Sunday, March 25, 2012

My Ghanaian Kitchen

Because food is such an important part of culture, I had been asking some of my friends to teach me how to make some local dishes. Now, if you remember from previous entries, the majority of Ghanaian food, like Kenkey, Banku, and Fufu, revolves around doughy-pastey balls (and please do not take that description out of context). But to make those dishes, it requires a lot of grinding up corn and cassava, pounding the paste, baking the dough…basically, it’s a lot of work. And for the most part, my idea of home cooking is throwing whatever I have into a skillet and mixing it with pasta. Ba-da-boom, dinner! In short, my friend and I decided to try a local dish that is a little more along my dump-stir repeat philosophy.

SO we made Jollof rice!

What’s Jollof rice? Glad you asked! Jollof rice is a spicy tomato-based rice dish, mixed with vegetables, and often times served with fried chicken or beef. I wanted to make it vegetarian, mostly because I’m afraid of raw meat, but after a series of small arguments, my friend refused (“meat, madam, meat!”), so in this instance, we made it with beef.

Here’s what you’ll need!

-5 tomatoes
-2 carrots
-2 yellow onions
-1 green pepper
-1 can tomato paste
-1 bag super-secret Ghanaian spice
-raw beef (grossssss)
-4 cups of rice
-cooking oil
-1 fire extinguisher (especially if I’m involved)
-2 packets of bullion
-1 helpful Ghanaian who actually knows what’s going on

Step 1
Wash your hands. You're dirty.

Step 2
Cover the bottom of a large pan with cooking oil. Chop one of the onions and dump it into the pot to simmer.

Step 2
Have someone other than me cook the beef.

Step 3
Chop the tomatoes, and set them aside. Chop the green pepper and carrots. Cut the other onion into large rings.

Step 4
Add the full can of tomato paste into the pot. Saying “bam” whist you do so. I made my friend say “bam” every time he added something…even though I’m pretty sure he’s never seen Emeril…

Step 5
Add the freshly chopped tomatoes and allow to simmer for..oh, let’s say 5 mins. Clearly I know what I’m talking about.

Step 6
Add the green pepper, carrots, and onion rings.

Step 7
Add cooked beef, bullion, and rice and water in the appropriate ratio. I usually add to much water and end up with mushy rice :P

Step 8
Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, adding super-secret spice to taste, until water is no more.

Step 9
Eat your yummy Jollof rice.

And last but not least…

Step 10
Make your helpful Ghanaian do the dishes…I mean…he offered…I'm not gonna say no :D

Now hopefully I will be able to make this on my own. If I can manage to sneak some spices through customs, I will be making this when I’m home in July.

Who wants to do the dishes for me??

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