I often meet fellow Ghanaians who are surprised when I tell them that I am vegan. They tell me that they can’t give up the meat, poultry, or seafood in our national dishes. I understand how they feel. When I was wavering in my decision to become vegan, part of my hesitancy was in thinking that I would have to give up all the foods I love so much. Well, I am here to tell you that we can still enjoy the wonderful cuisine of home without sacrificing taste and at the same time preventing animal cruelty.
To those of you who aren’t Ghanaian but are open to trying more worldly cuisine, I hope you expand your palate by trying this dish. Click here to find out the recipe.Ingredients:
2 Packages of vegan beef chunks (can be bought here)
30 Okra fresh pods (sliced)
2 Packages of chopped frozen spinach
Note– Typically, there isn’t spinach in okra stew. Since I had a lot of spinach and not enough okra, I decided to freestyle and combine the two in one delicious dish.
1 Large onion (sliced)
1 Large tomato (sliced)
1 Small can of tomato sauce
3 Large garlic cloves (minced)
1 ½ Inch piece of fresh ginger (minced)
1 Scotch bonnet pepper (cut in half)
1 Veggie bouillon cube
2 Tsp of vegan “beef” bouillon
1 Tbsp of kelp flakes
1/3 Cup red West African Palm oil
2 Sprigs of thyme
1 Tbsp sea salt
When it comes to Ghanaian food I only know how to make large portions. Please know in advance that you will need a large pot for this.
In a separate pot, place the slice okra with water to cover it and let it come to a slow boil. (It will become slimy and soft but that is what we want).
In a large pot (using medium heat/flame), saute the garlic, ginger, onions, tomatoes, and scotch bonnet in the palm oil until they are almost tender. Then add the two packages of frozen spinach and allow it to cook down stirring everything occasionally to ensure that nothing burns. By now the okra should be cooked through. Skim the residue off the top and then pour the entire pot of okra into the pot with the stew.
Stir everything well to incorporate all of the ingredients. Now add the veggie bouillon cube. In Ghana, we typically use a shrimp Maggi cube for this dish. Maggi cubes while tasty are full of MSG and well shrimp. So instead use the unsalted veggie bouillon cube. Then add the tablespoon of kelp flakes to give that shrimp taste to the stew. Note: If you have it, you can even add some vegan shrimp to this dish to to give it a nice taste and a little more authenticity.