Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jollof Rice and Light Soup - Part One

Having a friend visiting me from Ghana recently inspired me to cook some more Ghanaian food. In fact I do not really know how to cook any Ghanaian food apart from the SHITTO so I was learning from her. We decided to tackle 2 basic dishes for which most ingredients are available locally, traditional Jollof Rice which would be equivalent to Indonesian Nasi Goreng, and Light Soup which I guess you could say is like Soto Ayam. Light soup is actually eaten with FUFU, which I explained during my last trip to Accra. Making FUFU here would be impossible so we settled on to eating it with rice. We decided to use chicken meat for the Light Soup and goat meat (mutton) for the Jollof. I could only get my hands on boneless meat at the time but if you can get meat with bones it works much better. First off I prepared the marinade for which I utilized 1 onion, some ginger, 3 cloves of garlic, and 4 chilly peppers.

I dumped all the ingredients in my trusty blue blender. Once again I spread the pieces of food around it evenly so they all get a good cutting. Depending on your blender, it might be advisable to add a very small amount of water to the mix just to get the juices flowing.

As soon as I took the lid off the flask, my eyes burned. My head chef commented that Chinese onions are a lot stronger than Ghanaian onions, and this could be a problem. Also the peppers here have a different flavor from the peppers back home. But I have ordered some seeds and before years end I should be growing some Ghanaian peppers of my own. The mixture you end up with should have a somewhat pulpy texture and not been too smooth or liquefied.

I am not an advocate of prepackaged meals or microwavable foods like my fellow blogger HB of Sixth Seal, so I look for only the freshest meets from the local markets. This means you do get a bit of blood on your hands but that’s all part of the pill one should swallow being a carnivore.

Next I set out to carve my meat. It is never pleasant cutting meat and mutton does have a bit of an odd smell to it, but mans got to do what mans got to do. I cut the goat meat into small bite size pieces. If you have meat with bones you can butcher it into 1 or 2 inch cubes. Goat bones have amazing flavor when cooked.

I repeat the process with the chicken. It is no fun cutting any kind of meat for me really. I do not like the feeling of the knife cutting through the flesh. I keep imaging what it was like for those guys stuck in the Andes who had to cut and eat pieces from their friend’s asses… Once again this would be way better with full pieces of chicken on the bone. You can use a combination of legs, thighs, and breasts, or whatever else your heart desires. I prefer to leave the skin on the meat because it is healthy. I don’t give a shit what the books say, it is healthy. If you outlive me we can take this debate up again in hell.

I am a bit obsessive compulsive in the kitchen. I have to keep washing things even if I am going to reuse them. This is a far cry from how I was in college when I could have named the variety of mould I had living in my kitchen sink. I think my past haunts me. So I neatly place the chopped meats into separate flowery bowls. I did not buy these bowls personally and they serve no aesthetic purpose, only practical and functional. In fact they kind of scare me.

Dispense the marinade equally into both meats or as you see fit. You can use a little hot water to clean out the inside of your blender flask and add the mixture to the meats. This would be making full use of all your spices. At this point I began to appreciate the food I was cooking. Unlike Indian food where I deluge all the food with a variety of Indian spices every time, I was eager to enjoy the natural flavor of the Ghanaian food.

Add half a cube of Maggi Cube to each bowl. As you can see I have my stock from Indonesia because I did not k now if I could get some here. I do not know exactly what the Maggi cube is or does but I know I have to use it every now and then. Also add some salt to each bowl and give it a good mixing.

It is best to use your hands for this process to insure each and every piece of meat gets a good coating of the marinade. In this case however you might want to wear some plastic gloves or just stick your hand in a plastic bag because the marinade is crazy spicy. You do not want to be watching TV 3 hours later, trying to rub a spec of dust out of your eye and end up in agony.

Finally you can neatly wrap your meat in some Glad Wrap cling foil and refrigerate while you hang out doing whatever it is that you do. I love glad wrap. I feel content knowing that my food is sealed in freshness in the refrigerator, its odors not lingering with the other foods in there. I love the way the plastic sheets clings to the side of the bowls not allowing a molecule of air in or out. I think I am developing some sort of a fetish here. I wrapped my hand in Glad Wrap the other day and it looked pretty cool. I think it might be fun to wrap the torso of a large breasted woman with pink nipples in Glad Wrap and photograph it. Maybe wrap her all like a mummy, save her head of course. Perhaps it’s not a fetish really but more of a curiosity.

It turns out that we did not end up cooking the food that night and we ended up leaving the meat to marinate over night till the next evening. At least they would remain fresh.


AmitD said...

Dunno if you tasted my Groundnut soup in Hawaii. If not ask Ro, he'll vouch for the tastiness of my shit. If you need I'll hook you up with the recipe. Pretty easy. Actually the beginning steps of groundnut soup are the same for light soup, till you add the groundnut paste/peanut butter of course.
Lemme know...

Anonymous said...

amitd, "tastiness of my shit" ahem, what do you mean?

AmitD said...

Of my shiznit... that better?? :)

Avi said...

dude, you need to tell me when to add the peanut butter and how much..

AmitD said...

Will do you one better. Will email the entire recipe to you from start to finish. Hell if you still can't hook it up then I'll have to show you first hand when I come over there next year...:)

Anonymous said...

goetz, yetssts goetz sup!