Nzulezo is a village built entirely on stilts and located near Beyin in the pristine Amansuri wetland/Lagoon.
It is constructed out of wood, raffia and steel plates.
The village has a population between 500 and 600 people.
In this area you’ll find a variety of animal, monkeys, birds, crocodiles, marine turtles, snakes and so on.
You can only reach Nzulezo by boat.
You can make your arrangements with the GHANA WILDLIFE SOCIETY in Beyin.
Fufu is the traditional dish of Ghana.
Fufu is a kind of pastry you made of cassava leaves and plantain.
Cassava leave is a kind of spinash and plantain is a kind of banana.
They make a flour out of them.
Women mash that with water in a heavy wooden bowl, with a long heavy wooden stock.
They serve it with hot pepper soup.
This food is very heavy.
You have to eat it on the Ghanaian way:
First you wash your hands on the table, then you eat with your right hand (it is very inpolite to eat with left hand). In West Africa, you only eat with three fingers.
You make a small dice of fufu and soak it in the soup then eat it.
The soup usually contains fish or/and goat meat.
After, you wash your hands and rest, you are too full and cannot move.
Go to any of the local bars and ask for Alomo.
It looks like Campari and tastes as bitter as Campari, with the same colour.
It is made of local herbs.
We use to mix it with beer.
This is one of the Ghanaian real aphrodisiacs!
I could not believe when it became true.
If you drink two-three glasses of this alcohol, don't be alone!
I tested it several times because I thought it was a coincidence, but it really works even if you don't want.
Another Ghanaian food is kenkey. It is a pastry made of mash corn and sold in corn leaves.
You eat it with dry fish or saucy meat, or like you want.
It is very cheap, 2000 cedis and if I eat one, I have enough for the day.
I did not know the diet of my dogs, but I was surprised my house girl was asking so little money for dog food. In fact, she was giving them two balls of kenkey (one ball is the size of a fist) each. She was cutting them into dices and soaking them into fish or meat juice.
In Ghana, with less than one Euro, you eat and drink for one day.
When you go to Ghana, don't miss the Kele-Wele.
Kele-Wele are dices of plantain marinated in a pepper juice and fried softly in palm kernel oil.
They traditionnaly cook that after 5:00 PM everywhere in town and in the villages.
It is a great experience and it is very cheap, less than 5000 cedis for a full bowl.
S h i t o is a typical Ghanaian sauce.
You will receive it in all restaurant to accompany rice.
It is made of dry fish, dry shrimps, dry hot red pepper, mashed onions, mashed ginger and some red oil for cooking.
Everything is mixed in a powder and cooked longly with oil.
The best one are more expensive because they don't use too much oil and then use more expensive stuffs.
It is special but very good.
Don't forget to buy some to go back, it is one of the flavours of Ghana
Another delicious Ghanaian dish, one of my favourite.
They cook rice more than it should, in order that rice becomes like mash. Then, they make balls.
They also prepare a peanut soup, wich remind me the sate sauce of the Thai food.
You can also add some chicken or beef pieces and you have a delicious dish.
Zomi Palm fruits are used to make oil. Traditionally the juice was extracted manually – a task usually done by men as it was physically too demanding for the women – but these days a machine is used for the process. See picture one.
The juice is then boiled over an open fire to make the oil (picture two).
The resulting oil has a deep red colour (see picture three) and is sold as it is in the markets for cooking, although larger organizations will bleach the oil prior to export. It is this natural pigmentation that gives the fried plantain its name in the dish red red. (See the restaurant tips for more details)
As well as culinary uses, the oil can be used to make soaps and candles, as a lubricant and to protect iron surfaces before tin is applied in the tin plate industry. It is also used textile and rubber industries.
This small industry is run as an income generating / poverty alleviating program run by the Methodist Church in Assin Nyankomasi. Local women benefit tremendously from this as it offers them the opportunity to earn some money (see picture four).
The remaining pulp is dried and used as fuel or animal fodder (picture five)
These palm trees are found all over Ghana, and are used in a variety of ways. The Latin name is Elaeis guineensis and they are known throughout the world as oil palms, and are found in many other countries too. The palms are called the Zomi Palm is Ghana and neighbouring countries. They are big business in this part of the world, and hailed as a new social reform. However, the clearing of other forests to make room for the plantations, cause erosion and the oil processing industries dump masses of effluents into the river causing pollution.
