Friday, 9 September 2011

Nibbling around Ghana

It was imperative that both my visitors had opportunities to try Ghanaian cuisine whilst they were here. As I have said before, most Ghanaian dishes are an acquired taste. They survived Groundnut Soup and Fufu, but also Redred (Beans cooked in Palm Oil), Rice Balls (sticky rice), Palava Sauce (Identical to Sag Aloo in your local Indian take away) and fried & grilled Plantain (like unsweet banana). I tried Kamfor (sweet white blancmange made from maize and wrapped in banana leaf, Mpotopoto (mashed yam with palm oil and strips of beef, like a very thick broth....nursery food)), and a skewer full of grilled snails! I was only asking what they were selling at the side of the road and within moments Francis had bought some. A little over rated and would have been better sauteed in butter and garlic! I shall not bother with them again.
It is amazing what is sold at the side of the road and particularly at toll booths. Young boys struggled with trays of huge live snails all bidding for freedom at once. Somebody stood swinging a large dead bushcat which are eaten here. We met a family making palm wine beside the road and the boy had found a pangolin which he was trying to sell. I can't imagine eating this! As a nocturnal creature it was very unhappy in the light.
At the Aylos Bay Hotel, we ate huge grilled Tilapia fish (the only fish available inland here) on a floating pontoon on the river. After a while we retired to the main building as the bullfrogs' calling made conversation impossible.
In Liate Wote we came across this calabash tree. These "fruits" are the size of water melons and only the outer casing is used, as bowls. The white substance inside has no use, apparently. Unusual here where everything is useful for something!
As an aside.......about 2 months ago we gave some old packets of assorted seeds, that were in the house, to one of our office colleagues. He arrived here today with 3 courgettes the size of marrows. Apparently, he harvested large quantities of these on his farm and fed most of his village with them whilst we were away. They were much enjoyed although nobody knew what they were eating. He came to bring me some and to find out what they were called. He is drying seeds ready for next year. Might we be responsible for bringing courgettes to North Ghana?

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