'Kontomire'(Cocoyam leaves)and Egusi (Melon seeds) stew are staples in most Ghanaian homes and can be made with meat, shellfish and fish. It's best served with boiled Yam, Cocoyam, Plantain, Cassava or steamed rice. I've substituted the Cocoyam leaves for Spinach.
2 bags of Spinach (2 bundles of Cocoyam leaves, washed and chopped roughly)
1 large onion cut lengthways
1 Habenero pepper /10 Kpakpo shito (Popular Ghanaian chillies)
4 large diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons of Palm oil
2 large size smoked Mackerel (remove the skin, bones, head and discard)
2 perfectly ripened oily Avocado cut into chunks.
1 teaspoon of grated ginger.
2 litres of water
Half a teaspoon of salt.
125g of ground Egusi (Melon seeds)
Place a saucepan on a medium heat and add the Palm oil
Once the oil melts, add the onion and fry gently for about 1 minute.
Then add the chillies and fry for a further minute.
Add the ginger and fry for 30 sec
Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 5 minutes (stir the sauce to prevent it from burning).
Then add the Mackerel to the sauce and cook for a further 3 minutes.
In a separate bowl add 200ml of water to the Egusi (Melon Seeds) and mix till you have a double cream consistency.
At this stage reduce the temperate to a low heat and add the Egusi sauce.
Cover this and allow the sauce to steam the Egusi for about 5 minutes.
Take care in stirring the sauce as you don't want to break the Mackerel into tiny pieces.
On a high heat boil the Cocoyam leaves for about 8 minutes or if you're using Spinach leaves, just blanch them for 30 seconds.
To blanch spinach;
Bring water to a boil in a saucepan.
Take the saucepan off the heat and add the washed spinach.
Mix it thoroughly for 30 seconds (till the spinach wilts).
Drain the spinach into a colander and run it under cold water, (this stops the spinach from cooking further and maintains it's green colour).
Make sure you squeeze any excess water out of the Spinach.
Using an earthen ware pot or a food processor add the spinach, some chillies from the sauce (if using Kpakpo Shinto) and blend/grind to a smooth paste.
The traditional earthen ware clay mortar with it's wooden pestle.
Add the Spinach to the sauce and mix together evenly, still taking care not to break the Mackerel into pieces.
Cook for a further 2 minutes and turn off the heat.
Serve with either boiled Yam,Cocoyam, Plantain, Cassava or steamed rice and Avocado.
Best with homemade pineapple and ginger juice. Enjoy! All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.
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