Sunday, 30 May 2010

Black bean and carrot stew

I was given a mission by a friend who was coming for dinner: prepare a vegetarian Ghanaian dish. Okaaaayyy, I thought; simple right? Just whack together some okra, tomatoes and garlic and my meat-loathing mate would be none the wiser. Wrong! He'd susssed out the blog and basically knew what I was capable of, so he was expecting something a little more elaborate than a basic, generic tomato stew with a few bits of okra. Damn, what to do? Does vegetarianism exist in Ghanaian society? Well, not really; telling someone in Ghana you're a veggie, is like telling a true Ga man that the Nigerian government are taking over Ghana: you can imagine the reaction; not worth thinking about, believe me. So, here is my veggie dish: Black bean and carrot stew, aka Yor flo in the Ga language of Southern Ghana. Feedback appreciated, folks.

3 medium tomatoes
1 finely chopped onion
2 tbsp virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic
2 large carrots
200g Black eye beans
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp Mace
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
1 fresh tuna steak or 1 small tin of tuna (optional)
A few springs of fresh parsley for garnish

In a small pan half-filled with water, bring to a boil the black eye beans and once boiling, turn down to a medium heat and stew for around an hour, or until partly soft. Take off heat, cover and set aside. Next, soften the onions slightly in the oil on a low heat and add the allspice, mace, black pepper, salt and chilli powder and continue to heat on a low setting, mixing intermittently. Meanwhile, blend together the tomatoes and garlic and add to the pan of onions, mix together and add the black beans and cumin seeds. If using the tuna, grill for 3 minutes on each side, cut up and add to the dish. Chop up the carrots and soften for a few minutes in a pan of boiling water and blend into a rough pulp and add to the ingredients. Cover and continue to cook, stirring once or twice for 10 more minutes. Take off heat and serve with a garnish of chopped parsley. This dish is ideal served with plain, boiled plantain or yam. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Easy fried chicken

Just like that - prepared and cooked with minimal fuss and oh, so tasty! So much so, that the ole' colonel from UFC (Unidentified Fried Chicken) is sniffing around for the recipe for my secret blend of herbs and spices, but I reckon he's the one who's onto the money, judging by the worrying piles of knawed fried chicken bones scattered around town! I was happily sitting on the bus one sunny day last week, when it suddenly clouded over for a few seconds - what had just happened, I wondered? It turned out we'd just passed a KFC so large, it made T5 look like a dog kennel! Only in Peckham, I thought! But the answer continues to evade me; what's the fuss with all these chicken shacks? Opinions, please?


3 chicken leg pieces

For the marinade
1/2 tsp salt
2  large minced garlic cloves
1 level tsp black pepper
1 tbsp Maggi sauce, available from all good ethnic supermarkets

For the coating
3 slices wholemeal bread
1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
A pinch of salt

Food processor
Start this recipe by washing the chicken and cutting each leg into two pieces - I also removed the skin on mine, but that's entirely optional. Put chicken into a large bowl and score randomly. Add salt, garlic, Maggi sauce and black pepper and rub well into flesh, ensuring marinade is pressed into slits - this enhances the flavour nicely - set aside.
Toast or grill the bread until crisp and break up roughly and add to the food processor - blend into fine bread crumbs and add to a bowl, mix in the chili and a pinch of salt. Finally, whisk the egg in a separate bowl. Now, heat approx 2 cm of oil in a pan until very hot - test the temperature by dropping a crumb into the oil, if it sizzles, you're ready to fry! Roll each chicken piece in the egg and then dip into bread crumbs, making sure each piece is covered well, place the chicken into the oil and fry for about 5 minutes on each side. Once all the chicken has been fried, transfer to a foil covered tray and place in a pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. Remove and devour with carefree abandon! Also, marries well with jollof rice!