Saturday, April 18, 2015

Culinary Links Between Ghana and Brazil

It turns out that most of the foods we eat here in Ghana originally came here from the Western hemisphere, particularly from Brazil via the Portuguese. Among staple foods in Ghanaian cuisine that have their origins in the Americas are cassava, plantains, maize, chili peppers, and tomatoes. Absent the Colombian exchange we would all be eating nothing, but millet, yams, and rice. There would be no fufu, red red, banku, or kenkey. Not to mention everything would be really bland because there would be no chili peppers. In fact the cuisine must of been so radically different that I am having a hard time imagining what it actually looked like. How do you eat okra without chili peppers and banku?

4 comments:

Walt Richmond said...

Otto, I know you've talked about this before, but can you describe some of the Ghanaian dishes in more detail?

J. Otto Pohl said...

Walt, fufu is a sticky blob made from cassava and plantain that is served in either ground nut, palm nut, or light soup. Banku is a dough made from fermented cassava and maize that is served with okra stew, tilapia, or other fish. Kenkey is fermented maize served with fish and pepper. Red red is a dish of fried plantains and beans.

Walt Richmond said...

What spices are common there? Do they use a lot of peppers? Also, you mentioned once that there are great avocados there. Do they use them in recipes or just eat them as is?

J. Otto Pohl said...

Walt: Ginger, Maggi, and palm oil are used here a lot. They also use a lot peppers here. Avocados are just eaten as is or put in salads.