The Recipes Of Ghana

The Republic of Ghana whose name in the Ga language means 'The Warrior King' was inhabited in pre-colonial times by a number of ancient kingdoms, including the Ga Adangbes on the eastern coast, the inland Empire of the Ashanti as well as various Fante states along the coast and inland.

Ghana is agriculturally a very productive country and is the world's third largest producer of cocoa. Fishing is also a major part of the economy and, as a result, many Ghanaian dishes are based on fish. Local plants such as bananas, avocados, grapefruits, mangos, papayas, coconut and plantains are also highly prized and used in the country's cuisines. Chillies are also an important component of Ghanaian cuisine and provides significant vitamin C in the diet. Another feature of Ghanaian cookery is the use of boiled eggs as a garnish.

Here are two classic Ghanaian dishes for your enjoyment:

Ghanaian Fresh Fish Stew

450g fresh fish (any firm white fish)

4 hot chillies (eg Scotch Bonnet) pounded to a paste

2 tbsp tomato puree

3 tbsp ground, dried, shrimp

4 medium onions, finely sliced

4 fresh tomatoes, chopped and pounded to a paste

6 tbsp Kpakpo Shito

300ml water

150ml red palm oil

1 garlic clove, pounded to a paste

1 tbsp freshly-grated ginger
salt, to taste

Clean the fish, remove the gills and cut into steaks. Wash the flesh with lime, lemon or vinegar then rinse in water and marinate in the garlic, ginger, chillies and salt. Set aside for 30 minutes before continuing.

Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the onions and tomatoes for a few minutes. Add the ground shrimps and tomato puree and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until cooked. Add the water and the marinated fish (along with any remaining marinade) and simmer gently for about 25 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. Serve hot on a bed of rice or with boiled yams or plantains.


Kenkey (also known as Dokonu or Komi) is one of the staple foods consumed in Ghana. It's a steamed dough ball made from fermented corn (maize).

2kg maize flour (eg cornflour or cornmeal) and white cornmeal is preferred

To prepare Kenkey from scratch the maize flour first has to be fermented. It's mixed with just enough warm water to wet it before being allowed to ferment (covered with a clean cloth) for two to three days to form maize dough. It has slightly sour aroma when properly fermented.

The resultant dough is kneaded with the hands until it is thoroughly mixed and has stiffened slightly. At this point it's divided into two equal portions. Half the fermented dough is placed in a large pot along with 250ml water where it's partially cooked for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly and vigorously (at which point it's called aflata). At this point the uncooked half of the dough is added and mixed-in well. The resultant aflate–dough mixture is divided and shaped into serving-sized pieces before being wrapped tightly in banana leaves, cornhusks, greaseprof paper or foil. The wrapped dough is then placed on a wire rack above a pot of boiling water and are steamed for between 1 and 3 hours.

The final dough balls are the kenkey and are typically served with a sauce (typically a hot sauce) such as Palaver Sauce or any meat or fish dish.

I hope you have gained a little flavour of the recipes of Ghana and are now ready to find out more.

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About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans is a cook, with a fascination for the recipes of Africa. You can find more ghanaian Recipes in his West African Recipes site. The site also supports the refugees of Liberia displaced to Senegal.