Saturday, 27 February 2010

Peanut soup with rice balls

There are so many ways to make this recipe and mine's no different - a few tweaks, an ad-hoc addition or two, coupled with an hour lovingly stirring, chopping and sieving and you have my rendition of possibly my favourite Ghanaian comfort food - peanut soup with rice balls. Taste wise there are many layers to this dish - the buttery smoothness of the peanut with the underlying kick of pepper rounded with a delicate hit of garlic. It's really easy to make, so roll up your sleeves and get cooking! Results and comments always appreciated.

The Goodies
                                                            200g white rice
300g goat meat                                    2 1/2 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic                                      1 tsp black pepper
2 scotch bonnet peppers                      3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 medium sized onion                           1 tbsp tomato puree
4 fresh tomatoes                                  Crushed peanuts (handful)
A bunch of Okra                                  Half red pepper for garnish
1 vegetable stock cube                         850 ml water

Start by chopping your goat meat and onion into largish pieces and adding to a large pot along with 1 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of black pepper and the 2 peppers; mince the garlic cloves nice and finely and chuck in. The trick is to dry fry the lot WITHOUT oil for about 5 - 10 minutes on a medium heat, the fat from the meat will provide the juices to fry the mixture. Next, add your tomatoes whole to the pot with the stock cube and gently pour in 700 ml of water and bring to the boil (smells good already, right?) Once boiling, add tomato puree and the peanut butter, leave on a medium/high heat for 10 minutes, stirring gently intermittently.

On a separate hob, add rice to a pot and cover with water and boil until water has evaporated and remove from stove. The rice should be a dry, sticky consistency when the water has dissipated, if not, cook a little longer with a small amount of water to achieve this. Meanwhile, remove tomatoes from soup and mash the tomatoes through the sieve, extracting all the juice until the skin remains and then discard. Add the okra at this point, the remaining salt and 150 ml of water, return to a medium heat for about 10 minutes. With a potato masher, mash the cooked rice until sticky and then form into medium sized balls with fingers. Ladle spoonfuls of soup into bowls and garnish with the red pepper and crushed peanuts. Pile rice balls into a small bowl, the idea is to dunk the rice into the soup, but I love to break them apart and stir them through the broth. The recipe is for 3-4 people, so ideally invite some friends around, or if you just can't bare the thought of parting with your peanut soup, freeze the rest. So, followers, what do you think?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Grilled chilli ginger snapper with Jollof rice

The second recipe of HP doesn't need much introduction to those in the know about Ghanaian food, but for those newbies and lurkers amongst us it's easy enough to whisk up, using simple, fresh ingredients and a bit of time in the ktichen. Snapper and Tilapia are a staple fish in Ghana whilst Jollof rice is the Paella of West Africa, eaten with just about everything and each country has its own rendition.


1 medium to large red snapper
1 large clove of garlic
1/2 tps freshly grated hot ginger (easily obtained from any African market, although standard ginger will suffice)
1/2 tps hot chili flakes (a touch more, if you like it hot!)
1 tbs peanut/ground nut oil
1 tbs water
Generous pinch of salt and black pepper.

For the rice

250 grams long grain rice
1 250 gram carton of sieved tomaotes
1 finely chopped white onion
1 level tps salt
1 tps black pepper
1 tps ground coriander
1/2 green or yellow pepper.

Begin by washing and liberally covering the snapper with the salt and black pepper, making sure to cover the inside of the fish. Grate the ginger and garlic into a small bowl and add the chilli, oil and water and mix together. Brush mixture over fish and begin grilling for about 15 minutes on a bed of foil on a medium heat making sure to turn halfway.

For the rice, start by finely dicing the onion and adding to a large pan and then frying in a little oil until onions start to soften slightly. Next, add the carton of tomatoes, then add the salt and black pepper and ground coriander to the pan and heat for roughly 5 minutes on a medium heat and stir once to prevent sticking.
Boil 500 ml of water and add to the pan along with the rice, turn the heat up a notch, stir and cover. Now, check periodically as the rice will absorb the water and tomatoes turning a deep orange, this usually takes around 20 minutes, but times can vary slightly. Be careful to stir the rice only once or twice during cooking time, or the rice can become mushy. Add the chopped peppers with 10 minutes of cooking time left. Don't forget to check the snapper!

As an addition, I like to add a splash of colour in the way of a really quick and easy salad of tomatoes and red onion. Simply chop a bunch of cherry tomatoes and a small red onion and add to a bowl, sprinkle generously with aromat seasoning and 1 tbs of garlic oil and a handful of freshly chopped coriander. Of course this dish is delicious, but aesthetically, I love the riot of earthy, fresh colours - the contrast of the deep orange Jollof rice with the crispy speckled skin of the fish.