Oh, we do love to eat, don’t we? Food is the one thing that keeps a lot of people together. The satisfaction of our hunger is a worthy pursuit and in Ghana we do it unapologetic-ally. Common Ghanaian dishes can be defined as foods that are readily available,nutritious and affordable. With the prominence of tropical produce like corn, beans, millet, plantains and cassava in Ghana, most ethnic groups creatively employ these foodstuffs to make mouth-watering dishes for their nourishment.
From streets, to stalls, to restaurants and local chop bars, some of these foods are so common and accessible that they are on the lips of even children. The great thing about these dishes is that, they can be enjoyed by everyone both young and old. Workers in a company on a break, students, construction workers, high profile workers and even foreigners. These are dishes that instinctively comes to mind whenever one is hungry and this is because they are easily accessible and very affordable.
Below are some of the common dishes you will find on the market. Some are variably more expensive than others. But overall these are foods a lot of Ghanaians can identify with especially in Kumasi and Accra.
Kenkey and Fish
Kenkey is one of the principal fermented foods consumed in Ghana. It is prepared from fermented ground white corn (maize). To prepare kenkey, the corn has to be ground first into flour and mixed with warm water, followed by fermentation (for two to three days) into maize dough. It is a staple that originated from the Ga-inhabited regions of West Africa. It usually served with pepper sauce and fried fish or soup, stew. Kenkey is made up of complex carbohydrates, low protein, low fat and high fiber content. It is one of the commonest foods in Ghana especially in Kumasi and Accra. It is mostly eaten in the afternoon as lunch because of its heaviness. Imagine eating a hot kenkey on a hot afternoon with hot pepper, sardine and red fish. Mouth watering!!!!
Gari and Beans with plantain (Red Red)
Gari and beans as the name suggests is made from a mixture of beans and Gari. It goes together with palm oil and fried plantain. Red-red is also a perfect choice for vegetarians as no animal products are used. it is rich in protein and carbohydrates as well as fats and oils since all these nutrients are available in the dish. It is one of the top street foods in Ghana.
It may not be so attractive at first glance but trust me, if you get a very good beans joint you will be hooked. Beans is known by many as cement because of its heaviness. Heavy duty workers particularly love beans because it is one of the foods that retains you for long without being hungry. It is also one of the cheapest foods in Ghana. With as little as 5 Ghana cedis one can have a filled meal of Red Red, Gari and plantain. One can even go the extra mile to add egg or fish.
Hausa Koko is a popular Ghanaian, street food porridge made from Millet (Bajra seeds) and spices. Breakfast in Ghana is not complete without Hausa Koko and koose or masa to match. It is a common staple among the Hausa’s of Ghana. Hence the name Hausa Koko though it is known as Hausa Koko mostly outside the northern areas. It is readily available across the country and mostly sold by Northerners. Hausa koko as I said earlier is usually eaten as a breakfast dish and a major meal at down during Ramadan.
Waakye is undoubtedly my favorite Ghanaian dish. The taste of my mothers waakye developed the love of waakye in me. Apart from its delicious taste, waakye (Beans and Rice) has a high-calorie, very high-carbohydrate, low-fat and high-protein content. The leaves used in preparing waakye is also a good source of Iron, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Niacin and Folate. Waakye is a favorite dish in Ghana though it is relatively expensive than other common foods. Nonethless, queues at waakye joints early in the morning and during lunchtime will tell you its a desired dish by the masses. Waakye can be taken with a variety of accompaniment like macroni, lettuce, Gari and different kinds of meat and fish. It a popular Ghanaian dish that can be eaten as breakfast, lunch or super.
Banku and Tilapia
Go out in the evening and you will be surprised at the number of Banku and tilapia joints there in in the streets. Banku and tilapia is quite expensive but it doesn’t eliminate the fact that its a peoples favorite. Its a combination of Banku, Corn and Cassava dough for the Banku, served with Grilled Tilapia and either stew, shito or pepper. It is highly nutritional with Banku being a high energy food and Tilapia, being very healthy and rich in protein. The Tilapia is grilled with spices and garnished beautifully with vegetables to give it a pleasing look. It can be found around in stalls, food centres, restaurants and chop bars.
Fufu and Soup
Plantain and cassava (sometimes yam instead) are cooked and then pounded until the dough has the required consistency. It is then paired with delicious light soup, groundnut soup and more. Fufu is originally an Akan staple. However cross culture sharing is a trademark of Ghana so it is available in different regions across the country. Homemade fufu is particularly popular on Sundays since this is the day a lot of people are available to prepare fufu. It is quiet a task since it involves preparing the fufu and soup separately. However a fufu is available at restaurants, chop bars and food joints.
Food in Ghana is a mixture of different cultures and backgrounds. These are the dishes I find very common on the Ghanaian market. If you are a Ghanaian, you are probably nodding your head as you read. if you are a foreigner and you have never tried Ghanaian dishes, you are missing out.
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