Friday, 28 August 2015

Suya Grilled Sardines, Octopus and Shrimps


Seafood is always a feature in Ghanaian meals, particularly with dishes native to tribes that live along the coast such as the Ga's and Fante's. A good Ga meal will be some hot soft Ga Kenkey with fried fish, shrimps, meko (scotch bonnet salsa) and shito. Most of the time, the fish is fried to help preserve it for longer but there is also a favourite method which takes the fish to a whole new level. Grilling, yes charcoal grilled fish is the ultimate process which takes the fish and Kenkey dish to a another level. When grilling, Ghanaians love to marinate with these spices: suya, onions, ginger and garlic, at least one of these would feature in the marinade. In Ghana we would charcoal grill the fish, this brings another dimension to the fish, the charred spice on the fish is just so yummy. Pair it with some meko and you'll be in heaven. 
I wanted to create this goodness with some fresh sardines and seafood I bought from the Asian market the other day. So I put all the lovely spices together and used this marinate the fish and seafood. As I didn't have a charcoal grill at the time, I used a combination of oven baking and grilling to achieve a similar effect. It came out really well. So below is the recipe, try it out and don't forget to leave a feedback.

INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 Medium Size Sardines (gutted and cleaned)
  • 6 Small Octopus (cleaned)
  • 10 Shrimps (hard shell shrimps)
  • 2 Tbsp Suya (Kyinkyinga) Powder 
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Medium Size Onion (sliced)
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic (grated)
  • Thumb Size Fresh Finger (grated)
  • 1 Tsp Crayfish Powder or Maggie Cube
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil 
METHOD:

1. Cut slits on both sides of the sardines and place in a baking tray. Add the octopus and shrimps, arranging them nicely in the tray.


2. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil, black pepper, grated garlic, grated ginger, 1 table spoon suya powder and the Maggie or crayfish powder. Add the salt to taste


3. Rub this mixture on the fish, octopus and shrimps. Ensure that slits in the sardines are filled with the spice mixture.
4. Now sprinkle the seafood with the other spoon of suya. Add the sliced onions.


5. Place in a preheated oven at 200oC.
6. Let is bake till it’s cooked. Drain a bit of the excess water if it is too much.
7. Now put it under a grill to get the char grill effect. Once it’s charred a bit, remove and serve warm.


8. Serve with scotch bonnet salsa and some kenkey, rice, banku or eba.




Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Bofrot/Puff Puff/ Ghana Style Doughnuts (Eggless method)

Bofrot, also known as Puff Puff by the Nigerians, is a well loved West African Doughnut, usually sold as street food. It is similar to any other doughnut yet slightly different. There are so many recipes for this doughnut with each giving a different texture and taste but the main ingredients are always the same i.e. Flour, sugar, yeast and water. It has taken me a while to post any recipe for Bofrot because I was trying to find the perfect and authentic recipe for the Ghanaian Bofrot. However, my recent visit back to Ghana made me realize that there isn't one perfect or authentic recipe. I remembered days as a young child buying bofrot from my favourite street vendor. There were many of them yet there was always a favourite one, that you just loved their bofrot. Every street vendor had a slightly different taste and texture to their bofrot and it was up to the customer to choose which vendor's recipe they liked best. Being back home again and tasting bofrot from different vendors made me realize, there isn't one authentic recipe, it all depends on what taste and texture you prefer. For this particular recipe, the texture and taste is what I usually find from vendors from the central region (Fantes). It's a lighter and softer bofrot. There are a number of recipes I like and I will share all with you in time. It's up to you to choose your favourite. Don't forget to leave feedback when you try out the recipes. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 340g Plain Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 14g or 2 tsp Dried Yeast
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg 
  • 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 290ml Luke Warm Water
  • Oil for Deep Frying
*Recipe adapted from Pepper and Stew

METHOD:
  1. Place the flour and all the dry ingredients in a bowl. 
  2. Mix well and make a well a the center.
      
  3. Now add the water and mix until well incorporated.
       
  4. Cover with cling film and place in a warm place for it to rise. It may take about an hour for this to happen. If not give it time for it to rise.
  5. Remove the cling film and stir the batter.
       
  6. Place the oil on the hob and let it heat up. To check if it is at the right temperature, add a tiny bit of the batter to the oil, if it rises to the top immediately and it start to brown, then the oil is ready.
       
