Northern Ireland was supposed to be the next post, but stay tuned… I’m having a hard time getting a certain ingredient. I was tired of not doing my international dishes while searching for the elusive ingredient, so I skipped ahead.
Ghana – a country I know nothing about. It’s in Africa, Spencer says they have a history of good soccer teams, and the prominent dish reminds me of a nursery rhyme (as in, “Little Bunny ____”). With no knowledge, I had no expectations approaching this dish, but isn’t that the best approach to have – no expectations? They can be hindrance to any experience, so I welcomed this frame of mind.
I found myself pleasantly surprised and nostalgic when eating this dish. It’s like mashed potatoes, but with different starchy ingredients. This one calls for cassava or yucca root, and plantains. I have not found cassava roots, nor cassava leaves, despite it showing up in every African dish I’ve encountered. I substituted with a white sweet potato, even though the recipe said no sweet potatoes. Oops.
Mashed potatoes, or something reminiscent to them, instantly reminded me of The Farm. My mom’s family always gathers at The Farm, my grandpa and uncle’s home. It sits on a sprawling landscape, with beautiful views and few neighbors. These gatherings are known for making multiple crockpots of mashed potatoes, not just because we are a big family, but because we love them, always going back for seconds.
But this isn’t exactly the Midwestern side dish my family cherishes. This is an African dish, beloved in Ghana, and it has plantains. If my Uncle Radar heard that there were bananas in the mashed potatoes, he’d flip. If fish tacos (“Those aren’t no damn tacos!”) are a stretch in his cuisine, you know that fufu would be, too.
But my fufu turned out well, and I think most people (even Radar) would actually enjoy fufu. I do not own an electric beater, and the plantains were difficult to blend with the sweet potato. This made the final result chunkier than preferred. I would never make the sin of over-beating my mashed potatoes, so I decided to leave the plantains a little chunky to save the sweet potato from being liquified. Truthfully, the sweet potato held up better than the potatoes you usually use. Besides, any flaw can be saved with some butter and a sprinkling of salt.
- Cassava root
S: “Sweet mashed potatoes were very interesting. I felt my good fortune and privilege enjoying this with a pork roast.”
T: “Reminiscent of mashed potatoes. I like the plantains in it, despite the texture it created – it added a different kind of sweet flavor. I liked this comfort food dish.”
- The capital of Ghana is Accra
- The official language is English
- Ghana has one of the strongest and prosperous economies in Africa
- It was the first country in sub-saharan Africa to launch a cellular network (1992), and one of the first to use the internet
- The meaning behind the design of Ghana’s flag:
- red stands for the blood spilled to achieve the nation’s independence
- gold stands for Ghana’s industrial mineral wealth
- green symbolizes the rich tropical rainforests and natural resources of Ghana
- Read this to learn about what the black star represents
- Ghana’s national football team is called “The Black Stars”, after the black star on the flag