Friday, April 18, 2008

Mushrooms in Africa


The rainy season has begun, and last week I noticed a huge yellow/brown mushroom growing outside our flat at the University of Ghana. A couple of days ago I bought some lovely local mushrooms (see the picture to the right) and cooked them in a simple stew . They were a lovely, meaty texture, hardier than most of the mushrooms we get in State College, Pennsylvania, even portabellas, and with a wonderfully delicate, almost smoky flavor.

I realized that I've no idea what kind of mushrooms grow in the wild here. Or where they grow. A little checking on the internet turned up a document that lists African mushrooms by their scientific names (but with nothing about Ghana or most of western Africa, and also, their technical names didn't help me much). More excitingly, I discovered an announcement about an upcoming conference: the Second African conference on Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms, to be held in Accra November 17-21, 2008. It's being organized jointly by CSIR--Ghana's Food Research Institute, and Accra Polytechnic. Sounds like a wonderful idea, and when I see what papers are being submitted, I'll know who to go to to ask my questions. Anyone who can tell us anything about mushrooms from any part of Africa, we're interested in hearing from you.

An Ethiopian woman once told me that mushrooms are not commonly eaten in her part of the country, where they are known as "the hyena's umbrella."

8 comments:

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Hi,
thanks for another enjoyable trip down memory lane...
I can't be of any help re. the mushrooms but I do have vivid memories of the delicious taste they always had...

Fran said...

I just checked out your blog, and you do get around! While writing this post I realized how difficult it is to describe the taste of mushrooms:like trying to describe a sunset to a blind person. Possible, but hard.

Private Chef said...

I am a keen reader of food blogs but just stumbled upon yours. I really like the clean design and simple layout. I started blogging myself a year ago and always thought that clean design was key. The fact that you also have good photos does help a lot. I have just started a website for bloggers, chefs and foodies to meet and share all their photos, recipes and videos called www.ifoods.tv. Anyway keep the great work up on the blog, have it bookmarkd now and talk soon. Cheers

Here, There, Elsewhere... and more said...

Hi Fran, I was born in Ghana (1961)to British parents but I'm definately Ghanaian..! I travelled a lot with my parents (mostly Africa) as a kid and have continued travelling further afield since, however, my heart remains "rooted" in Ghana - by the way, are you related in any way to Dr Asare (Margaret, Patricia and Elizabeth's dad)?
You have the same surname...
I went to school with Patricia in Kumasi in the erly 1970s...and am still in touch with them periodically...
Thanks for visiting my (extremely amateur) blog..:)

Cynthia said...

(I posted this comment on an old blog entry of yours about kuli kuli, I thought I'd also post it on this most recent post to make sure you see it!!)

Hi there! I grew up in Nigeria and am looking for a kuli kuli recipe to use at my kids' multicultural night at their school (I'm representing Nigeria). I came across this post from you.

I was wondering--if I just use peanut butter rolled up and fry it will that work for kuli kuli? So many things like that which I loved eating as a kid but now as an adult I have NO idea how to actually make it! I'd love to hear if you have any thoughts...

Thanks, Cynthia

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

Hello, sorry I wanted to post this to your section on the trip you took to Chicago but couldn't quite figure it out!

I was researching true yams, African yams, and where to buy. I read that the Yoruba has increase fertility due to yams. The book I'm reading, The Infertility Diet, recommends African yams. On the internet I found info for Makola African Market in Chicago (where I live). Then I happily came across the picture you posted of a man holding an yam from Ghana. Are these what they call true yams? Does Makola's carry them? Thank you in advance for your help. And thanks for posting the picture. I don't think I've ever seen a true yam before.

Cindy said...

Fran,

That link to the mushroom document has to do with hallucinogenic mushrooms, not edible mushrooms. I'm researching mushrooms right now for a big project and trying to find stuff about mushrooms in Africa. One of the best recipes I've ever cooked was from Elizabeth Jackson's book, South of the Sahara: Beef with Hot Pepper and Mushrooms.