Aug. 17, 2016

Here’s to Cassava Chips and Corned Beef Sauce with a Salsa Dip!

Welcome back!

Sometimes I wonder why we, as a nation, do not strive to look at what other nations eat to expand our eating habits.  I say this because if we do really analyse the foods that we eat, we will see that we are not dynamic in researching other ways of using the same ingredients to diversify our dishes. We stick to what we know and have known.  We are just content with what was handed down to us and we will eat them the same way until we die!  

Let’s look at some of our staples like Cassava, Cocoyam, Yam and Beans.  If you ask one hundred Ghanaians what comes to mind when they hear words like “Cassava, “Cocoyam”, “Yam” and “Beans” what do you think they will say? Cassava is only for Fufu, Ampesi and Kokonte and that’s it.  Cocoyam and yam are not that much different either, except for frying them. Beans means “Yoo k3 Gari” (Gari and Beans), “Plantain and Beans”, “Beans stew” and that’s it!  I guess that is following tradition and that is great. However, do we ever worry about what our forefathers’ might think of us if they were to come back and see us stuck with the same old foods they introduced us to? What will they think of us?  Will they think we have been lazy, un-progressive, static and unambitious or will they pat us on the back and say ‘well done for just keeping it as we left it”?

I know India as a tropical country like Ghana does a thousand and one more things with coconuts in preparing their food than we ever care to.  They do the same with their rice dishes?  Have we missed something?  So here’s to Cassava Chips and Corned Beef Sauce with a Salsa Dip! Enjoy!

After all, “a journey of a thousand miles, begins with one step”!

To make this dish, here is what you have to do:

Difficulty and servings

Easy, serves 6

Preparation and Cooking times

Preparation time:  30 minutes: Cooking time:  40 minutes

To make the Cassava Chips

You will need:

2 or 3 large Cassava (@1kg)

Oil for deep frying

Salt

To make the Corned Beef Sauce

You will need:

1 Canned Corned Beef (340g)

100ml Oil

2 medium Onions, chopped

1 tsp White Pepper

1 large Beef Tomatoes, cut into two, scooped

50 ml Water, if needed

To make the Salsa

You will need:

2 fresh Peppers, chopped

1 medium Onion, chopped

1 fresh medium/large Tomato, chopped

Salt to taste

Method:

  1. To fry the chips, peel the skin off the Cassava.  If it is a large tuber, you may want to cut it into two or three pieces diagonally, then half each one horizontally. Remove the middle thread.  Place each piece of Cassava face down and depending on the size, carefully slice into long pieces with a sharp and thin knife. Repeat with all the Cassava, wash and deep fry in batches until golden brown. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Cut the large Beef Tomato into two and scoop out the flesh and the seeds.  Clean and place both on the serving plate.  To make the Corned beef sauce, heat the oil in the saucepan until hot.  Fry the corned beef until colour begins to change.  Add the onion, white pepper and tomatoes and the water to loosen sauce if necessary. Continue cooking until the vegetables are cooked and the sauce is reduced and set aside to cool. When cool, fill up one of the scooped tomatoes on the serving plate with the sauce.
  3. To make the Salsa, mix the chopped peppers, onions and tomatoes and add the salt to taste.  Adjust seasoning and fill up the other scooped tomatoes piece on the serving plate.

Monica’s Tips:  Please note that Cassava varies in taste.  If you are preparing for friends and family, please fry a small bit and make sure that it tastes alright first. Also, deep fry the cassava on medium heat so that it does not burn and it’s properly cooked as burnt cassava can be bitter. You may substitute yams or potatoes for the Cassava chips if you can’t get Cassava.

Let’s keep this debate going.  What do you think?  Please share your views (and photos of your dish) at africaonyourplate.simplesite.com