Ghana: Fufu and nkrakra soup recipe
- Cuisine: African
Chef, television host and author Dorinda Hafner talks about Ghanaian cuisine.
How has your heritage influenced your cooking?
My heritage has influenced my taste preferences more than my actual cooking per se. I find that I prefer strongly flavoured foods as opposed to bland ones and I can honestly say I love spicy food and that definitely includes chilli!
Why is this dish representative of Ghanaian food/cuisine?
Because it is synonymous with Ghana and readily identifiable as Ghanaian. It is the most popular of our dishes. It is the most commonly eaten, most craved by both locals and ex-pat Ghanaians. It is nutritious, affordable, easy to prepare and loved by kids and adults alike.
How closely will you be following the World Cup?
Like a hawk! Although when Australia plays Ghana I get seriously divided loyalties and end up having apoplexy every time a goal is scored because I want both teams to win, big time!
Is food or football more important to Ghanaian people?
That’s a tough call because both are akin to religion in Ghana.
If you could cook a meal for one of your nation's football heroes, past or present, who would it be and why?
Abedi Pélé because he was our equivalent to the famous Pélé of Brazil and Maradonna of Argentina.
This interview is part of a series on chefs representing each of the countries in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. More interviews.
Ingredients750g-1kg Meat of your choice (eg. lamb shanks cut into rounds of 1cm thick, approximately 2-3 pieces per person)
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 small, red chili peppers (seeded and chopped very finely)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Sea salt and pepper to season meat generously
6 big shallots or 3 large red onions (peeled and diced)
750ml/3 cups tomato purée
1 small egg plant / aubergine (peeled and finely diced)
100g fresh mushrooms (cleaned and stalks removed)
1 small, red capsicum (seeded and quartered)
2 red chillies (optional extra, seeded & left whole)
2 medium bunches of fresh basil
2½ litres/10cups hot water
1 litre (4cups) boiling hot water (including 250ml/1cup to warm up pan)
21 x 115g packet of instant mashed potato
100g (¾cup) potato flour
250ml (1cup) warm water
PreparationPut the pieces of meat in a bowl, season thoroughly with paprika, chopped chili, sea salt and vegetable oil and stir well to coat each piece of meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight preferable so seasoning can permeate meat. Next day, pre-heat oven to 180C and dry roast the seasoned meat for about 45minutes, or until cooked and brown. Remove from heat and arrange meat in a Dutch oven or a large, 3-litre capacity saucepan. Set aside baking pan with caked juices.
In a large blender or food processor, blend together the onions, tomato puree, egg plant / aubergine and half (5 cups) of the hot water until smooth. Pour mixture over the meat and bring to the boil. Use some of the remaining hot water to de-glaze the baking dish and add that too plus, the remaining hot water to the meat in the saucepan.
Add the mushrooms, capsicums, chillies (if using) and basil and bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat and simmer on low to medium until soup thickens slightly and the meat is soft and tender, about 1 hour. You will see small globules of pink oil starting to collect on top of the soup, that is an indication your soup is either cooked or very nearly there.
Traditionally, one would boil enough root vegetables of choice i.e. yam, taro, plantain, cassava etc then drain and with the addition of small amounts of water, pound with a pestle and mortar until it binds together to form a smooth, malleable, slightly sticky fufu dumpling. It is then portioned out and formed into neat balls and served with the soup. However, large pestles & mortar set-ups are neither readily available nor used in western kitchens so try the following method.
Warm a medium non-stick saucepan with 250ml (1cup) of boiling water, leave water in it and let it stand. In a small jug or bowl, blend together the potato flour with 250ml/1cup) warm water, this water must not be boiling or too hot or it would cook the starch prematurely.
Discard boiling water from saucepan and pour in the instant mashed potato powder. Stir through remaining boiling water to make it just runny (750ml/3 cups) and quickly pour in the blended potato flour. Using a wooden spoon, briskly stir the mix together, pressing mixture against inside of pan as you go to avoid lumps and form a smooth, malleable, big dumpling of fufu. Wet your hands under a running tap of water, divide dumpling into four portions. Moisten 4 soup bowls; shape each dumpling into a smooth mound of fufu and place in the middle of bowl.
Ladle hot soup generously over the top and around it. Arrange some meat and mushroom on top of each mound of fufu. Serve straight away and tuck in. Bon Appétit!
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