After three years, the Zomi Palm no longer produces satisfactory fruits, so the tree is cut down. The leaves are dried and used to produce brooms and palm wine is manufactured from the trunk. A hole is cut in the trunk and a fire is lit inside. When that has died out, the sides of the cavity are scraped and a small channel is cut to allow the palm wine to drip into a container placed below (see picture two). Each tree will produce 8-10 litres of this non-alcoholic drink. We tried some of it (picture three), and it was a quite pleasant, thick, milky liquid, a bit sweet.
Once the tree no longer gives off any more palm wine, the trunk is used as fire wood.
The palm wine is further fermented for four to six days in large drums like the ones in picture one.
The drums are then heated by placing them over an open fire (see picture two), raising them from the flames with the use of car wheel rims.
The liquid is then channeled through cold water into different containers as shown in picture three.
The liquid is left in the drums to ferment for a further four-six days before being drawn off into suitable containers.
We were given a tasting of the finished product of course, in a small plastic glass being handed round (picture five). It was strong, local fire water, but I have tasted worse. The resulting alcoholic drink is known as SODABI.
We bought a large bottle of the stuff (having to provide our own container as they didn’t have any), but I must admit, it didn’t taste quite the same in a glass with a mixer that evening. I have to confess to leaving the bottle behind in the hotel room for the maid. It cost us just over $1 per litre.
Cocoa is the dried and partially fermented oily seed of the cacao tree. Although originating from the Andes, 70% of the world cocoa production now takes place in west Africa, with Ghana taking second place after Ivory Coast. The Latin name theobroma cacao means food of the gods. Like the flower (see picture five), the pods grow straight from the trunk of the tree. The red or orange pods are of poorer quality and generally used for industrial chocolate (see picture four). Normally they are harvested when they are yellow (picture one).
The cocoa pods have a thick outer shell, which contains up to 50 beans contained in a sweet pulp. Although this pulp is edible (in fact it is very nice – we tried sucking a covered bean and it tasted a little like mange to me), the pulp (called baba de cacao) is imperative to the processing of the bean.
The beans, complete with the pulp, are piled in heaps on the ground for several days, during which time the pulp ferments and runs off. Without this fermentation process the cocoa beans will not taste right. Some producers also use the liquified pulp to make alcohol.
The beans are then spread out on trays or the ground and allowed to be dried in the sun before being trodden on much in the same way as grapes during wine production. To make 1kg of chocolate, up to 600 beans are required and the cocoa production is very poorly paid.
Okra is grown in many parts of Africa, it is an ancient plant originating from Ethiopia. It beings to the family Malvaceae. Okra can be either annual or perennial and the plant grows upright to a height of 2m. Okra is one of the most heat- and drought-tolerant vegetables in the world; once the plant has become established, it can survive severe drought conditions. This could be one of the reasons it is grown so widely in Africa.
The plant is grown for its 7-9cm-long fruit and is usually eaten while young as older fruits can become woody. The fruits are used as a thickening agent in many dishes, as they produce a glutinous substance when cooked. Okra leaves may also be eaten, either cooked or added to salads.
Okra was brought to America with the slave route and is now a very popular vegetable in the States.
The Zomi palm produces huge bunches of red fruits from about eight months after planting. The palms are propagated by seed and planted out after eighteen months. The fruit takes 5-6 months to ripen after pollination.
Once the fruit is harvested, it is left in large bunches at the side of the road to be transported to the market, where it is sold for the production of palm oil. The fruit is very greasy and will give off a reddish oil after just a few minutes in the hand as you can see from picture five.
The fruits were also traditionally used in the local culture – prior to asking for a young girl’s hand, the suitor must show that he is hard working and worthy of the young girl’s affections. He will present his prospective father-in-law with many bunches of fruits, bearing some on his shoulders to show his strength. See picture four.
Also known as the manioc, cassava is grown for its large, starch-filled root. It is extensively cultivated as an annual crop throughout Africa, and in every village you can see the ladies pounding the cassava to make fufu – the staple carbohydrate of West Africa. There are many other ways of eating cassava too, including boiled and fried, but the root cannot be eaten raw as it contains substances which convert to cyanide. A flour is made from cassava root too, known as tapioca flour.
Cassava is best eaten very fresh, as the flavour goes off as quickly as one or two days after harvesting, which makes it tricky for export.
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