Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So Much Fun. . .Akpabli's Tickling the Ghanaian

Earlier this year I discovered Accra-based writer Kofi Akpabli's slim but delightful book of humorous essays: Tickling the Ghanaian: Encounters with Contemporary Culture. A fun book featuring an insider's accurate and hilarious musings targeting the food and culture of my favorite African country. 

I especially like "The Truth About Fufu," "Between Tinapa and Boflot," and, of course, "The Serious Business of Soup in Ghana." However, he also covers cloth and clothes, rings, akpeteshi and schnapps, bartering, the Black Stars, kokonte, funerals, Nigerian-Ghanaian relations, and other topics with wit and veracity.

It's a kindle bargain at Amazon.com. Apparently, Kofi Akpabli, was selected as a CNN/Multichoice African Journalist for Arts and Culture in 2010 and 2011, and is  well known for his "useful humour, rooted in truth." A great gift for anyone who knows Ghanaians, plans to visit, or just in need of a refreshing read.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Stewed bambara beans and tatale anyone?

Have you ever had Ghana-style stewed bambara beans or groundnuts (aka aboboe)? The photo shows the dried uncooked beans/peas on the left and the cooked ones on the right. They're wonderful with ripe plantain pancakes (tatale) or fried plantain balls (kakro). And a cinch to make in a slow cooker/crockpot.

Incidentally, there is also an extensive description of bambara beans in Lost Crops of Africa: Volume II: Vegetables . Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006, p. 52-73 (this can be downloaded free as a pdf if you sign up at their website.) Native to West Africa, these legumes are similar to "peanuts" in that they ripen in pods underground, and are valuable for their hardiness in tropical Africa and their high protein content. They have a mild flavor that pairs very well with sweet, ripe, spicy plantain pancakes or plantain balls, and, incidentally, are one of the few savory dishes to which I have seen some Ghanaians add sugar when eating.

Apologies for the long silence at this end. Working to complete the final edits on The Ghana Cookbook (where you'll find all three recipes). Stay tuned. (By the way, if you preorder the book from Amazon,now (it's due out in October)  there's a sizable discount ($16.57 rather than $19.95).