Synopsis from Hachette Book Group:
Remix classic Ghanaian dishes for the modern kitchen in a cookbook that is “bright, bold, and bursting with flavor” (Bryant Terry) and “provides a new perspective and a sense of wonder for Ghanaian cooking” (Sicily Sierra)
Celebrated cook and writer Zoe Adjonyoh passionately believes we are on the cusp of an African food revolution. First published to widespread acclaim in the United Kingdom, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen began as a pop-up restaurant in London featuring dishes such as Pan-Roasted Cod with Grains of Paradise, Nkruma (Okra) Tempura, Cubeb-Spiced Shortbread, and Coconut and Cassava Cake. Soon those dishes evolved into this tempting and celebratory cookbook, newly revised and updated for American cooks.
Join Zoe as she shares the beauty of Ghana’s markets, culture, and cuisine, and tells the evocative story of using these tastes and food traditions to navigate her own identity. Whether you are familiar with the delights of Ghanaian cuisine or new to the bold flavors of West Africa, this book contains inspiration for extraordinary home cooking, in dishes such as:
Simple Fried Plantains
Red Red Stew
Red Snapper and Yam Croquettes
Nkatsenkwan (Peanut Butter Stew with Lamb)
Jollof Fried Chicken
Ghana-fied Caesar Salad
With flexible recipes for hearty salads, quick and wholesome dinners, flavorful feasts, and much more, Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen brings truly exciting and flavor-packed dishes into your kitchen. This is contemporary African food for simply everyone.
About: Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen is a cookbook written by Zoe Adjonyoh. It was published on 10/19/2021 by Voracious Books, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, hardcover, 256 pages. The genres are cookbook, cooking, and African cuisine. According to the publisher’s website, “We are Voracious: a new imprint at Little, Brown led by Editorial Director Michael Szczerban, launching our first list in Fall 2019. Our publishing interests are wide-ranging, but our books are driven by twin forces: appetite and curiosity. To us, books are a matter of passion. Our mission is to connect readers with what they love most—from politics and Instant Pots to irreverent advice and pop culture. Most of our books are illustrated, and all of them are designed to make readers pick them up and immediately engage with them. Our authors are artists, entrepreneurs, cooks, photographers, tastemakers, thought leaders, scientists, storytellers, historians, humorists—and more.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started out by making Coconut Rice on 11/13/2021. It was easy, but I was nervous because I have always cooked my rice in a rice cooker. This time I cooked it on the stovetop. It needed more monitoring. It turned out tasty and creamy! I loved it. I cooked it again on 12/17/21 to eat with flank steak and fried salmon.
Then I tried making Mango & Pineapple Salad. The only ingredient I skipped in this dish was spiced cashews. I substituted raspberries in its place. I enjoyed the salad. It’s a good mixture of fruits and juices to get rid of the bitter taste of arugula.
This picture above here showed the coconut rice and Mango Pineapple Salad I made using the recipes from Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen cookbook. The two snappers I used the air fryer to cook.
Then on 11/27/2021, I learned how to make fried plantains. I loved eating it. I didn’t add any optional ingredients. I eat as is. I started out cooking 3 but decided to cook all 5 after I tasted the cooked plantains. It was delicious. I paid 5 for $3 at Publix. It was so easy to make! From the picture below, the book informed that there are 5 ways to making plantains. I decided on the fried plantains to try first because it was the author’s favorite but I was surprised that there are recipes for green plantains too.
On 1/9/2022, I attempted to make Tatale Plantain Pancake! It’s easy to make and the recipe was easy to follow. It tasted delicious and I can see myself eating a lot of it in the future! I substituted sweet onions for white onions. I skipped the peppers and chilies ingredients as well as ginger root. I loved that there’s no added sugar for this dish because plantain is naturally sweet.
There are so many dishes I want to eat in here, which surprised me because I haven’t been to an African restaurant before. I will add more pictures on here later as I cook more dishes.
This book opens up to a picture of the author and chef Zoe Adjonyoh chopping peppers. A table of contents is listed. There’s an introduction page informing readers that African cuisines are not as well known as other cuisines and the chef wanted to change that. She wrote this book to include recipes that are for comfort, play, and inspiration. The author said she’s a self-taught chef. Her focus will be on Ghanaian foods.
The author has a website to sell West African spices so that everyone can have access to the true taste of West African flavors. There’s an area where she shared her food journey to readers. Somehow she’s more interested in her dad’s Ghanaian side of cuisines than her mom’s Ireland side. I like seeing the family photos within these pages. I like her advice on choosing ginger as well as choosing yams. There’s a page where the author discussed about spices & herbs and Ghana’s 3 basic ingredients. It’s interesting for me to learn that African dishes uses a lot of chilies. I guess pretty much all countries eat spicy foods. Another page discussed about grains & legumes. Now I know Ghanaian eat rice a lot too. I will have to try basmati rice one day. I’m currently eating Korean rice.
There’s a page titled other staple ingredients & flavorings as well as fruits and vegetables. I’m surprised soursop is a Ghanaian fruit because I grew up eating it in Vietnam. I haven’t eaten it in a long time. I learned that Okra flowers are edible from the author’s Instagram page but she didn’t mention it in the vegetables page of this cookbook. I was super surprised by that. I will have to try it next summer because this summer was my first time growing it in my backyard. The number labels on the fruits & vegetables pictures were helpful since the pictures weren’t on the same page as the description.
This cookbook differentiate itself from other cookbooks by the music list of recommendations from the author after the salad page. Zoe wants us to listen to Ghanaian music while cooking Ghanaian dishes! Between recipes, there are stories about the author, similar to a memoir divided into 4 parts. Part 1 of her “My Ghana Story” located on page 90 of the Fish & Seafood, part 2 located on page 118 at Veggie Dishes, part 3 on page 166 at Sides, and part 4 on page 184 at Desserts. I see the open market and street food pictures in Ghana is not so different as the open market & street foods in Vietnam. I enjoyed reading the author’s memoir. Funny how many sentences ended with “o” when Zoe’s aunt or uncle said something. At the end of the cookbook, there’s another list of music to listen to while eating. I loved the patterns between the menus. The cover and back cover of this cookbook is gorgeous! I highly recommend everyone to try this cookbook!
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Zoe Adjonyoh is a writer, chef, and food justice activist on a mission to bring African food to the masses. As a mixed-race, queer woman born to a Ghanaian father and Irish mother who works at the intersections of food, culture, identity, and politics, she is driven to create change in the food landscape. Through her online single-origin spice shop, teaching, and cooking, Zoe seeks to inspire African food entrepreneurs, cooks, and chefs from the continent and the diaspora. Zoe also founded the platform Black Book for Black and non-white people working within hospitality and food media. Join her as she dismantles, disrupts, and decolonizes the food industry while supporting marginalized communities and building a more equitable food system. (Photo obtained from the author’s Instagram page and info obtained from Hachette’s website).
More Information About Voracious Books
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Little, Brown and Company for the opportunity to read, cook, and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.