This recipe is a vegan-friendly, flavorful traditional Côte d’Ivoire soup – gnangnan (bitter pea eggplant). This dish is based on the popular Côte d’Ivoire soup, but has been modified to be vegetarian / vegan.
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghanaian food culture
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana share more than just borders. Many large ethnic and language groups span two countries, the Akan and the Guru. This similarity is always of interest to Côte d’Ivoire dishes, as there are many foods in Ghana that are comparable to Côte d’Ivoire — foutou (fufu in Ghana), foufou (eto in Ghana), Sauce Claire (light soup in Ghana)). , Palcali and the list follow. Unfortunately, because of colonization, English and French separate us from learning more about each other. Thankfully, my basic French skills have helped me learn more about Ivorian cuisine.
What is Gnangnan?
Gunnannan is a pea eggplant. In a previous post, I briefly introduced another indigenous African eggplant (click here). Solanaceae fruits are offered in all shapes and sizes on the African continent and are an important ingredient in many soups and stews. This pea eggplant variety is no exception. These are consumed in West Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and some Southeast Asian dishes. Not all peas eggplants are the same. Gunnannan is known for its bitterness when the fruit matures and for its ripe yellow or red color. There are other pea eggplant varieties that maintain a bright green color when ready for consumption and have much less bitterness. For my Ghanaian readers, gnangnan is known as nsusua (twi), while the non-bitter variety is known as kwahunsusua / abedru (twi).
What are the health benefits of Gnangnan?
Many indigenous African constituents are known for their medical purposes. Pea eggplants are known to be high in plant-based iron and are usually given as blogtonis. It is also traditionally given to breastfeeding mothers. My mother says that gnangnan is great for headaches and some people use it as an anti-malaria drug. Obviously, like many African ingredients, there is not much scientific interest in exploring health benefits, so these are usually detailed in reviews from our elders.
What you need for this soup
- mushroom: Many West African soups and stews always start with a meat base. For me, mushrooms are a great choice. Dried mushrooms have a really rich taste and can be boiled for a long time without using mushrooms.
- Gannan: These are usually sold dry in various African stores. They look red and can easily be confused with peppercorns. There are canned peas eggplants, but they are not the same and do not cook in the same way.
- Aromatics: Like many Ghanaian soups, Côte d’Ivoire soups have a very similar aroma. Onions, ginger, tomatoes and pepper are constant in both dishes. Since this is a eggplant-based dish, it usually contains garden eggs.I ran out of eggs in the garden, so I used a small purple eggplant
- spices: Use miso to add umami and balance the bitterness. A versatile seasoning that is superior to bouillon seasonings.
- Plant-based protein: Many of the recipes I’ve seen used smoked fish, so I’ll use some smoked tofu to explain the flavor of the smoked fish. If you can’t find smoked tofu, then regular extra hard tofu is sufficient.
What would you like to add to Sauce Gunnan Nan?
We highly recommend bananas made from ripe plantain. There are many YouTube recipes that use a stand mixer or food processor. This is what I like.
- 2 tablespoons of dried mushrooms (using wood ear and tea tree)
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 onions
- 1 thumb-sized ginger
- 1 chili pepper (using scotch bonnet)
- Cut one small purple eggplant into chunks
- 2/3 cup of dried gnan gnan
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon miso
- 1 tbsp than bouillon paste
- Organic Vegetable Bouillon Cube 1 Cube (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon of all-purpose seasoning 1-use whatever you like
1. In a deep saucepan, boil the mushrooms in 2 cups of water.
2. When the mushrooms are boiling, cook Gunnannan in another pot with 1.5 cups of water.This should boil for about 10-15 minutes or until gnangnan softens
3. Mix the tomato paste in a pan with mushrooms.
4. Once the tomato paste has melted, add the spices (tomatoes, onions, ginger, eggplant, peppers) and 2 cups of water and cook everything together.
5. When the skin begins to peel from the tomatoes and the eggplants are tender, remove all fragrances and blend with Gunnannan and Gunnannan cooking water.
Add the mixture mixed with 6.2 cups of water
7. Bring everything to a boil and then add the seasoning (better than all-purpose seasoning, miso, bouillon paste, bouillon cube)
8. After adding the seasoning, mix well and simmer the pot for 30 minutes.If the soup looks thick, add water
9. Serve with huff. I highly recommend foutou banane and igname (Plantago and yam)
The seasonings are incredibly adjustable. If desired, you can use vegetable soup instead of water. If you use vegetable soup, you don’t need to add all the bouillon cubes. You can also season it to your liking.