Manfred Amissah

Manfred Amissah

Manfred Amissah, 30, was born March 6, 1979 in Takoradi, Ghana. He moved to the U.S. in 1996, knowing well that more opportunities waited for him here than in his home country. He currently resides in Lindenwold, NJ with his sister, Christable and her family. He and his sister welcomed me into their home and shared with me their recipe for Jollof Rice. Manfred also shared with me his insights on food, what he likes to eat, and the difference between American and Ghanian food.

What would you say are the biggest differences between
American and Ghanian food?

There are tomatoes in everything we eat. Every single possible meal. And our food is typically very, very spicy. We use lots of hot peppers in everything. A typical meal in Ghana usually consists of two parts, a sauce or gravy and rice. Joloff rice is one of the few meals that combines the two into one.

Which cuisine do you prefer, American or Ghanian?
Personally, I’m a universal kind of guy. I’ll eat everything.

What is your absolute favorite thing to eat?
Sushi! I really like seafood. I like the fact that sushi is so fresh and it’s not over cooked, or well, ha it’s not cooked at all!

What is your absolute favorite thing to cook?
Hot pockets! Ha! No, but really, maybe curried goat it’s my second favorite thing to eat…but I can’t cook it.

Wait, Manfred, you can’t cook it?
But I just asked your what your favorite thing to cook is…

OH! Well then, I’d say lasagna. It’s delicious and there are so many different combinations and ways to make it. My favorite thing about it, though, is that you cook it once and eat it for the rest of the week!

What spices or specific ingredients do you think make cuisine from Ghana special?
Fresh ginger. It adds a spice, but not a hot spice, you know?  There’s just so much flavor in it. I like everything about ginger…and I love ginger cookies!

What is one thing that no matter where of when you eat it, it reminds you of home?
Starch biscuits. Definitely. They’re only made in Ghana. They are made from the strained starch of the cassava plant, or yucca is what it’s called here, and sugar. I don’t remember exactly what’s in them, but they taste kind of like crackers –  plus sugar – minus the salt. Ha.


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