'Asanka' is an earthenware clay bowl with internal ridges, which helps when grinding with a wooden pestle (which accompanies it). It's a must have Kitchen product in Ghana, than a blender.
Asanka and Wooden pestle
It also doubles up as a serving dish and particularly lands a special earthy taste to any dish.
The earthenware bowl is either red brick or black in colour. It's popularly known as an 'Asanka' or 'Apor-tor-yuwa'.
One of my favourite dishes prepared in an earthenware bowl is Garden eggs with peanuts, known as 'Abom' locally.
Whenever next you visit an African shop, ask for one and exercise your bicep whilst cooking.
I can't help but notice the similarities of this African dish with the Middle Eastern dish of Baba Ghanoush.
For this recipe, I replaced the garden eggs with chargrilled Aubergine (what was readily available).
The burnt Aubergine lent a smoky taste to the dish and be warned, you will be licking your fingers.
1 large chargrilled Aubergine or 6 large boiled garden eggs
6 soaked Kashmiri chillies (use any chilli, you prefer)
1 large chopped red onion
1 green chopped chilli
1 medium sized sliced banana shallots (Any white onion will do)
150g of roasted and peeled peanuts
2 tablespoons of Zomi (Spiced Palm oil)
4 boiled eggs (alternatively use any smoked fish)
1 medium diced ripened Avocado
Salt to taste
An earthenware bowl and wooden pestle, 'Asanka' (readily available in most African shops)
Add the Kashmiri chillies, onion and salt to the Asanka. (For an easy grind, use rock salt). The rock salt lends extra roughness to the bowl and ingredients, enabling for a smooth and quick grind.
How to use an Asanka;
Use the wooden pestle, by holding it in your palm, (with a little body weight shifted to your hand) grind the ingredients by making semi circle strokes, (as shown below). Subscribe and see the video on my YouTube page. Click here. http://youtu.be/h_qeT9uZnBs
(You'll notice after a few months of using the Asanka, you'll develop some good biceps 😜)
Grind the mixture to a smooth paste (as shown above).
Add the roasted peanuts and grind to a smooth paste.
At this stage if you're using any smoked fish, grind a quarter of it into the sauce for added flavour.
Traditionally, garden eggs are used in making this dish.
Garden eggs are in the middle of this picture.
If your using Garden eggs, take the heads off and divide in two.
Place a saucepan with 600ml of water on a medium heat.
Add the garden eggs and boil for 10-12 minutes or until it's soft (run a skewer through, to test for softness).
Once cooked drain the water and leave to cool down.
Remove the skin from each garden egg and set aside.
For the burnt Aubergine
Wash and clean your Aubergine and place on a direct heat to char. Best smoky flavour is achieved, using a charcoal grill.
Alternatively, rub with a few drops of olive oil and place under a grill for 15min.
Once charted, transfer to a bowl and cover with cling film, (this will help the smoky flavour to infuse into the Aubergine and secondly help with an easy peel of the skin).
Once the Aubergine is cool to touch, peel the skin (as shown above)
Add the Aubergine/ Garden eggs to the spicy, nutty mixture.
Grind till smooth and well combined
Using a frying pan, add the Zomi (best to use Zomi , as it's a better tasting Palm oil with hints of spices).
Add the banana shallots and chopped green chilli
Fry gently for 4 minutes and remove from the heat.
Use a spoon to make little ridges to the Aubergine mixture (this enables an even distribution of oil over the sauce)
Pour the oil over the surface and add the eggs.
Add the chopped Avocado
Best served with boiled Yam, Apim (Green Plantain), Ripened Plantain, Cassava, Cocoyam etc
Wash it all down with Palm wine. Enjoy!
All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.
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