This week on our Afro Cuisine recipe is Akontoshi. It is another #TastyThursday and we want you to savor a taste of Africa. You can search for the ingredients in African stores around you; or better still take a trip to Africa and give your tastebuds a treat. Ghana Akotonshi is a delectable stuffed crab dish.
The word for “crab” in Twi is kɔtɔ or ɔkɔtɔ orokoto. Kotokyim is the Akan name for “crab stew” and akontoshi refers to a classic Ghanaian stuffed crab dish topped with bread crumbs.
INGREDIENTS FOR AKONTOSHI
- 2 lbs cooked crab meat or 4 whole crabs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
- 4 cloves
- 4 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 green bell peppers, finely chopped
- pinch of paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- ¾ tsp. grains of paradise, ground to a powder (Optional)
- 1 tsp minced African bird peppers (use hot Thai peppers if unavailable), mashed to a paste
- 1 tbsp dried shrimp
- ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 sprig parsley
- If cooking whole crabs, clean them and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add in the ginger, cloves and the crab, cook for 15 minutes. Remove crabs and meat, keep shells for plating. If using just crab meat Mix crab meat with ¼ cup water that has been boiled with the ginger piece and cloves for 15 minutes.
- Drain water, flake the meat and set aside.
- In a heavy pot, heat oil to medium temperature and add other ingredients in the following sequence, stirring for a minute or so between each: onions, ground ginger, tomatoes, tomato paste, green pepper, cumin, nutmeg, thyme, grains of paradise, paprika, mashed peppers, and dried shrimp.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until vegetables are cooked.
- Add crab meat and stir another couple of minutes to heat it through.
- Then spoon the mixture into clean crab shells or ramekins (small individual baking dishes).
- Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of each crab and toast under an oven broiler, being careful not to let the crumbs scorch.
- Garnish with parsley.
Voila! A delicious, impressive first course to a meal. Even better, you can prepare the stew and the bread crumbs ahead of time, and just stuff and heat them at the last minute. They should be served warm.
Variations: Ghanaians would likely use more oil in the gravy than I suggest. Sometimes butter replaces the oil. Sometimes cheese is added.