There’s so little known about Sorghum in Ghana aside it being used to produce the local beer ‘pito’. But did you know its the third most consumed grain after maize and rice in Ghana? Sorghum when milled is used for Tuo, Koko and Masa. Imagine my shock when I realised that Sorghum is even eaten in the United States ( major producer of this whole grain) in very diverse ways too! Why did I ever think Sorghum was only popular in Africa?
So why are we as Ghanaians ignoring this whole grain which is packed with excellent nutrients? Is it because it’s seen as a ‘poor man’s' food for undernourished families? Then we are doing ourselves a major disservice to this superfood. I did some digging and discovered that it’s super rich in fiber, magnesium, ironSorghum is not just for making Pito, its great in salads, as a porridge, as a snack and so much more! Sorghum flour is also gluten-free so it's a great alternative to wheat flour. We just need to try new ways of consuming it. Sorghum has about 30 varieties of which some are used as fodder for animals, biofuel, etc. The stalk of sorghum is also used for weaving baskets, thatching roofs and other crafts.
I went to the Osu market recently in search of Sorghum to see how I can incorporate it into our home cooked meals. I found the red variety which is high in phenolic acids. I bought a ‘margarine' size which cost GHC 1.50 which I thought was actually affordable considering the quantity.
I made beautiful Sorghum & Avocado salad which was pretty sensationally delicious! After reading a few articles on using Sorghum I realised cooking it without soaking overnight increases the cooking time (1 hour ) of the grain. So I soaked it overnight before boiling it the next day. After soaking overnight Sorghum swells up making it easier to cook. You should do this too. When soaked overnight Sorghum takes 30minutes to cook. The ingredients for this salad are easy to get on the local market. I bought Pomegranates from Marina Mall and lucky me..they were on discount! 😆
Here’s my recipe for making the power-packed salad, it was too good not to share 😄.
Preparation time: 15mins Cooking time: 45 mins Servings: 2
1 cup of Sorghum (soaked overnight)
1 lettuce head
1/2 Avocado diced
1 Spring Onion
1/2 Cauliflower head
For the Vinaigrette
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tablespoonful honey
1 tsp thyme ( or any herb of your choosing)
A dash of chilli pepper or local ground black pepper (Esuro Wisa)
1 Tablespoonful olive oil
* Wash vegetables in salt water or a vegetable wash before us
- To make the vinaigrette:
Squeeze the juice out of the lemon and add in olive oil, honey, pepper, salt and thyme. Beat well and set aside.
- Break cauliflower into little florets and boil in salted water till slightly tender with a bit of crunch to it, should be done in 5 minutes. Drain water and set aside to cool.
2. Tear up lettuce and place in a colander to drain out water. Place lettuce in a salad bowl.
3. Chop spring onion
4. Grate carrots and layer on lettuce and onions.
4. Combine all the vegetables. Sprinkle the sorghum on followed by the avocado and pomegranate seeds. Slowly drizzle the vinaigrette on and mix in gently.
5. Garnish with Parsley. Refrigerate if you plan to eat it later or immediately enjoy with great relish!
How does Sorghum taste like? It has a nutty taste with a teeny bite to it even after boiling. That’s what I love so much about this grain, it has character! My friend and photographer Opuni-Mensah was my guest and he complimented the salad especially the balance with the avocado and cauliflower. Personally, I was nuts about how the pomegranate brought on a sweetish pleasantness to the dish. The vinaigrette brought out the flavours without overwhelming the salad. Heaven!
Isn’t time we changed our mindset about our local foods? It’s sad for us to think that someone is ‘living well’ when we see them eating pizza and burgers, hellooo…that’s junk food! Obesity and high blood pressure are the lifestyle diseases we are currently facing in Ghana and more especially in our cities where junk food companies seem to be thriving in.
Try something new this weekend by buying Sorghum from your local market and you will be in for a beautiful surprise. I hope you loved this recipe as much as I love you .
Have you used sorghum in cooking before? What did you make? Please do share in the comments below.
This is a SeeMyChow contribution by Life & Style blogger Naa Oyoo Kumodzi who writes at naaoyooquartey.com . She is a born foodie, lifestyle blogger, food photographer and social media strategist for businesses.