Ghana is made up of 10 regions and over hundred ethnic groups. Each region has it's own traditional dish, methods of preparation and depending on which ethnic group you originate from, the use of varied ingredients. The diverse dishes of the country are intriguing to say the least with influences from neighbouring towns or countries.
With this in mind you can imagine the differed and countless recipes available in the country and I'm keen to explore them all.
Here's a countdown of my favourite 10 Ghanaian dishes; a must have if you ever visit Ghana.
Kenkey is made from fermented milled corn, which is steamed in corn husks and it's readily available in every street corner. Most Ghanaians purchase their Kenkey rather than make it at home and it's cost effective to do so.
Kenkey is paired with freshly caught fried fish, black chilli sauce (known as Shito) , red chilli & tomato salsa (known as raw pepper) an onion and tomato salad.
The accompaniments of Kenkey are varied as one could enjoy it with tinned sardines (memories of the brand 'Titus'), fried egg, Avocado, fried shrimps , one man thousand (fried tiny fishes) etc.
Kenkey is enjoyed anytime of the day, particularly for breakfast and or dinner. Osu night market serves the best Kenkey and other famous joints across the country. Please share in your comments below, your best Kenkey joints.
Ghanaians don't believe in wastage, hence when Kenkey is a few days old, it's blended into a cold delicious creamy drink known as Iced Kenkey.
Banku is consumed a few times a week in most homes. Banku is made from fermented milled corn and lightly fermented blended cassava paste. The corn and cassava are mixed together with water, steamed and turned consistently to form a smooth firm dumpling.
There are variations of this dish known as Akple, Tuo Zaafi, Etsew etc which supports the variations and similarities of each tribal groups dishes.
Banku is traditionally served with Okra soup or Okra stew.
It can be consumed with Groundnut soup, Palm nut soup or in place of Kenkey.
Grilled Tilapia recipe
Banku is also enjoyed with chargoal grilled Tilapia or Mackerel with a spicy tomato salsa ,( known as raw pepper) and or a green chilli sauce (Kpakpo shito)
Kelewele is a street snack that can be replicated at home easily, however it tastes better when purchased from the vendor.
Kelewele is made from using ripened Plantain mixed with blended Ginger, Onion, Chilli and a special spice mix. It's deep fried till golden brown, with a crunchy spicy exterior, an almost candy like and moist sweet interior which is served in an old news paper and sprinkled with roasted groundnuts.
I describe Kelewele as the 'date' snack as I'm yet to hear anyone say 'no' to an offer of hot and freshly fried Kelewele. This is a must have snack (beware its spicy) best with a chilled glass of beer.
Watch how to make Kelewele on my YouTube page above and don't forget to subscribe
I describe Fufu as a calorie burning and rewarding dish. Fufu is made from boiled unripened Plantain and Cassava, which is then pounded using a large wooden pestle and mortar till it's soft and pliable.
The apt description of 'calorie burning' Fufu lies with the activity of pounding. One could pound for about 30 minutes , whilst another navigates the mixture to achieve a smooth, pliable soft texture.
The reward been a delicious bowl of Fufu and your favourite soup ( where one will gain the calories they just lost) 😂. If you're unlucky and your craving for Fufu has to be satisfied (and you have no one to do the pounding) you would've to do the pounding with one hand and the turning with the other. 💪🏾
Fufu is best served with either Groundnut soup, Palm nut soup, Light soup (spicy tomato soup) or Spinach soup. The soup can be made with your preferred meat, Chicken, Fish etc.
The best Fufu is served in local bars known as 'Chop bars' or if you can befriend a kind local, they can reward you with a scrumptious bowl of Fufu without any hustle. A gift showing your appreciation is a must. 😘
Fresh Fufu, No pounding recipe
I created a hustle free way of enjoying Fufu without pounding, which was featured on ABNTV.
See the video on my YouTube page and don't forget to subscribe.
Ghanaian Jollof rice is a celebratory dish, which is made from rice cooked in a perfectly spiced rich tomato sauce. You'll find this dish at most events, good restaurants and at people's homes.
Good idea to yet again befriend the local and ask them to include the 'Kanzo'😜. The 'Kanzo' is the rice which is stuck to the bottom of the pan after cooking and then scraped off. It takes some chewing but it's rewarding with its intense flavour.
