Friday, November 16, 2007

Garden Eggs in Suriname

More on garden eggs:

Several types of garden eggs (
Solanum aethiopicum) are grown in Ghana, with local names like aworoworo, obolo, asurowia, asusuapin, and antropo.

Suriname is a country in South America, about the size of Georgia in the United States, and one of Brazil's northern neighbors. Prof. H. L. van de Lande ( biologist and plant pathologist, and department head of biology and chemistry at ADEK University, Leysweg/Paramaribo - shares a photo from the market in Paramaribo, along with information on garden eggs in Suriname, where they are known by the local Sranan Tongo name antruwa, and are also from the Solanaceae family (and thus related to eggplant, or aubergine), but it seems a different type, Solanum macrocarpon.

Interestingly, Ramon Finkie from the same university tells me that many Surinamese people descended from slaves originally from Ghana.

According to Prof. van de Lande:

"Antruwa is used in a variety of ways: as a vegetable, stewed with onions, sometimes pieces of salted beef, or with dry shrimps, or, as it is. it is also used in okra soup, or it can be cooked in water, and then some vinegar, sugar maybe some pieces of hot pepper added. It is then eaten as a side dish, pickled antruwa, mostly with a mixed rice dish, which we call moksi aleisi.

Moksi aleisi
(also the Sranan Tongo name)
or mixed rice, can be very variable depending on who is making it; you can make all kinds . . . depending what ingredients (or, leftovers) you have available and in which cultural environment you were brought up. The mixed rice made by the Chinese is much different from the mixed rice made by the Javanese or by the Creole or by the Hindu people. But when one says: "moksi aleisi", then one generally refers to the mixed rice dish made by the Creole or the Negroes."

She further explains that "Sranan Tongo is the local Surinamese language, which is spoken by practically everyone; it can be considered the bridging language between all cultures and etnic groups. The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by the majority of people in Suriname. Still, especially older people in the rural area or in the interior speak either their language of their culture/ethnic group of origin (this can be the local Javanese language, different from the one in Java, Indonesia, the local hindi language which is again slightly different from Hindi in India, local Chinese, or the various languahges spoken by the descendants of the Maroon people or the differen languages spoken by the indigenous people, the Amerindians etc. etc. for all other cultural/ethnic groups."

I love all the Afro-Latin links I'm discovering during my stay in Brazil. Another day I'll share what I've learned about cassava/manioc in Suriname!


Unknown said...

Fran, thank you so much for putting this up. I could not have done it better.

Thank you for taking the time to share this with your reader.

Keep up te good work


One Fly said...

Garden egg stew. How I miss that and other foods in Ghana but what I miss most is palm nut soup.

just me said...

How I miss having antruwa. Spicy cooked with green tomatoes,...hmmmm.
Thanks for putting it up.

K Mayne said...

I am hosting an exchange student from Ghana and "garden eggs" was a vegetable I could not figure out. I will be looking back through your blog for recipes!

Fran said...

I just got some baby eggplants from the local farmer's market. They substitute fine for garden eggs. I'll post an eggplant stew soon.

Efua Nyinsini said...

I'm not sure how old this blog is but I find it interesting that in Surname, the eggplant is called "antruwa". One of the many local names for eggplant in Ghana is Ntrowa, pronounced almost the same is "antruwa"... I'm a always amazed at these connections...

Fran said...

Efua: The post is old, but as you can see, it's still relevant! Thank you for sharing. Yes, the linguistic links with food are fascinating and hold many hints to the food history.