Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recipe #6: "Tom Brown" porridge

My recent "Ashanti fowl" recipe took me 3 days to post, so here's a quick and easy breakfast food for recipe #6.

A friend who just returned from Ghana stopped by recently with 2 bags of toasted cornflour. I've been wanting to make the porridge called "Tom Brown" the past few days, and was happy to have it.

She said she knows I like "aprapransa" (a palm soup/stew dish with the toasted corn flour I'll share another day). I corrected her that it was my husband who really loves it, but every time I make it he complains that it isn't as good as his grandmother's was. She assured me that no matter what I will do, it will NEVER be as good as he remembers hers, so I should "just let go of that burden." Thank you, Connie.

The "Tom Brown" porridge recipe is quite simple. The hardest part is getting the right corn flour. In Ghana they lightly toast the corn before grinding it. For years I tried unsuccessfully to duplicate the process. The corn in Ghana is not sweet corn, it is hard like Indian corn. One recipe said to use ground popcorn, toasted lightly in a dry frying pan. It's much simpler to check with an African market that specializes in West African ingredients and get it from them. This is a favorite student breakfast food I remember fondly from my days teaching at a boarding school in Nungua, along the coast of Ghana.

To make enough for 2 people, one simply brings 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a pan. While it is heating, add 1/2 cup of the flour to 1/2 cup of water in a bowl, and a little salt to taste and mix thoroughly (I use a whisk). When the water in the pan comes to a boil, reduce the heat and slowly stir in the flour/water mixture. It will cook in just a couple of minutes. I ate mine with some honey, evaporated milk (the way I learned to eat it in Ghana), and chopped peanuts on top. If you like a thinner porridge, just add more water.


editha said...

I am just eating some now.
My usual african market refuses to sell the flour because of the bugs.


Tom brown is really nutritious. we produce the flour on large quantity for sale therefore if your are interested we can send you some.

contact me on
+233 277 314921

thank you

Unknown said...

this is super.... glad to see people know about our food... There are two type of the Tom Brown in Ghana, the local and the foreign. I have been trying to get the recipe for the foreign one without success. Can you help me with that....

linbee said...

Does anyone know whether the type that used to be given to infants still exist? All i know is, the Tom brown I knew 15 to 20 years ago has is different to the one I get now. I have to mix beans, rice,millet etc to try to get it the same way... That one for babies in the early 90's tasted much better

Richard Menn said...

You have no idea how this article has helped me this morning. . . my first time trying! I'm home alone and enjoying my breakfast! Good morning! ;)

Fran said...

Glad to hear from you, and glad you enjoyed it.

Unknown said...

We Produce the Very Rich Tom Brown(Mixture of Groundnuts, Beans etc.) On commercial purposes. Contact Me on
Yaw +233 249 296818


Unknown said...

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