Yes, it’s another grain + tuna + veg + pulse salad — last week’s farro salad leftovers were three lunches for me, very convenient. I was lucky to find a rented room for two months with super nice colleagues, but they are moving house within Accra sometime in February. However, they may very kindly take me with them, so I am doing my best to be a considerate flatmate in my old age, and we have started househunting together. Interesting to see how the market has changed since I arrived in 2015: more places available, but many are still rather expensive: 2500 – 4500 USD for three bedrooms, sometimes unfurnished. We shall see.
All my kitchenware is packed away in bags in a spare room, so I am very lucky also to have access to a well-equipped kitchen here. Thinking of another sweaty move across Accra soon, there is definitely a need to use up any heavy tins, which is usually not a factor in my mealplanning. Another year in Accra was not foreseen, and being apart from my husband is very hard, so it is extremely tempting to sink into despondency and the stash of post-Christmas chocolate. To keep morale up, I am trying to eat properly and exercise a bit, and see friends, so this repeat salad is a small step in that direction.
Ah, harmattan: dusty dry weeks in Accra. There has been sun and increasing humidity the last days, so maybe harmattan is ending early this year.
Harmattan orzo salad with tuna, celery and black beans
Orzo (pearl barley): about 1.5 cups (soaked one hour)
One tin black beans, drained and rinsed (or lentils, other beans or chickpeas)
2 small tins tuna in olive oil
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 small green bellpeppers (produce of Ghana)
Half an onion, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
I soaked the orzo for a an hour, covered with water room temperature, then boiled it 15 minutes or so. We have drinking water delivered in handy 19.5 litre containers, but I have gotten more relaxed about using tap water for cooking. The most common water-borne diseases in Ghana are typhoid, cholera and dysentery….. but [touch wood] so far it seems to be OK for cooking as long as water boils at least ten minutes.
Cook the soaked orzo in salted water (like you would cook pasta) until it is al dente but not not crunchy, 15 minutes or so. The packet said 25 minutes when unsoaked. You could use other grains for this as well, or rice. It will be softer than boiled farro. Drain off cooking water. While still warm, crumble over the tuna. Here I added in the olive oil in the tuna tins, as it was decent quality, otherwise if you are using tuna in water or blander sunflower oil, you might want to drain the tuna first and add a couple tablespoons of good olive oil with the tuna to the warm grains. Add in drained beans and chopped veg. Salt and pepper to taste.
I’ve been reading UK food magazines from Christmas holidays today, and taking notes for what I could make with what we can access easily here. Sweet potato curry, lentil soups, falafel wraps, spinach fritatta…… The Guardian has also had some great vegan recipes this month, to be explored. Enjoy your weekend!