Recipe for Ingenuity

Preparing even familiar foods in another country undoubtedly presents certain obstacles – chief among them lack of ingredients/appliances. I like to think I’ve become rather adept at substitutions to achieve the same (or similar) results, like these fantastic Banana Oat Muffins. And apart from a minor stove mishap, my kitchen is fortunately fully outfitted.

So eagerly I dug up old favorites and found a few new intrigues to try along the way. Key takeaways: “Don’t be cocky.’ and ‘It probably still tastes good.’

Trial 1

I have been craving good vegetables – a break from the Ghanaian diet of carbs and fats please. Black bean burgers courtesy of Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well. on ‘spinach’ seemed an excellent option.

My changes: Local black-eyed peas for the black beans (approximate quantity, because what are canned beans?); something the Ghanaians call ‘spinach’ which isn’t; sub pepe – ground hot pepper – for tobasco; curry for cumin; no flax.

The result: Beans that would not mash; a blender that would not blend; all ingredients in the skillet to steam for 10 minutes. Eat. Delicious.

Trial 2

Sure that my newly-dysfunctional blender was the primary sticking point, I thought I would try something simpler, something I make all the time. Good Indian roti à la Veg Recipes of India.

My changes: Finely-milled, market-ready cassava flour instead of store-bought whole-wheat.

The result: Apparently cassava flour does not bind to itself. Tossed little dough rounds in olive oil and fried. Because doughnut.

Trial 3

Try, try again. Roasted groundnuts? Of course! What could be easier.

My changes: Using the stove instead of the oven; cut cook time from 15 minutes to 5.

The result: Half-charred groundnuts. I can’t complain, though. They still tasted phenomenal once cooled and salted.

In next week’s episode, mango chutney. Maybe. Stay tuned.


One response to “Recipe for Ingenuity

  1. Pingback: Back in routine | The Menace of the Years

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