What startet as as a workshop two years ago, is now being implemented – a few women of the Anoshe Women Group in the north-east of Ghana have started processing the soybeans into wagashi (a type of tofu) and are thus able to generate an additional income for themselves and their families.
Farmer’s cheese is called wagashi or waagashi (pronounced: waa-ga-she) in Ghana It is made by Fulani women using grass-fed cow milk and Xylopia aethiopica leaves and its supple stems as the curdling agent. Waagashi may be eaten raw. Due to its ability to resist melting upon contact with heat, it is often fried and eaten with a spicy peanut powder or used in vegetarian soups and stews in the same way as tofu or paneer. (Wikipedia)
But wagashi from soy beans? This works! It’s like tofu.
Read on to find out how we made tofu with the women.
Food processing as income opportunity
Two years ago we conducted a workshop with the women to produce tofu from their own soybeans. The idea appealed to them – it reminded them of the local Wagashi, a cream cheese made from cow’s milk and absolutely in short supply. They found that the home made tofu tastes almost the same and since it is easy to make and high on nutritional value they found the perfect product to gain an additional income with.
After the workshop, some women occasionally started selling their homemade tofu at the market. Almost two years later four women from the villages of Chere, Ando and Nansoni have now applied for a microcredit from the newly launched program – and have received it – to build up a business and move from just occasional manufacturing Wagashi to a professional level.
Whether as fresh tofu, or in spiced, deep-fried form – the women have found an additional source of income. Instead of selling a whole kilo of soybeans for only two Ghanaian Cedis, they get one Cedi for just 100 gram of tofu. And even the spiced pressed cake can be sold as a nutritious snack – but every woman will find her own recipe.
The production of Wagashi is very easy. It only needs a few simple appliances and a small stall. And of course soybeans.
100 gram soybeans
1 liter water
(In our workshop, we processed 1 kilo of soybeans and 10 liters of water)
Step 1: Let soybeans soak and grind them.
This is the part where we learned something new: it does not necessarily need calcium chloride. The grinded leaves of the Calotropis Procera shrub, called Timpontiki in the Chokosi dialect, cause the splitting of protein and water as well.
Step 4: Press the boiled mixture through cloths – and separate the mass from the liquid.
A little while later you have the first tofu cake.