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.’
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.
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.
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.