Thursday, 23 July 2015

Kaakro (Spicy Plantain Fritters)

Kaakro is a Ghanaian dish made from over ripe plantains mashed and spiced with ginger, onions, cloves, chilli and local spices. It's a great way to use your over ripe plantains. Kaakro is usually served with some beans sauce, either blackeye beans stew or bambara beans stew. It's quite a filling meal so it's normally eaten for brunch or lunch. The picture shows beans stew to the left and bambara stew to the right.


INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 ripe plantain (over ripened)
  • ½ medium size onion
  • Tiny piece of scotch bonnet pepper (to your taste)
  • Tiny piece of red pepper (either banana or birds eye chili)
  • Fresh ginger (thumb size or to your taste)
  • 3 tbsp of plain flour
  • 1 Maggie shrimp 
  • 4 cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil (preferably palm oil) for deep frying
METHOD:

  1. Peel and cut up the onion and ginger. Place in a food processor or blender, traditionally it is grinded in an earthenware mortar shown in the picture, add the scotch bonnet pepper, maggie and cloves. Grind/blend the mixture until smooth. When using the blender, do not blend to into a fine paste. What you want is a coarse texture. For this post, I used the blender to blend it coarsely, I then used the pestle and mortar to mash it into a smooth paste. If you own a mortar and pestle it is better to use it as the flavour and texture you get from it is lovely.


  2. Now add the salt to taste. 
  3. Peel the plantains and cut up into pieces. Add to the onion mixture and grind/blend together. Ideally, you want a lumpy thick mixture. Over blending gives a very smooth runny mixture. The earthenware mortar is great to give a good texture. If the plantain is not over ripened, it is difficult to mash it.


  4. Add the flour and mix well.
  5. Heat up the oil in a shallow frying pan. When the oil is very hot, spoon the Kaakro mixture into the oil, about 1 heaped tbsp for one.
  6. Let it fry until golden brown on one side and turn it over. When the kaakro is cooked it will rise up to the surface and it is easier to turn. You may want to reduce your heat so that it cooks right through without burning.

  7. Remove cooked kaakro and place on a kitchen towel to drain most of the oil.
  8. Serve the kaakro with blackeye beans stew or bambara beans sauce.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Watermelon & Ginger Drink

I remember my days in Ghana, as a young child, during the rainy season (between April to November) when my dad would return from the hinterlands with loads of fruits such as mangoes, oranges, banana and watermelon. I loved fruits and I could live on it the whole day! What I enjoyed most, was a well chilled watermelon on a hot day. There is nothing satisfying as biting into the flesh of the watermelon which is succulent with the chilled juice oozing into your mouth, aaah it was so refreshing! Because the fruits were in abundance, sometimes, we had to find ways of preserving it or just to create variety. One of the ways was to make drink out of them. So today, I share with you, the watermelon drink I used to enjoy as a little child. I hope you will enjoy it too. Please don't forget to leave a feedback or comment when you try it.

INGREDIENTS:
    
  • 1200g peeled and deseeded watermelon
  • 85g fresh ginger peeled
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 litre water 
  • Sugar Syrup Sweetener:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

METHOD:

1. Wash the whole watermelon and peel it. Make sure all the white bits are cut from the flesh. The white bits make the juice a bit sour.
2. Cut up the flesh into chunks and remove any seeds. Luckily, I used a seedless watermelon in this recipe.
3. Cut up the peeled fresh ginger.
4. Put the watermelon, ginger and cloves in a smoothie maker or blender. Add some of the water and blend. Blend in batches if required.
5. Strain the blended mixture using a colander.
6. For the sugar syrup, add the water to the sugar in a pot and place over heat. Stir continuously until the sugar has melted. Switch off the heat and allow it to cool.


7. Add the sugar syrup to the watermelon drink and stir. This sweetening step can be omitted if the watermelon used is very sweet or if you want a very healthy option.
8. Bottle and chill the watermelon drink. Serve well chilled on ice and with chunks of water melon.