by Princess Poku-Ansah for Africa-OnTheRise
Ghanaian dishes are colourful, nutritious, delicious, juicy, and healthy. Ghanaians enjoyed healthy life style from the late 1950’s due to the habit of eating their own dishes until the influx of western diet became the vogue in the country.
Culture, it is said, is a way of life and Ghanaian dishes play an important role in the identity of a Ghanaian, aside its health benefits. Our staple foods are healthy because of the carefully selected ingredients that are used to prepare our dishes and they are low in fat and calories.
Ghana has a diverse culture making it one of the few countries in Africa and even in the world that boasts of a wide array of delicacies. Generally, Ghanaians enjoy a rather simple, but flavorful cuisine. These foods provide a nostalgic feeling to the consumer and are mostly characterized by high carbohydrate level.
The majority of meals consist of thick, well-seasoned stews and soups, usually accompanied by staple foods such as rice, boiled yams and many others. Stews come in a variety of flavours; the most popular being okra, garden eggs, egg plants (egusi), fish, bean leaf (or other greens), forowe (a fishy tomato stew), palava sauce (spinach stew with either fish, chicken or even minced meat), and groundnut (peanut).
Certain foods that make up the Ghanaian diet vary according to which region of the country people reside; For instance, the Ga’s from the Greater Accra region have a chief staple food that is kenkey, hot pepper and fish. Kenkey is a ball of corn dough that is boiled for some hours.
In northern Ghana, millet, yams, and corn are eaten most frequently, while the south and West enjoy plantains, cassava, and cocoyams. The northern regions boasts of a unique dish called ‘tuo zaaf’i.
On a more familiar terrain, we find foods such ‘oto’, ‘red-red’ and many others. Red-red (beans and plantain) is a Ghanaian favourite. The beans stew served with plantain earned its name from the palm oil that tints the stew and the bright orange color of the fried plantain. It is a very popular and affordable meal.
‘Oto’ however is a ceremonial traditional food, prepared mostly on occasions such as birthdays, rites of passage and many other important occasion. This delicious food is prepared with mashed yam, palm oil, garnish with ground nuts and hard-boiled eggs. This comes with a blend of a shade of yellow, brown and white.
Ghanaian dishes often leave its consumers salivating at its wonderful aroma. These foods make us uniquely Ghanaian. The next time you visit Ghana or any Ghanaian market, purchase a bowl of our matchless staple food and you would ask for more. Our dishes indeed are worth a second taste.