Jollof rice is best served with the 'Ghanaian salad' (which is a meal of its own) grilled or fried Chicken, Fish or your preferred meat.
How to make the perfect Jollof rice
See how to make Jollof rice with a twist on my YouTube page, by watching the video above. Try, comment, share and subscribe
Red, Red is a popular street food, made from boiled black eyed beans, with a drizzle of spiced Palm oil (best is Zomi) which lends its deep orange, almost red colour to the dish (hence the name). Red, Red is a popular vegetarian dish which is readily available during lunchtime. The beans are served with fried ripened Plantain and Gari
(made from grated, fermented and toasted Cassava or Yuca).
The recipe for making Red Red is relatively easy, apart from the painstaking process of picking the the imperfect beans and small stones from the perfect ones.
The process of selection is usually between siblings, where the conversation is centred around who's slacking. The work is shared 'evenly' much to the displeasure of the 'lazy' one 😜.
You can imagine my excitement when I discovered the option of buying pre selected black eyed beans in Ghana.
'Squabble squashed and order is restored amongst siblings for now, thanks to the pre selected beans'.
Find the recipe by clicking here
Fried Sweet Potatoes
This is a great fast street food, where the white sweet flesh potatoes are used. Sweet potatoes in the UK are mostly referred to the orange fleshed ones, however this is the sweet white flesh version which is readily available in most supermarkets and grocers. Give it a try.
The sweet potatoes are peeled and cut into big chunks. They're known locally as 'Atoomo'. The potatoes are deep fried and served with a spicyTomato Sauce (Raw pepper) and black chilli sauce (known as Shito). They're also served with fried Turkey tail, fried Fish or Chicken.
The only food I know people will travel far and wide for is Waakye. Vendors take pride in serving this dish with the display of varied accompaniments, such as Gari fortor (Gari mixed with a rich tomato sauce), Green salad, Spaghetti (known as 'Thalia') to mention but a few.
Waakye is made from boiled rice and black eyed beans which is infused with millet leaves to achieve its rich brownish colour. It's readily available at lunchtimes hence don't miss it.
Waakye is best served in leaves and you have the choice of adding your preferred protein of Fish, meat and or eggs. In recent times Waakye has taken a decadent approach where the option of including fried Plantain and slices of Avocado (locally known as Pear, don't ask me why?) is encouraged.
Be prepared to queue for the best Waakye in town and don't try to moan at the vendor for how long you had to wait; just don't. Order your Waakye with a smile , find a space to enjoy each delicious morsel in peace. 😜
Click here for the
This popular Khebab is made from either Goat or Beef , marinated in Yaji (Suya mixed spice) and char grilled. The Khebab is skewered in accordance of a cubed meat, an Onion and Green peppers (this process is repeated until each skewer is filled).
I'll describe the taste as smoky and nutty with a crunchy texture from the Onions and Green peppers. Be warned , it's highly addictive
( I bet you won't stop with a skewer and you'll order some more).
This is a perfect snack enjoyed with a chilled bottle of beer either by a poolside or beach front. It's readily available from dinner time, hence just follow the delicious smell of a barbecue by the street side (not to someone's home) to be served.
Click here for the recipe
Kontomire stew is made from Cocoyam leaves , melon seeds and your preferred fish or meat. Kontomire is similar to Spinach and the process of cooking it, is similar to the Indian dish, Saag.
This dish is available in most restaurants or local bars known as Chop bars. It's best eaten with boiled Yam, Rice, unripened or ripened Plantain and it's easy to make.
For the best experience with this sauce, you need to yet again befriend a local, help them prepare it and sit on the low stool and table, wash your hands and eat with your fingers.
You need to eat quickly as there's the tendency of uninvited guests appearing suddenly just when food is ready.
It's at your own risk to invite them to join you (you've been warned 💃🏽) Thank me later for the experience 😜 .
If for any other reason no one offers to cook for you (maybe due to your stinginess 🙈), just find a restaurant and eat alone 😳
This is my view of the 10 best dishes to taste in Ghana, however you're welcome to leave comments about alternatives or your favourite dish.
All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.