Ghana Foods & Recipes

Posted by Webby on January 26, 2006

Ghanaian cuisine has diverse traditional dishes from each ethnic group, tribe and clan from the north to the south and from the east to west. Generally, most Ghanaian recipe dishes are made up of a starchy portion (rice, fufu, banku, tuo, gigi, akplidzii, yekeyeke, etew, ato etc) and a sauce or soup saturated with fish, snails, meat or mushrooms.

Some of the main starchy Ghanaian recipe dishes are:

* Cooked rice
* Waakye - rice and beans
* Fufu - pounded cassava and plantain or pounded yam and plantain, or pounded cocoyam
* Banku/Akple - cooked fermented corn dough and cassava dough
* Kenkey/Dokonu - fermented corn and cassava dough, wrapped in corn or banana leaves and cooked into a consistent solid paste
* Kokonte - from dried cassava chips
* Gari - made from cassava

Most Ghanaian dishes are usually served with a stew (often based on tomato with other protein cooked in it) or soup. The most popular soups are groundnut soup, light soup, and palmnut soup. Okra soup and stew are also popular. Usually rice and kenkey are served with soup or stew, while banku, fufu, akple and konkonte are served with soup.

A popular side dish in Ghana is kelewele. It is sometimes served with rice and stew, and sometimes eaten alone as a dessert. Another popular dish is kontomire which is mashed up taro (cocoyam) leaves. It is often mixed with bits of tuna and egusi (pumpkin seeds) and dressed with palm oil.

An alternative to the starch and stew combination is “Red Red”, a very popular and easy to find dish. It is made up of a mashed bean stew served with fried plantain. It earns its name from the red spices that tint both the stew and plantain.

Other popular dishes are ampesi (boiled yam and unripe plantain)which is usually accompanied with kontomire, groundnut soup, usually made with chicken, gari foto, nyadowa (garden egg stew) Tilapia, fried whitebait (chinam), smoked fish and crayfish are a common component of Ghanaian dishes. The cornmeal based starch dishes, banku and kenkey are usually accompanied by some form of fried fish (chinam)or grilled tilapia and a very spicy salsa like condiment made from raw red and green chillies, onions, tomatoes.

Banku and tilapia is a very popular combo served in most Ghanaian restaurants. Ghanaian cuisine is quite sophisticated with liberal and adventurous use of exotic ingredients and a wide variety of tastes, spices, textures.

Herbs such as thyme, bay,vegetables such as wild mushrooms, garden eggs (similar to egg plant) various types of pulses, ginger,garlic, smoked meat and fish, crab, trotters, duck all feature in Ghanaian cuisine.

The stew is, together with the soup, the most traditional meal. Stews are made of chicken, beef or fish as the main meats and some of the most famous are: the kontomire stew, the chicken and the fish stew.

There is a famous dressing in Ghana: the peanut dressing, sweetened with cinnamon, spiced with chili powder and salt and fresh chives for garnish and added mostly on ripe and firm chopped avocados, but also on other kinds of salads. The groundnut soup, which is very exotic, the mushrooms and snail soup or the greens soups are specific to different the Ghanan regions. The plantain, fried or boiled is served as a main course and as a vegetarian dish. The tatale, or the Ghanan plantain cakes are made of ripe plantains, chopped or grated onion, flour, palm oil and salt is served hot as the main vegetarian course.

The gari foto is another vegetarian dish, which is also a side dish for stew. The Ghanan desserts are almost all based on the local fruit, the banana.

For all of you home cooks out there, please make sure you try and make this at home, it is THE BEST soup you will have ever tasted I promise you!! As you can certainly tell this is my favorite dish and in my opinion is one of the most amazing Ghanaian recipes out there.This Ghanaian recipe of peanut soup appears on the menu in many African countries. This smooth, creamy version thickened with both peanuts and peanut butter gets its sweetness from yam. A warm reddish brown, the soup is fragrant with sweet spices, intensely flavored, earthy and piquant. Europeans brought peanuts from South America to Africa in the early 1500’s where they caught on quickly because of their similarity to the native African bambarra groundnut.

In the U.S. it has become traditional to serve this soup when celebrating the seven days of Kwanzaa. Substitute vegetable stock for a deliciously rich vegetarian soup

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