Crab or Lobster Ramekins

Akontoshie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    4 or 5

    servings

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Barbara Baëta has adjusted the traditional recipe for Akontoshie to create a chic but easy first course dish for a luncheon or dinner party that can be made from crab or lobster meat. Irish baking dish seashells lend a nice presentation and ambiance to the dish. It can also be served in a crab shell, a ramekin, or other small ovenproof cup.

Ingredients

  • 1 slice bread (enough to make ½ cup breadcrumbs)
  • 6 ounces fresh or canned crabmeat or lobster meat, drained and flaked with a fork or your fingers

Ghanaian Tomato Gravy

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup minced or grated onion
  • 1 heaping teaspoon pressed or crushed fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons minced, grated, or ground sweet bell pepper; or 1 minced chili pepper of choice (e.g., seeded jalapeno for mild, cayenne for medium, habanero for very hot); and/or ½ teaspoon or more dried ground red pepper
  • 1 tomato, seeded and grated or blended (½ cup with juice)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon additional seasoning of choice (e.g., dried ground shrimp, ground white pepper, no-salt seasoning)
  • Salt to taste (begin with ¼ teaspoon)

Special equipment

  • 4 or 5 ovenproof shell-shaped dishes, ramekins, or crab shells (about 6 ounces each)

Method

Directions

Prepare breadcrumbs

  1. Put a slice of bread into a blender and pulse the blender to make crumbs. (If the bread is too fresh and soft, let it sit out for a while to dry, or pop it into a toaster for a minute before blending.) It should make about ½ cup of crumbs. Put a clean, heavy pan on the stove and toast the breadcrumbs over medium heat until they are browned and crisp, stirring or shaking the pan frequently. Remove the pan from heat and pour the crumbs into a bowl to prevent further cooking. Set aside.

Make gravy

  1. Put a frying pan on the stove to heat on medium heat, then add the oil and minced or grated onion. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, and fresh bell or chili pepper. Stir well and cook for another minute or two. Add the tomato, tomato paste, and seasonings. Cook for a few minutes until well blended.
  2. Add the flaked crabmeat or lobster meat to the gravy and stir well. Let it cook for several minutes for the flavors to blend and thicken as some of the liquid cooks out. (If using fresh crabmeat, make sure it is cooked through.) Taste and adjust seasonings and add salt to taste.

Fill the shells or ramekins

  1. Fill the ramekins/shells with the stew—you should have a little over a cup of stew, enough for 4 filled with 1/3 cup of stew each, or 5 filled with ¼ cup each.
  2. Sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of toasted breadcrumbs over the stew in each ramekin/shell (or increase the amount up to 2 tablespoons for a crunchier topping).
  3. Place the filled ramekins/shells on a baking sheet in a moderate oven (350 degrees F) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or just until heated through, making sure the crumbs do not burn. Voila! A delicious, impressive first course to a meal.

Variations

Ghanaians would likely use more oil in the gravy than suggested. Sometimes butter replaces the oil. Sometimes cheese is added.