What’s up #ghanastronomists ! If you’re looking for something quick and easy to put together for a late night meal or tomorrow’s lunch, don’t worry, I got you covered!! This is a prime example of what I generally resort to when prepping a quick meal! You’ve got your protein, your veggies, fiber, and spicy bursts of flavor all in one place!

One thing I’ve learned when it comes to meal preparation is ensuring that you’ve got all your ingredients ready to go in advance before you begin assembling your meal. For example, instead of waiting to prepare the drumsticks the day of, I find it very useful to make a 12-pack of drumsticks at the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge. When I’m ready to assemble my rice bowl, I simply reheat the chicken and boom! We’re good to go. Now for the veggies! Typically, I prepare the veg for the stir-fry right before it goes into the pan. We want to retain its freshness so I recommend giving them a quick chop as you are getting ready to prepare the meal. On this day, I had red onion, mushrooms, and broccoli on hand, but you can use whatever vegetables you have available– 3 is the magic number! That way you get a versatile bunch of veggies with all the vitamins, nutrients and fiber your body craves! Toss in the red onion first to caramelize briefly before adding in the mushrooms and broccoli. Once you have all the veggies in there, add some seasonings! I typically like to add garlic powder, minced onion, cayenne and/or black pepper. Cook until slightly tender and BOOM, our veggie stir-fry is ready!

For the base of our bowl, I used jasmine rice which I made using my rice cooker (saves a lot of time, and super helpful for meal-prepping). To finish it off, I added some avocado for healthy fats, lemon for an extra zing, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and shito (my absolute holy grail) to bring everything together! Shito is a Ghanaian spicy sauce made with ginger, dried shrimp, scotch bonnet, tomato paste, and tons of chili powder that I add to literally everything. I HIGHLY recommend that you try this delicious combo ASAP. The best part about rice bowls is that there’s tons of room for customization, AND they literally come together within minutes (prepping ahead of time is the way to go!)

Now that we’ve got our ingredients in order, let’s take a moment to appreciate the versatility and legacy of rice bowls within Ghanaian cuisine! Growing up in a Ghanaian household, I would always find a 50 pound bag of rice in our pantry. There was never a day where we wouldn’t have a pot of rice ready on standby. My life changed when I recently learned that rice was in fact introduced to the continent, more specifically the West African region, via the Southeast Asia through the Transatlantic slave trade; according to Ifeyironwa Francesca Smith’s cookbook “Food of West Africa: Their Origins and Use.” I have yet to fit the literature that discusses any possible traces of indigenous wild rice beforehand, but I bet your bottom dollar that the traditions behind rice consumption and production date back to the precolonial era. What do you think ghanastronomists?? Is rice an invention of the east? Or do the roots of rice stem from the continent that created all beings?? What other elements are important to consider in this discourse??

I may show some signs of bias considering my roots as a Ghanaian, but I’m genuinely interested in tackling the perceptions we have towards food and the historical and social implications associated with certain ingredients and styles of preparation & preservation. There are many categories that we place on food and nationality, for example, is one of them. Considering my experience in the US, there is always some sort of national pride felt when indulging in a meal that I distinctly associate with my identity as a Ghanaian. This rice bowl you see right here is indeed an endorsement of my national identity as a Ghanaian diasporic individual living in the Midwest❤️💛💚

See you on the flip side #ghanastronomists and remember to stay hungry!

Much Love,

Maame Amma ❤

One thought on “Ghanastronomy Originals: Rice is Life

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