We used to buy our Kelewele from the vendor who sat right across the street from my school's main gates. She had this make-shift stand made of some wooden poles and tin shed for roof. In the middle of all this was this gigantic, black frying pan filled with oil sitting on firewood. In that hot oil she would have these plantain pieces, rubbed with her secret blend of spices, frying. After school all the girls would gather around waiting for her to serve us with just-out-of-the-hot-oil Kelewele. It was a common sight to see people unable to wait for the Keleweles to cool down before popping them in their mouths thus causing their jaws to bob up and down in rapid succession all in the vain effort to prevent their mouths from burning.
Her Keleweles had the right blend of sweetness from the ripe plantains and heat from the red chilies and ginger. For a long time I have tried to recreate those Keleweles but for some reason they just did not taste like hers. You see I always thought that the spices in which the plantain pieces marinated were made of ginger and red chilies. However I finally got the secret to perfect Keleweles from an old friend. So I went ahead and tried out the new recipe and voila these were just like the ones I remembered.
You can fry these longer so that it gets a little crispy and brown at the edges - this happens when the sugars in the plantain caramelizes ( just the way I like them ). Just make sure that your plantain is not too soft and mushy or else it will absorb too much oil. Also, remember to clean, with a slotted spoon, the bits and pieces of fried marinade floating on the surface of the hot oil after removing each batch of fried plantain or else it will stick to the new batch of plantain you put in and will look messy. My photos of them are not very picturesque but trust me they taste wonderful. Also you can cut them on a diagonal as I have done or just cut them straight, there are no hard and fast rules here. Do try this popular Ghanaian street food.
3-4 ripe plantain, peeled and chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 an onion
2 inch ginger piece
5-6 dried whole red chilies
5-6 cloves, powdered
salt, a sprinkle
oil, for deep frying
- Grind the onion, ginger and red chilies to a paste. Add the clove powder and salt to it.
- Add this paste to the chopped plantain pieces and let this sit aside for about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil to medium high in a wok and when hot, drop the marinated plantain pieces in the oil and fry till it is a deep golden brown.. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent towels . Enjoy your Kelewele warm.
Part of the mise-en-place.
Enjoy your plate of hot Keleweles.