Destination: Ghana

Today’s virtual field trip was to Ghana. There was so much to cover and so many fun activities, we had to seriously limit ourselves!

After marking our map of the world with this week’s destination, we scampered off to the computer to do some learning. We talked about the Gold Coast and British dominance in this part of the world. Then we spent a little time admiring Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world. A “side trip” to visit the Ashanti people and learning more of their culture was in order.

Here we extended our “trip” for a little bit; learning about the Ashanti way of life and a little about their world view. The day wouldn’t have been complete without a few stories on Anansi the Spider; one of my son’s favorite storybook characters. (We probably check out several a week from the library.)

After enjoying our sit down lessons, we headed into the kitchen for some hands-on fun! I taught the kids how to make a traditional treat from Ghana.

Kelewele

Ingredients:

4-5 ripe, but firm plantains

Wet Spice Mixture
2 tablespoons grated ginger ( or 1 teaspoon ginger powder)
juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime, ~ 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Dry Spice Mixture
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of allspice

Oil for frying

Directions:

Peel and split the plantains lengthwise, then cut into 1/2 inch chunks. Combine the ingredients for the dry spice mixture and set aside.

KeleweleMash the salt, cayenne, ginger, and juice together into a paste, and toss with the plantain chunks to coat. You can add the rest of the dry spices at this point, or you can sprinkle them over the freshly fried plantain. Marinating the plantains with everything will yield a stronger, spicier flavor…so if you’d like to add all or some of the dry spice mixture at this stage, it’s totally up to your taste…

Marinate the plantains for around 20 minutes, but longer is even better :o)

In a sturdy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes… Once the oil is shimmering, add the seasoned plantains in small batches, stirring as they hit the oil to prevent clumping. Deep-fry until golden brown and drain on absorbent paper. While still hot, sprinkle with the dry spice mixture.

Kelewele can be served either as a side dish, or can be eaten alone or mixed with peanuts as a snack.

While it was a fun experience being in the kitchen and doing some cooking; I don’t think Anansi the Spiderwe’ll make these too often, as they didn’t suit my kids’ taste buds. It was great to expand our horizons though and learn new things.

Our craft of the day was making little Anansi spiders out of puff balls and pipe cleaners. We even used little gemstones for his eyes! Lots of fun!

Have your children read Anansi stories? Which is their favorite?

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