Monday, October 26, 2009

Malt Drink

In my memory, it was about twenty three years ago that dark and frothy, non alcoholic malt drink appeared on the Ghanaian scene as Super Malt and Malta Guiness. We were then in university. Thereafter, came the commercialization of our residential common rooms into pubs serving Malt and other drinks and edibles. After basketball practice, we would walk, sweaty and stinky and still innervated to the Republic Hall pub and occassionally the Queen's Hall pub, there to drimk malt. Supermalt had on it's label: for sports men and convalescing patients, nursing mothers etc, alluding to the idea that it was particularly nutritious. Well we drank it and developed the taste for it, and so many years and so many miles awa, we occassionally will buy a box of Malt to indulge ourselves. The problem I find is that it is high in calories and may represent some of the weight gain over the last few years that some of us have experienced. So perhaps we ought to slow down on Malt or have half a glass at the most.

Inside the Pot!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Tomorrow is the Saturday of the Thanksgiving weekend. My plan is to celebrate Hogbetstotso in Toronto with the Ghanaian Canadian Ewes who hail from Southern Volta area. Hogbetsotso is a celebration for an escape and migration which occurred centuries ago in West Africa. This escape will be enacted. The festival also connects with the Harvest celebration, because of the time of year. There will be a lot of food served at Hogbetsotso, much dancing, performances and speeches. I shall take my camera to record the event, particularly the food and also the dance performances.

Spinach Okra-Stephanie's favorite.


Frozen Whole Okra-250grams x2
Frozen Chooped Spinach-300grams x2
1 jar of Pasta sauce (garlic or chilli pepper or original) or 1can of crushed tomatoes or 3 large fresh tomatoes,
1 large Onion quartered and sliced
Vegetable Cooking oil---maybe half a cup or less
2-3 halves of Digby herring
Smoked Salmon-.5kg or more
Stewing beef or pork.5kg or more
Spices: chilli, ginger, Knorr' vegetable stock, or maggi cube, garlic.

The simmer meat with half of chopped onion and only a pinch salt. Save the stock,
Fry meat in cooking oil with other half of chopped onion, add tomato of your choice.
Season sauce with chilli, fresh crushed or powder.
A dash of garlic, ginger and Knorr vegetable stock or 1-2 cubes of maggi.
Chop up digby herrings and add for flavour,
Add large bits of Smoked Salmon
Slice frozen okra fine, when it has thawed slightly and holds up well on achopping on a board.
Simmer for a few minutes.
Add frozen chopped spinach,
Simmer on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
Taste as you cook and make modifications.
Serve with rice, or potatoes or banku.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Much has happened in a few short weeks and I have been too overwhelmed to blog. We moved house. Don't ask me about that! We are still intact. Thank God. It is quite exciting but very draining too with many little surprises and teeny shocks along the way. There was no inspiration to blog- none whatsoever but perhaps I'm coming back.

Yesterday we returned to work teaching two workshops at the North York Library in Toronto for the MTML and TPL joint conference for literacy learners and teachers. The energy was great and I was reinvigorated.

More importantly Obama has won the hotly contested Democratic primaries. What a historic race. So I'm thinking of a victory meal that both Obama and Clinton could share. I will be blogging on that soon.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shitor: Enough to Share!

Don't take my word for it, we Ghanaians don't measure. We udge withour eyes and weigh in our palms.

I've been thinking of the shitor we made in Ghana all those years ago. I've been considering how the measurements would add up, as we didn't measure much except rice and cake mixes. We learnt from our mothers how to judge weights and volumes with our eyes. Try this only if you're feeling adventurous. Because of the strong cooking smell of shitor, plan to make a lot of it at once, either to share or to freeze for later use. Shitor lasts long if the ingredients used are dry, the jar is clean and dry before use, and if one uses a clean dry spoon to serve it.

Up to 1 litre of vegetable oil.

4 large onions

1 cup tomato puree

1/2 cup of powdered chilli peppers.

3 cups of dried powdered shrimp

1 cup of dried powdered anchovies

2+ teaspoons of salt to taste

Heat oil, and add chopped onion. Just as onions brown, add puree. Stir to mix and break up the thick puree in the oil. Add four Magi cubes after five minutes, then add the mixture of powders: chilli, shrimp and anchovies. Add salt to taste.

Other additions and substitutions to try:
1/2 cup Ginger powder, 1/2-1cup onion powder or dehydrated minced onion, and 1/4 cup garlic powder.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mix and Match, Shitor: Fried Pepper Sauce

Dark brown to black in colour, this fried pepper preserve is used all over Ghana and West Africa. It could also be known as "The student's companion." For at least fifty years it has accompanied students to boarding schools for all of seven years and then some. I believe it is a Ga concoction, and oneof their most important contributions to Ghanaian culinary culture.

I'm looking for a good way to spell its most common name, while trying to get away from the first few letters: Shitor is at present my best spelling.
Usually shitor is made from dried powdered ingredients, except for onions which are sliced and fried first and tomato puree which some people add before the mix of dried ground or powdered chilli peppers, powdered dried shrimps, powdered dried anchovies (or other small sized fish popularly known in Ghana as Keta schoolboys). Don't forget salt... and some people add other flavourings such as Magi cube or Oxo.

When I was young, it amazed me how the oil frothed up high in the pan once the dry ingredients were put in. My mother's shitor was short on pepper and much more on shrimp and fish powder. Some people go so far as to fry beef cubes for their shitor-boy is it ever good! My experience was that we went fishing for the beef which we quickly depleted. And am not sure such fancy shitor lasts quite as long as common shitor.

Shitor is made to last months or about as long as the school term endures. Shitor is eaten in small amounts. Amounts between a teaspoon and a tablespoon is about as much as is needed as a dip for kenkey, banku or gari. Of course this depends on just how hot it is. Shitor can also be used to spice up a sauce or stew after it is cooked and is often stored in a jar in a fridge. Use a clean dry spoon to serve it .

Occassionally I spice up my sauces with shitor while am cooking.
The perfect shitor mix is really according to taste and I would suggest less chilli and more shrimp powder for those searching for flavours other than hot. Hot can sometimes obscure all other flavours so beware.

I don't make shitor at home because it has a strong cooking smell. But it's easy to find it at African grocery stores. I usually go for jars marked medium, as compared to hot or mild, but the heat varies from maker to maker.
Here's another recipe which I shall measure out in cups and spoonfuls when I am ready!