Friday, May 27, 2011

New edition of Tweedie's Ghanaian Cookbook

Almost exactly 5 years ago I posted about a Ghanaian cookbook by Asantewaa Tweedie called Ghanaian Cooking with a Twist. Since then, Asantewaa and I have corresponded virtually. She returned to Ghana over a year ago, and emailed me recently that she had expanded and updated her cookbook.

A couple of weeks ago during a visit she made to Pennsylvania we met up together. It was a treat to meet face-to-face for the first time and also to see and hear about the new version,  Melting Pot: Ghanaian Cooking with a Twist. Before returning to Ghana, Asantawaa asked me to continue as the sole North American distributor of her book, which retails at $30.00 plus mailing and handling. If you would like to order a copy, contact for details.

Here is an excerpt from our conversation. I apologize in advance for the buzz on the video: I had to use a small digital camera and the quality was not perfect.

People sometimes ask me if I don't feel like I'm in competition with other Ghanaian cookbook authors. No way. I'm always excited to see the new wave of Ghanaians getting the word out about Ghanaian cuisine. I'd love to see as many Ghanaian cookbooks as there are Italian cookbooks on the shelves!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ghana regional cookbook update 2

Hello, faithful followers:

It's been 3 months since I've posted here. The time was to be spent working hard on the Ghanaian regional cookbook. It worked well--for a week or
two. . .

Then the "tyranny of the urgent" took over. I won't bore you with the details, but have decided to start posting again, and continue working on the cookbook at the same time. You all keep me motivated. The picture on the right shows my original thoughts on a cover, but as the book evolves, so has the title. Today I'm thinking of using another Ghanaian proverb ("The good soup comes from the good earth"). As you may recall, my first African cookbook (Pelican, 1993) was called A Good Soup Attracts Chairs.

The book's format is pretty well designed now. Feel free to look over the summarized table of contents below and let me know if you see something I've left out that ought to be there, or any errors. And if any of you are a potential publisher, or know of any, pass that information along.

Table of Contents (drafted)
Preface          Something for Everyone (drafted)
Introduction:  From Brisbane to Accra--Fran's story (drafted)
                       From Ghana with Love--Barbara's story(drafted)
Part I: The West African Kitchen
                       1. Background, languages, map  (drafted)
                       2. Ingredients (partially drafted)
                          Herbs, spices, seeds and oils
                          Staple foods: roots, grains, plantains and legumes
                          Meat, poultry, fish, shellfish and snails
                          Vegetables and fruits
                      3. Equipment (traditional and modern)
Part II: Essential flavors and techniques: the building blocks (partially drafted)
                      Flavor principles: texture, tastes
                      Seasoning techniques
                      Basic gravy for stews
                      Doughs (corn, cassava, fermenting)
                      Coatings: batter for squid, octopus, yam, groundnuts
                      Basic stocks
                      Removing skins from black-eyed peas
                      Opening coconuts, coconut milk and water
                      Toasting and grinding corn flour
                      Tankora powder/rub (yaagi, chichinga powder)
                      Drying (fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood)
                      Cooking and food processing techniques
Part III: Recipes (w/information on regional variations, specialties)
                     A. Snacks, street foods, and appetizers: includes green plantain chips or strips; cocoyam chips [mankani); fresh corn and coconut; sugar cane; cheese straws; octopus/squid appetizer;meat/fish pies/turnovers, kelewele [seasoned ripe plantains cubes], tubaani [steamed bean balls]; grilled prawns; chichinga [kebabs with a rub called yaagi]; tatale [ripe plantain pancakes]; akla [deep-fried bean balls, aka akara, kose, acara]; kaklo [plantain balls w/corn dough, 2 versions]; fish balls; coated groundnuts; "Kofi brokeman"[roasted ripe plantain];  roasted peanuts; boiled peantus; savory pastry chips; Ghana-style doughnuts [togbei, bofrot]; kuli-kuli [peanut snack]; yam balls [yele kakro]
                  B. Soups
                      1. Light soups (nkrankra [from meat, fish,vegetables, or all]: with lamb, eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini; fisherman's soup; pepper soup; Fante-Fante; dried vegetable soup; kontomire (greens) soup; egusi (melon seeds) soup; okro soups Ewe style (fetri detsi and fetri ma)
                     2. Groundnut (peanut), palmnut and sesame soups: chicken groundnut soup; vegetarian groundnut soup; groundnut soup with turkey and okra; groundnut-palmnut soup; classic palmnut soup; palmnut and bean soup; benne (sesame) soup with Guinea fowl or game hens)
                 C. Stews: browned flour and meat stew; groundnut (peanut) stew with chicken and condiments; groundnut stew with meat; sardine stew; corned beef stew; simple bean stew; crock pot bean stew with smoked fish (aka, ase abom or frow, asedua yoo flo, bobo, eduwa forowe, in various languages in Ghana); palaver sauce, garden egg (eggplant) stew with beef, crab and fish; detsi fifi (an Ewe dish between a light soup and gravy); ayikple (coconut and bean stew); okra/eggplant/fish stew; aprapransa or akplijii (seafood and toasted corn stew)
                D. Protein main dishes: grilled tilapia; grilled prawns; kenam (fried fish); abobo (cooked cowpeas); aboeboe (boiled bambara beans); adayi (pureed cowpeas); domedu (roast pork); Ashanti fowl
               E. Miscellaneous sauces and seasonings: fresh peppers sauces (green and red); shito; gravy; flavored oils
               F. Starchy/carbohydrate accompanimentsakpele (corn and cassava dough, simple gari (toasted fermented cassava meal), pino (also from gari), ampesi (boiled starchy vegetables), fried ripe plantain, kenkey, banku (from fermented corn and cassava doughs), oto (a mashed yam and palm oil dish). coated yam; acheke (manioc [cassava] couscous);  TZ (tuo zaafi) from millet, fonio, and/or cassava flour; coconut rice, omo tuo (rice balls); fufu (3 types: cassava, yam, plantain; pounded, microwaved from commercial fufu power, or potato starch and potato buds); yam chips
              G. One-pot cooking: Gari foto w/corned beef; vegetarian gari foto; jollof rice with chicken; jollof rice with beef; vegetarian jollof rice; jollof rice with shrimp; mpotompoto/nyoma, mpihu (yam pottage/soup); waakye (rice and beans)
              H.  Beverages and breakfast porridges and meals: rice water, koko (porridge), Hausa koko, Tom Brown (ablemamu), koklui, iced kenkey, gari potowye (soaking);  ginger beer; lemon grass tea; coconut water; sobolo or bissap (hibiscus iced tea); puha (tamarind drink); shandy; fruit juices; beer and wines with Ghanaian food; contemporary: fruit smoothies, Ghana-inspired hot chocolate
              I. Desserts and baked foods: atwemo (twisted cakes); tiger nut pudding (atadwe milkye, from chufa); sugar bread (loaves and rosca); tea bread; ofam (ripe plantain loaf); caramel custard; fried ice cream; pawpaw fool (papaya); mango fool; groundnut toffee/cake; coconut toffee/cake; fresh papaya with lime fruit salad
Appendix A: Glossary of Ghanaian terms (drafted)
Appenndix B: Suppliers, online resources, restaurants, and bibliography
Appendix C: Akan Day Names

I must admit, this particular labor of love has turned out to be a huge project. Those of you who pray, please keep me in your prayers, that I'll have the stamina and determination to finish this book. I believe my dream will come true, and will become the comprehensive step-by-step guide to cooking Ghanaian (and much of West African) foods that I kept looking for over the past 30 years!