Efie Aduane Series I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t tasted tumbani

Taste the magic of tumbani with Onga’s Efie Aduane Series!

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Tumbani is a steamed cake made from bean flour. It is popular amongst the people of the Upper West region in Ghana.  I can’t express in words the amazing taste of tumbani!

And to think that tumbani is made from regular beans or Bambara beans makes it a bigger yummy mystery.

In preparing tumbani, the bean flour is mixed with water to make a thick puree. After this basic step, there are different ways by which people go about the preparation of tumbani. While some people add just a pinch of salt to the bean puree before cooking, others make room for more creativity by spicing the puree with pepper, palm oil and sometimes even adding some vegetables to the mix before cooking it.

Tumbani is cooked in fresh plantain or banana leaves, normally big enough to contain a ladle of the mixed dough. In recent times, some people use polythene bags instead of leaves since these bags hold the tumbani mix more securely than plantain leaves do. The downside to using polythene is that, when heated polythenes can release some toxins that could harm you over time; if you are going to be cooking a lot of tumbani over a long period of time, then it is advisable to learn how to cook with the leaf.

When the tumbani is ready for cooking, full ladles of it is scooped into the sufficiently large leave. The leave is then wrapped securely around the tumbani. In order to make sure that the tumbani does not sink to the bottom of the boiling water and get dissolved in it, some people arrange large pieces of leaves in the pot till they cover about a quarter of the pot.

After this, they pour water underneath the leaves and place it on the fire. When the water boils, the leaf-wrapped tumbani is placed on the leaves in the pot and the steam from the water is used in cooking the tumbani. Here’s what you must remember about tumbani: it is the steam that cooks it, not necessarily the water. As such, excess water can simply dissolve everything. 

It takes about four hours to have a thoroughly steamed serving, and you may need to refill the water as and when it evaporates. Tumbani is often eaten with stew. 

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