Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ghanaian Chicken Stew and White Rice

Last weekend we made Ghanaian stew, with chicken and white rice--and it was yummy! I've always wondered what makes Ghanaian chicken taste so good. I think it must be that it is steamed first (fully cooked) BEFORE it is simply fried in oil. That gave the chicken a really juicy inside with an awesome crispy outside. Honestly, we would have eaten all the chicken up before being put in the stew if I wasn't so committed to doing it the way the recipe said to!

This meal took Eric and I a pretty solid 2 hours to cook, but I'm sure that folks with more Ghanaian cooking experience will laugh at that. We didn't have the "right" style cooking pots and were worried about that, but in the end our wok and soup pot did the trick okay. I don't think the cooking temp was quite high enough on the stew, which caused it to take longer than the recipe suggested.The chicken. This photo doesn't do it justice. It was really golden brown. I'm so not used to using a whole chicken. We tried to cut it into the "soup size" pieces I see in Ghana, but I think they were still a little large. The recipe called for 2 pounds chicken (a normal size chicken in Ghana) and our American chicken was 5.73 pounds! Yikes!

This is our tomatoes. I don't have a blender, or a Ghanaian Asanka, so I just squished them with my hands. We tried the hand mixer, but that didn't do anything to them. Vine Ripe tomatoes were much more juicy and "right" than the Roma tomatoes.

Onions! These were not chopped "right" for Ghana food, but they worked fine. By the end they were very soft, just like they should be.

This is what the pot looked like after the tomatoes, onions, spices, and chicken broth were put together. When we first put it together it did NOT taste good. It tasted super sweet. I'm inexperienced with cooking tomatoes. The tomatoes were just not cooked yet. Once they cooked down and we added some salt, it tasted just right to me (but a Ghanaian would say MORE PEPPER!).
End result of the stew, with chicken pieces added back in. Gotta tell ya, the fam was not too keen on me putting the chicken in the stew, ruining all of the fried crunchy goodness. =-)
This was our attempt at making the rice. We are usually instant/quick rice folks. I do not have good experiences with cooking "real" rice! This recipe told us to put a plastic bag over the pot, and then add the lid, and then let it sit for 20 minutes (after it came to a boil).
The end result LOOKS good, but it was actually undercooked. Totally stinks that the stew was perfect and the rice was a miss! I think everybody would have had better reviews of the meal if only we had properly cooked rice! [The next day, with leftovers, I cooked some quick rice in chicken broth and that was awesome! LOL!]

Here is Kendi's bowl of food. She LOVED it. She at 4 pieces of chicken. That one--such a huge chicken-on-the-bone fanatic! The next day the leftovers were eaten eagerly. Everybody really liked the meal and is all for putting this in our meal rotation. =-)

Love, Anita

P.S. Even though I say I don't like all the spice in Ghanaian food, I really think we should have added one or two hot peppers. Just a little more spice than curry alone would have made it taste more authentic.


Mama D.'s Dozen 10:45 PM  

We've always used regular rice, and I've never heard of using a plastic bag. I just don't like the thought of plastic on/in my food.

We always used to put the rice and water into the pot ... and put a kitchen towel under the lid. We love the taste of rice cooked that way.

Now ... we use a rice cooker and LOvE it.

Reminds me of a funny story, though ...

when we were in ghana and told our new children that we had a "rice cooker" at home, they thought that we hired someone to cook our rice.

:) :) :)

A. Gillispie 10:51 PM  

LOL! That's funny Laurel! I was very into doing the cooking, this time, exactly how someone did it in Ghana. That's why we used the bag. Not going to be a new thing for us! =-) I do think it would benefit me to learn how to make regular rice. I know the method but it never seems to work out for me. Some people can't make good bread. I can't make good rice!

Jemima 7:01 AM  

Hi there This is Jemima, the writer/cook on the ghanaianfood blog. I was so thrilled to find someone who had given one of the recipes a try, and with great results. I'm glad the whole family enjoyed it. About having plastic on/in food, well, I for one, used to have a really hard time cooking rice. It was either under cooked or soggy. This is one trick I know that simulates the environment in the ricecooker and so gives a better shot at perfect rice, the old-school way. But hey this is cooking, no hard and fast rules, versatility is what makes it fun.