Traditional Ghanaian food is typified by the distribution of food crops. With the prominence of tropical produce like corn, beans, millet, plantains and cassava, most Ghanaians creatively employ these foodstuffs to make mouth-watering dishes for their nourishment.
The culinary skills of Ghanaians go beyond just feeding themselves. Their cooking reflects their different beliefs, traditions, and habits. As such, experiencing and experimenting with local traditional foods provides an education too.
Here are top Ghanaian foods for adventurous visitors on the Year of Return:
· Fufu and hot goat light soup
In the Eastern and Ashanti regions of Ghana, one meal guaranteed to work its wonder is fufu and goat light soup. Fufu is a staple food across West Africa but in Ghana, it is made by pounding a mixture of boiled cassava and plantains into a soft sticky paste to go along with aromatic and spicy tomato soup. Fufu can also be found in Northern Ghana, although it is made with yam in this region.
· Tuo Zaafi
Northern Ghanaian food is dominated by the use of grains, herbs and meat as these are the main food products of the area. Tuo Zaafi is similar to banku, although it is quite soft and less sticky, and is made by cooking corn dough and adding a little cassava. What distinguishes Tuo Zaafi and makes it a popular meal nationwide is the nutritious and rare herbs used in making the accompanying soup, including dawadawa and ayoyo leaves.
· Kenkey and fried fish with hot pepper
Kenkey is another corn-based staple similar to banku, that is made by moulding fermented corn dough into balls and wrapping them around drying corn leaves, which are then boiled. The meal is served with hot pepper sauce, fried crabs, octopus or fish and is a delicacy of the Accra people.
· Mpotor Mpotor
Mpotor Mpotor or nyoma is a one-pot meal made mainly from yam or cocoyam cooked in broth. Although it is an ideal meal for everyone, it is also recommended for babies as a weaning food. It is very delicious and travelers can try it.
Kokonte is a sumptuous gratifying meal and delicacy which is eaten in some parts of Ghana. It is usually served with peanut soup or groundnut soup with a tender finger of okra to go with it and any meat of one’s choice. Depending on the flour, it usually turns out brown when prepared. Interestingly, the food is nicknamed ‘Face the wall’.
. Kpekple/ Kpokpoi
Kpekple or Kpokpoi is a kind of food eaten by the Gas of Ghana during the celebration of Homowo festival, which is to hoot at hunger. It is prepared with the primary ingredients of steamed and fermented corn meal, palm nut soup and smoked fish.
Etor is another Ghanaian traditional dish. It is a sacred dish served at ‘outdoorings’, purification during festive seasons, birthdays, etc. It is prepared from slightly riped plantain which is mashed and mixed with palm oil and usually served with groundnut, egg or avocado pear.
Aprapransa is not that kind of food you find on the streets of Ghana every day. It’s prepared specially and not everyone has the skill to make it come out right. It’s very nutritious and fulfilling and you’ll enjoy it when you get your hands on a bowl. Mostly the traditional recipe has been a delicious combination of cornmeal and palm nut soup. This dish is perfect for the adventurous type. Enriched with numerous health benefits, it also supports a healthy lifestyle. Prepare yourself a plate with this recipe. It is basically made from roasted corn flour, cooked beans together with other ingredients. It’s a food that is served on special occasions and is feared to go extinct.
Brukina is a Ghanaian beverage made from grounded millets and pasteurized milk. Needless to say, it is very nutritious and has lots of health benefits. It is usually served chilled in a cup or sold bottled, and for some reason, it is only recently gaining widespread popularity in the country. Right now, the Ghanaian community is divided between those who already love Brukina and those who certainly will. Yes, chances are, if you’re not in the former, you must be in the latter. And anything in-between is simply Brukina.
Chicken Suya in Ghana is simply grilled chicken coated with suya spice. Chicken Suya can be made with whatever part of the chicken you prefer. It is one food enjoyed by visitors in the country.
No list of traditional Ghanaian foods would be complete without this savoury side dish. Kelewele is an instant favourite among anyone who tries it, even those who aren’t big fans of peppery food. Usually sold as a snack or side dish all over Accra, it is made by frying soft plantains that have been soaked in a medley of peppers, ginger and garlic. The aroma is crisp and strong, while the pleasant plantain adds some sweetness to the sour.
By BERLINDA ENTSIE