Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Food from Uganda: Achiro's Taste

While lamenting the paucity of Ugandan cookbooks to some new acquaintances at a recent wedding, Dr. Brenda Okech said,  "Oh, I can send you one when I go back home to Uganda."

This was in December, 2018. In March another woman confirmed my address and said months ago she was given a book to mail to me.

It arrived soon after, and I'm pleased to present it as the latest addition to the Africa Cookbook Collection. It is by Ugandan writer Achiro P. Olwoch from Gulu, in Northern Uganda in 2013. Thank you to all involved in getting it to me: Dr. Okech, the friend Faith, who mailed it, and my new family member Bigz who provided the link among us.

It includes 92 recipes, some featuring Uganda's matooke (green plantains/bananas) or gonja (ripe plantains) [one of my favorite foods], and includes snacks, main dishes, desserts, including puddings, many kinds of stews, meat dishes, cassava, mushrooms, and fish, salads and sauces. Some are very traditional and some are more contemporary. I'm very grateful and eager to try some of them.

In addition, she gives information on how to stock one's kitchen and cooking guidance and tips. Throughout the book, as well as at the end,  she dispenses advice on life and living.

Thank you to all who helped get it into my hands!




Monday, March 25, 2019

Evolution of Instant Fufu

There are several exciting signs in the culinary entrepreneurial world in Ghana. Here is one of them.

RE contemporary twists on traditional foods   
                                           

FUFU:  Making fufu the traditional way is wonderful, but strenuous and time-consuming. For a long time people have been trying to find ways to get the same taste and texture, but without all the pounding.


  1.  When I was married in Ghana, I carried a mortar and pestle back with me to the U.S. in a shipment, determined to continue to prepare my beloved groundnut and palm nut and light soups with fufu. Alas, the temperature and humidity changes caused the mortar to crack and with it my dreams of home-made fufu in the U.S. 
  2. But I discovered how to make American-style fufu using instant mashed potatoes and potato starch flour, and in February, 2007, convinced my friend, Dr. Naana Nti, to demonstrate proper technique for cooking it in a microwave, using my camera to create BETUMI's first video
  3. I also discovered actual "fufu powder." BETUMI's initial post on it was back in April, 2006, when I did a podcast with the Ashanti chemical engineer Yaw Adusei, who travelled to State College to introduce me to his Mama's Choice fufu flour (and incidentally, conduct a taste test with another leading brand).
  4. Over the years I experimented unsuccessfully with making fufu using plantain and cassava with a blender, or mashing it and stirring it. Last year I stumbled on Obapaa's terrific video demonstrating her technique of making microwave using a smoothie maker and raw cassava and green plantain! It was revolutionary, and soooo simple. I had always tried cooking the ingredients BEFORE blending them in a food processor or blender. She has given me permission to share it here:





The same day I saw her video I rushed out and bought some cassava (commonly called  yuca in our stores here) and green plantain. The result was enthusiastically approved by my husband.

5.  Early in 2019, during a trip to Ghana, he stopped in at the                  CSIR Food Research Institute store and picked up a few items,          including a plantain fufu flour with NO preservatives or coloring,        best prepared on a stovetop by adding water and stirring. Very          convenient if it is difficult to get fresh cassava, as it is in         Pennsylvania.  And I'm thrilled to get rid of those preservatives, and   extra ingredients.          




Monday, December 03, 2018

Tap Chop: 1969 Addition to the Africa Cookbook Project


From time to time we receive additions to the BETUMI Africa Cookbook Collection launched at TED Global in Tanzania in 2007. I remember when a fan sent in his mother's collection of Barbara Baeta's West African Favourites Cookery Cards, currently on loan to Aperture for its traveling exhibition Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography



Many of the items are mimeographed paper booklets, such as the one I received yesterday, a 1969 booklet titled Tap Chop, 52 pages of recipes largely popular with Mennonite and other missionaries. It is a treasured bit of history. Thank you to Dave Beppler, formerly in Nigeria.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

In Praise of Over-ripe Plantain Loaf

In early 2010 I posted about ofam, a tasty savory over-ripe plantain loaf  from Ghana that is also described in The Ghana Cookbook. It uses only 7 ingredients: over-ripe plantains, good quality red palm oil, hot pepper (I use habanero) fresh grated ginger, flour (I use white rice), grated onion, and a little salt. Unsalted dry roasted peanuts make a great garnish or accompaniment.

Now that plantains are becoming more readily available (after years of begging my local grocers to import the yellow--ripe plantains--I am happy to say that I can now find them locally at Wegmans, Giant, and Weis! A great thing since in the winter the green ones will not ripen properly here in central PA. 

When I was in Ghana in March, Paulina Addy gave me a can of organic, high quality palm oil (thank you), and I decided yesterday that, since spring is almost here finally, it was time to open the can and make some ofam. I plan to serve it at a Penn State student symposium luncheon I'm catering next week. (My husband begged me to cut a little slice for a taste since he couldn't wait). Oh, and when made with rice flour, it's also gluten-free and sugar-free.

Note: I did find that in my new oven it took a bundt pan 45 minutes to cook (longer than the 30 minutes in my old oven).

Monday, April 23, 2018

Updated betumi.com

I'm excited to announce we've just launched a new version of Betumi.com today. The good news is that it has a fresh new look and some new resources. The not-so-good news is that I've  somehow managed to delete the link to this betumiblog (will get it added back in soon) and also that many sections are still under construction. Please check it out and give us some feedback on what you do and don't like. As they say in Ghana:  "little by little, the chicken drinks water." Thanks for all your support.   
Fran

Thursday, February 08, 2018

And yet another adinkra cookie picture

Yes, but just to reassure you that these adinkra cookie stamps also work on regular butter and wheat-flour based doughs, as here. Thanks to Yasmine Abbas of neo-nomad for the Nordic Ware cookie stamp.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Getting Ready for Ghana: vegan, gluten-free, adinkra shortbread!



Well, it's been several months of designing and printing and taste testing, but at the end of February we head to Ghana to share with several folks (at Kawa Moka and  Flair, among others). We're taste testing them this morning at New Leaf. So far they're rated between 9 and 10. (0 being "yuk" and 10 being "yum." I'm feeling pretty good.