Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Recipes #39 and 40: Kuli-kuli and tankora (yaji) powder/rub
I feel pretty stupid today. After spending hours trying to use peanut butter to make my kuli-kuli (and wasting a LOT of peanut oil as they disintegrated in it), I decided to try beginning with dry roasted peanuts. I threw a cupful into my mini food processor and quickly ground them to a powder, stopping before it turned into a paste. Then I proceeded to wrap the powder in cloth, and press the oil out between 2 cutting boards (I actually put them on the floor and stomped on them). Next, I added a little hot water to allow me to mold the powder mixture into small balls (the cup of peanuts made 16 of them). I didn't add salt because the peanuts were already lightly salted. Then I deepfried them in hot peanut oil for a few minutes until they were crisp and brown on the outside. No problem. It was quick and oh-so-easy.
They're then ready to eat as a snack, or sprinkled crumbled over salads or porridges or whatever you fancy. Because I intended to crush the balls to use in my tankora powder for my chichinga (suya), I didn't add any other spices like grated onion or red pepper when I made the balls, but I could have done that, too. I pounded the fried balls in a small marble mortar (see picture below), then pressed the pounded mixture through a medium sieve for the recipe below. I imagine it would have been easier to just use the powdered peanuts without frying or pressing them, but then, I'm a perfectionist of sorts. Do whichever you choose.
If you don't want to bother with the recipe below, you can make a "make-do" powder by mixing a little hot red pepper, and a little ginger and salt, and some crushed/powdered peanuts together. If you don't have a food processor, put peanuts between waxed paper or into a bag and hit them with a rolling pin, hammer, or meat tenderizer to pulverize them.
However, if you have the time, I recommend going all out. As with curry powders, you can mix and match the ingredients you happen to like. And, as with curry powders, freshly made is better.
Here's a basic recipe:
1/4 cup of toasted corn flour (see directions below) made from 1/4 cup toasted, ground white popcorn
dried ground red pepper to taste (~ 1/4-1/2 teaspoon)
dried ground ginger to taste (~ 1/2 teaspoon)
salt to taste (if peanuts were salted, just a little, maybe 1/4 teaspoon)
other ingredients as desired (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried powdered green bell pepper, 1/4 teaspoon mace, and 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper; others use shrimp-flavored or other seasoning cubes)
I actually made a double batch of this today so I can test it on 2 types of chichinga, one made from round steak (beef) and one from chicken breast. I'm getting ready to make the marinade for the meat now, and will grill it for dinner. I'll post the results tomorrow or the next day.
Next I prepared the other ingredients for the tankora (yaji) powder, the spice rub to use on my meat/poultry. Yesterday I dried a few rings of sweet bell pepper in a warm oven (the lowest setting on the oven for a few hours) and ground them in a coffee/spice grinder. I've only once had tankora powder with that ingredient, but I liked it. I also used mace because I had some handy. And I had no African black pepper, so I just used white pepper. I had African dried red pepper (hotter than the cayenne usually available in North American grocery stores), so I used that, along with dried ground ginger.
Tom Brown porridge) was a little more of a challenge, but thanks to Dorinda Hafner's adivce in A Taste of Africa, I managed to make my own by toasting a cup of white popcorn in a preheated heavy cast iron skillet over a medium high heat, shaking it constantly for about 6 minutes until just before the kernals started popping (I quickly poured them onto a cool plate so that they didn't continue to heat and pop in the pan) and then ground them as finely as I could in my coffee grinder, pouring them through a fine tea strainer and regrinding the chaff until I had what I needed: still not quite as fine as I could have gotten in Ghana, but quite okay. I've seen people saying you can just toast cornmeal in a dry frying pan, but, as always, I think freshly made is better. Mix all of the ingredients together.
I make this just before I need it, but I imagine it could also be stored in the freezer.