  7. Using your hand, scoop balls of batter into the oil. Alternatively, use a table spoon to scoop the batter and with the help of another table spoon drop the batter into the oil.
  8. Stir the oil continuously to evenly distribute the heat.
  9. As the bofrot cooks up on one side, it will turn itself as you stir the oil. Once the inside is thoroughly cooked, it easily turns itself. Lower the heat to help the inside of the bofrot to cook thoroughly without burning the bofrot. Continuously stir oil and turn bofrot to get a golden brown colour.  Some prefer a darker shade of brown but be careful not to burn it.
  10. Using a slotted spoon, take out the bofrot and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
  11. Serve warm with your favourite beverage.





Friday, 21 August 2015

Waakye!

Waakye/Waache/Awaakye, as pronounced depending on which tribe one originates from in Ghana. Waakye originated with the northern tribes of Ghana and they are known to cook it best. It's however enjoyed by all Ghanaians now and it's popularly sold as a street food. It will probably top the list of the most eaten and enjoyed Ghanaian street food. As it's a heavy meal, it's normally eaten as brunch.

Waakye is basically a rice and beans dish. In the northern parts of Ghana, they have a special type of unrefined rice and red beans they use in making Waakye. However, one can get an equally good result using long grain rice and blackeye beans. The colour of a good Waakye should be reddish brown. This colour is got by adding millet leaves during the cooking stage. Another ingredient used during cooking is called Waakye Powder or Kanwe/Salt Peter/Chinese Salt (Potassium Nitrate). This helps to quickly soften the beans and it also helps to extract the colour from the beans and Waakye leaves. If you don't have Waakye Powder or Kanwe, don't panic, a good substitute is Bicarbonate of Soda. As this is salty, be careful in the amount of salt you use overall. Waakye is eaten with a good tomato based stew made with goat/cow meat, tripe, cowfoot and wele (cow hide). Ghanaians always say the best Waakye stew is made by the Northerners, they have a secret ingredient! (I'll share my version of Waakye stew later, this is as good as the Northerners stew because I was taught by my sister-in-law who is a Northerner). Waakye is served with a number of accompaniments and a good Waakye meal always comes with waakye stew, shito (black pepper sauce, see earlier post for recipe), talia (spaghetti), gari foto, fried ripe plantain, boiled egg, avocado pear and salad. With all these together, plus served on a Waakye leaf (Amala leaf), which gives a lovely scent to the Waakye, then you are in 'Waakye heaven'!
Cooking a good Waakye can sometimes be tricky but hopefully with my step by step guide lines you can get it right. 

INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 Cups Blackeye beans
  • 2 Cups Rice long grain rice (sticky rice type)
  • 4 cups Water to par boil beans and 3 cups to cook waakye
  • 2 Tsp Waakye powder or Bicarbonate of soda
  • 8 Stalks of Waakye leaves (millet leaves) tied in a bunch
  • Salt to taste
  • * I used Bicarbonate of Soda in this illustration.
  • *Overall cooking time was 1hour 15minutes.

PREPARATION:

  1. Wash beans, place in a pot, add waakye leaves tied together, 1tsp of Bicarbonate of Soda (or Waakye Powder) and add 4 cups of water. Place on the hob to boil. Waakye leaves can be found in a good shop that stocks African food. If you don’t have the leaves, don’t panic. Using the Bicarbonate of Soda is enough to bring out the colour from the beans. However, you may not get the reddish colour that comes from the Waakye leaves.
       
  2. When the beans are parboiled, that is a little bit soft, breaks apart between the fingers with a bit of pressure or has a bit of bite to it, then it’s time to add the rice.
       
  3. Add the 3cups of water to the beans and bring to the boil.
  4. Wash the rice and drain in a colander, add to the beans.
       
  5. Add the other teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda. This will cause the liquid to foam and rise to the top. Stir to prevent over spill and mix thoroughly.
       
  6. Add salt to taste and stir well.
  7. Cover with aluminium foil and lower the heat to medium to help the rice cook gently and evenly without burning. At this stage I move the pot to the smallest burner and put it on low heat.
       
  8. When the Waakye is soft, both beans and rice, remove aluminium foil and leaves. Switch off the heat and cover with lid, let the steam do its work for about 5 minutes. Then it is ready to be served. If you didn't use Waakye leaves, this stage helps the Waakye to develop a little bit more colour.
       
  9. Serve with Waakye stew, gari foto, talia, avocado pear, fried ripe plantain and shito.