Ghanaian Food Cravings

Ever since being back in the US, some of the typical American food I eat and cook on a regular basis has been a turnoff for me.  It tastes fine the first time I eat it, but I have no desire to eat it a second time.

Admittedly, I miss the Ghanaian dishes and fresh produce typical of a tropical country.  I miss the groundnut soup (peanut butter based soup eaten with rice), red-red (black-eyed peas in a red sauce over fried plantains), light soup (red broth soup equivalent in Ghanaian culture to our chicken noodle soup).  All of these dishes are spicy, something I adjusted to and grew to enjoy.  I miss the street food and snacks that were so easy to get and yet so yummy tasting, like grilled plantains, kelewele (spicy fried plantains), groundnut cakes (similar to peanut brittle), and meat kebabs coated in a red spice.  Mmm.  Alan and I had a favorite little restaurant only blocks from where we lived.  They made the best rotisserie chicken and fried rice.  I enjoyed cooking new dishes in our apartment and having to be creative because of the limited and unique ingredients I had to work with.

I’ve tried making groundnut soup since returning to the US.  It was close, although not quite right.  We don’t exactly have all the same ingredients on hand here that were used there.  I’ve never seen the peppers they use to spice up the food except in Ghana.  However, my groundnut soup was close enough that I’ll make it again.  Alan’s favorite dish is red-red, which I haven’t attempted to make yet.  One key ingredient is red palm oil, which I’ve never seen in an American grocery store.

Yesterday, while out driving near Pine Hills, an Orlando neighborhood, I spotted something that caught my eye—an African grocery store!  I finished my errands for the day and backtracked to find this store.  I excitedly got out of the car and went inside, confident I’d find that one elusive ingredient.  Sure enough, AFIPA African Market carries red palm oil.  To my complete surprise and pleasure, it is owned and operated by a Ghanaian woman and her son.  She asked if I know any of the local language, and I responded “Ca cra, ca cra,” meaning a little bit or more literally, “small, small”.  She was very kind, even offering for me to call her at the store for Ghanaian food recipes.  This week I look forward to eating red-red, another of my favorite Ghanaian dishes.




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9 responses to “Ghanaian Food Cravings

  1. Dianne Davidson

    Well that was pure providence in finding that African store. Perhaps it will be a friendship in the making. Everything is doing fine over here. It is raining right now.

  2. Charlene

    Tywonn, Congrats on finding that store! What a treat from the Father. Enjoy red-red. Wish I could try some. 🙂

  3. Hey, real glad you found that African market! And she is Ghanaian! Very special. Now you can make red-red any time you want. I am missing it, too. Karen and I are based in Virginia for 4 months and I have not yet seen any palm oil. But I should look for an African market. Maybe I’ll google it… 🙂 Take care, Tywonn.

  4. raindwops

    So cool! There are so many things that you get to used to when your across the pond and the food is huge. Whenever I really get a real hankering for Ukraine, I take it straight to the kitchen…LOL! Potato Surprise it is! Makes we want to be in Ukraine :O( Tomorrow! My brother used to work at a Barber Shop in Pine Hills…yay!

    Keep cookin’ it up! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Admittedly, I got the recipe for red-red off the internet. It was kind of hard to get an exact recipe while in Ghana, since the lady who I watched make it, never really measured anything. Sadly, it turned out all wrong. I don’t know what was wrong, but it definitely wasn’t right. Alan and I weren’t even willing to eat it. It was so disappointing. What’s even sadder, is that I can’t even remember exactly what it’s supposed to taste like. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to eat the real thing again in the future.

  6. I tried making kelewele (spicy fried plantains), a street food in Ghana. I could tell it wasn’t right but at least it wasn’t bad, either. I spoke with the owner of the African store, and I missed a few ingredients. One I can get at a regular store, the other ingredient, she didn’t know the name in English. I think I figured it out by searching the internet, but I’m not sure I can get it in the US.

  7. Savittrie aboagye

    Hi lady’s I’m not from Ghana,I am very happy to say I married a ghanaian love of my life. I love Ghana food I am trying to cook blackeye stew and ripe!!!lol.anyone

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