Visiting some of the West African countries helps me to see the vast similarity that exists in our food habits. The foods are common across the same geographies zones, it’s what what we do with them that differs . I was in Accra recently and took out time to visit and cook with a Ghanaian lady.
I had a swell time cooking with Ivy, my guest on this particular visit. She stays quite close to the Kanishi market so for her no need to keep too many ingredients at home. Ivy sells fabrics and sewing materials . She took me through the process of cooking Mpotopoto which is mashed yam pottage. I remember eating something similar in primary school in Lagos. The Yorubas call this Ebe or Asaro served with peppered sauce .Reminds me of my primary school days, with the food vendors arriving just before break time and the steam emerging from the food warmers will get you salivating at you waited for your portion to be slapped on the plate for just one Naira. Did I say 1 Naira yes indeed.
Something I noted about Ghanaian cooking is the use of fermented proteins to give that special aroma to their dishes, similar to the use of Iru / Dawadawa / Ogiri in Nigeria.
Mpotopoto is a yam dish , basically a pottage that is cooked with a sauce to go with it.
I enjoyed the meal and got from her recipes for other dishes I will feature at a later date.
I also tried out the teeth cleanser I found in Ivy’s kitchen. She swears by it , saying that her grandma used it and still had white teeth until she passed on. I wish I knew this earlier cos this it cheap and natural . I will settle with my chewing stick from Calabar.
1/2 tuber of small Yam
4 whole Tomatoes
8 pieces dry Pepper
2 pieces Onion
Crayfish seasoning to taste
10 pieces dry Herring
8 pieces smoked Prawns
Small piece Momone ( fermented fish)
Small piece salted meat
Salt to taste
2 cooking spoons Palm oil
Water to cover the yam
1, Peel yam, cut into small cubes
2, Wash the vegetables and add whole to the pot
3, Wash the fish, Momone, Salted meat , smoked shrimp and add to the pot
4, Add water to cover the yam , sprinkle on some salt and bring to boil
5, Depending on the variety of yam , it will take about 45 minutes to get very soft
6, Take out the tomato and pepper and blend till very smooth and return to the pot
7, Take out the onion and also blend and return to the pot
8, Cook for another 5 minutes
9, Remove the yams and mash , adding the oil and mash to have a smooth paste
10, Serve with the sauce remaining in the pot.