“Boost immunity? That’s just taking care of your insides naturally” – Nana
Hello Backhome Foodies, Nana is here checking in on you. Most of you are probably thinking of ways to stay healthy while so many of us are confined at home. Masks, medicines, and testing all aside, it is our immune system that does the best job fighting any disease.
When your immune system is weak, it is just a matter of time before them no-good germs take your whole body down and make you sick! What’s Nana’s favorite way to keep a strong immune system? Sit back and keep on reading. Apart from adopting a healthy lifestyle, eating a diet with immune boosting nutrients is the key to staying healthy. Preparing these types of foods that keep my children, grandchildren, friends, and family feeling good is my favorite thing to do!
And of course, y’all know that Nana does it which much love. In order to “soothe the soul” you must prepare dishes with fresh ingredients and they must be made with loving care.
Let me tell you about soul soothing nkakra. Nkakra, or Light Soup in English, is a popular dish in Ghana that is not only known for its soothing properties but also brings the best relief when you have a fever, cold, or the flu. Nkakra is comforting, but packed full of vitamins and minerals from delicious ingredients such as tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic and cloves.
Backhome, if you are feeling under the weather, it will come as no surprise that your Nana will prepare some nkakra in her own kitchen to make you feel better. You feel better because it tastes wonderful, it’s good for you, and Nana made it special.
Nkakra is quite easy to cook and pairs well with rice, potatoes or a Ghanaian dish called fufu. It can also be enjoyed on its own. Before we get to cooking, let’s take a look at the nutritional and health benefits of the key ingredients of this recipe.
What Makes Nkakra So Good for You?
Tomatoes – Tomatoes are the major dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been linked to many health benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease. Tomatoes are also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K.
Onions – Onions have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, lower blood sugar levels, and improved bone health.
Garlic – Garlic boosts the number of virus-fighting T-cells in your bloodstream. It also has allicin, which is believed to be the major antibacterial compound in garlic.
Ginger – Ginger is considered a digestive aid and helps prevent motion sickness. Ginger tea can soothe a sore throat or provide a nice and warming lift.
Habanero – A single habanero pepper contains more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. It also has vitamin A, potassium and iron.
Cloves – Cloves have antioxidant, antiseptic, anesthetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. They also are good at managing heart rate, balancing bodily fluids, improving digestion and strengthening the membranes throughout the body.
- 2 tablespoons of peeled, fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves or other seasoning of your choice
- 4 whole pieces of bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 onions, one whole and one diced
- 4 medium size fresh tomatoes
- 2 whole habanero, if available and (if not, substitute your choice of pepper(s), top(s) sliced off (about a tablespoon), or omit altogether
- 2 lbs. chicken or any choice of meat
- Blend the ginger, garlic together into a paste.
- Wash and place cleaned pieces of chicken in a pot and add the blended ginger and garlic with ground cloves, bay leaves, ground basil, seasoning, salt and the diced onions. For the best results you need to keep the skin on! Don’t forget where there is fat there is flavor honeybaby!
- Stir and cover for the chicken to simmer in its own juice. Add a cup of water and continue cooking until the chicken is half way cooked.
- Drop in the habanero pepper, whole onions and whole tomatoes and cover to continue cooking
- After about 10 minutes, remove the tomatoes, onions and pepper you added and blend with little water in a blender to a smooth paste and set aside.
- Now add the tomato paste to the chicken and stock boiling.
- Stir and add some more water (2 cups) and cover to cook for about 3 minutes.
- Now use a strainer to sieve in the blended mix and watch as the soup thickens. I like a thicker soup, but if you want a more broth like soup you can add more water.
- Taste for seasoning and allow to cook for another 5 minutes
Serve and Enjoy!
Nana’s Little Secret: For a thicker soup, you can cook some eggplant or zucchini in a saucepan, then blend and add it near the end; You can also add other favorite vegetables to this dish like like okra or mushrooms.
“Bringing you warm hugs on the inside.”- Nana