Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Gauging Principle In Ghanaian Cookery

As we sat in the troski, waiting for the traffic light to turn green so the vehicle would finally move after what seemed like eternity, a hawker passed by holding children's books and a Ghanaian recipes book. The latter quickly caught my attention and got me thinking. Being a passionate cook, I  enjoy experimenting with recipes from all parts of the world.  One thing that has always amazed me is how accurately the measurements of ingredients are listed and how perfectly the dish prepared turns out when you follow all instructions to the latter and, use the right measuring tools.

But lets face it, how many homes in Ghana even own measuring tools? Everybody operationally defines what "1 cup" is supposed to be. It could be the cups that come with rice cookers or cups as large as a water jug. My mum once told me when I asked about this issue that experience makes one a master of measurements and timings. So after cooking with her and on several occasions, these were some of the things I learnt during my teen years.
  1. You can tell if soups and stews are done by looking to see if and how much oil has come to the surface after a long period of simmering.
  2. When cooking rice and you want to soften it without adding water, you cover the food with a plastic bag so the steam softens the rice.
  3. When there is too much salt in soups or stews, you put in a potato or thick slice of yam to absorb the excess salt.
Also, one important lesson I learnt was that when adding spices, you gauge (estimate quantities).

Got any fylla to share on the topic?


  1. ha i didn't know about putting yam in the soup or stew to absorb the salt.. hmm interesting.. cooked yam or raw yam?

  2. @ Gifty: Really? I'm glad you have learnt something new. Oh, and the yam is raw (peeled).

  3. No filla, just relishing the beauty and simplicity of your writing and of the subject matter you chose. Lovely lovely narrative. I will be back! But I've heard something washing a charcoal chip and dropping it in soup (but I guess that's a preservation rather culinary skill).

  4. @ Nana Yaw: Your praises make me blush. Thanks love.
    What you heard about the charcoal is true. It is used to preserve soups that have started showing signs of spoilage and, it absorbs bad odours when placed in the refrigerator.


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