

Fry the plantain until golden brown and remove with a slotted spoon making sure to drain well. Next, place the plantain in a fairly large bowl covered with a napkin which will soak up any excess oil. Again, sprinkle with extra sea salt and a few pinches of cayenne pepper, however, use sparingly. Using your hands, mix the plantain together until evenly covered with spices.

The easiest part of this recipe is preparing the sauce. Wash and chop a small hand-ful of fresh coriander. For the sweet chilli sauce you can use any shop bought brand. Squeeze a fairly large dollop of sauce into a small bowl and mix in the chopped coriander, leaving some to sprinkle on the top. Tuck in!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Ghanaian cuisine: what you need to know

1) Peppers are used liberally in most dishes, to add flavour and essentially heat - sometimes with enough intensity to fuel a NASA rocket! Ghanaian's are serious about pepper, but don't worry, we'll start off lightly.
2) Ghanaian food is often characterised by two elements, a simple carbohydrate and a protein - like the household staple - Banku and Okra stew - Eh?! I hear you cry! Don't worry, you'll learn about all the complex and interesting names of dishes soon - I need to break ya in slowly!
3) Fish features heavily, especially dishes from the Accra region which is near to the coast. Buying meat is considered a sign of wealth
4) It's actually very simple, all the work comes from the preparation using key methods like pounding, frying and stewing.
5) Ghanaians like to eat with their hands - messy, hmmm...i'm inclined to agree, but it makes it all the more authentic and fun.
6) Tomatoes, fresh garlic and onions...other staple ingredients. It's nice to feel a sense of familiarity with produce we all know and love with a cuisine we may know nothing about.
7) Ghanaians eat in 'spots' rather than restaurants, which are homely, no frills affairs serving home fresh food at literally give-away prices.
8) Cocoa is Ghana's second largest export, but surprisingly, cocoa features in virtually none of Ghana's cuisine.
9) Street food is big business in Ghana, especially in the cities. Stews, Kebabs, snacks and local pastries can all be found from road side hawkers to women on foot balancing large food laden troughs on their heads - a sight to behold!
10) Ever had Chinese food Ghanaian style? No, of course not, it's as crazy as having sushi with chips and tomato sauce, but it exists and you'll see how!

Hot Plantain - so, what's it all about?

After toying with the idea for a couple of months, I finally decided to put finger to key pad and bring you - Hot Plantain - as the title suggests, it's a tentative exploration through the deliciously murky world of Ghanaian cuisine. Goat meat, Okra stews and lashings of pepper and ginger - sound good? Great, grab yourself a glass of water because your food's gonna get hot!