What food do they actually eat in Ghana, is a frequently asked question. Very often the questioner starts to guess immediately and the most exotic and strange dishes are suggested. Doughballs, dog, monkey, bat, banana leaves and so on. This blog is not about the most popular Ghanaian dish, at least according to the Ashanti’s; fufu. I’ve written a blog on the subject before. Click here to read more. It’s not about all the different dishes in Ghana, it would become a book. The blog is about the most commonly eaten and found ingredient in Ghanaian food.
The tomato, the most versatile piece of… Vegetables
At the market in Banko, the typical Ashanti village where Moon&Star guesthouse is located, you won’t find much diversity in vegetables. And that is how it is in most places in Ghana. You will see onions, garden eggs, okra and tomatoes. When you don’t like onions or tomatoes, it is a bit of a challenge to find something to eat in Ghana. It’s true that in most dishes the vegetables are being minced, so you won’t find much of it.
The food they eat in Ghana is often quite spicy.
Peppers grow well in Ghana and I don’t know many Ghanaians who don’t use them a lot in the kitchen. The soups and sauces are often quite spicy. We Dutch people generally like a lot of sauce. A small piece of advice, taste it first before you put a lot of sauce on your rice. There is a kind of sambal that is used in Ghana, called shiito. With some dishes like waakye and fried rice you can avoid the pepper by saying no to shiito.
Tomato stew is the most eaten dish in Ghana
When you ask me what food they eat the most in Ghana, I have to say tomato stew. Stew is another word for sauce. Before I came to Ghana I thought you only eat tomato sauce over, through or with the pasta and maybe a spicier tomato salsa with the tortillas.
But here in Ghana they eat spicy tomato sauce with rice, yam, spaghetti and banku. The stew is called ‘dry’ stew and often serves as a base. The ingredients, onion, tomato, pepper and tomato paste, are fried in oil for a long time, making the ingredients dry(free of water) and not likely to spoil. The stew itself is not dry at all because of the oil. The advantage of this stew is that it can be stored for a long time outside the refrigerator.
This dry stew was my favorite food during my first Ghana experience.
Basic recipe for Ghanaian tomato stew
I would like to share the basic recipe for the tomato stew that we use at Moon&Star guesthouse. It is not a so-called dry stew. If you want the recipe for the dry stew, please let me know in a comment below!
The basic recipe is vegetarian and very simple. You can add meat(beef) or fish. And of course as many vegetables as you like. We usually add green peppers, carrots, cabbage and cucumber. It’s also very nice to have a scrambled egg in it.
Ingredients for 4 persons
- 1 medium (red) onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- fresh ginger to taste
- fresh peppers to taste (we use 2 madam Jeannette peppers with seeds)
- 4 big tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 5 tablespoons of oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 stock cube
- salt to taste
Cut the onion into pieces, the pieces don’t have to be very small. Put the pepper, garlic and ginger in the blender and grind them into a puree.
Heat the oil over high heat and add the onion. When the onion starts to discolour a little, add the curry powder. After a minute you can add the puree and the stock block (make it into a powder). If you want to use meat or fish, this is also the time to add it. Meanwhile, the fire can go up to medium height.
Cut the tomato into cubes, if you want to make a dry stew, remove the seeds. And add these. Leave it to simmer for a few minutes before adding the tomato puree to the pan. Sometimes we dissolve the tomato puree a little in some water. It depends on how thick you want the stew to be.
If you also want to use vegetables, you can now put them in the pan. Let it simmer for another 15 minutes on low heat. When it starts to burn, you can easily add some more oil or water.
Serve the stew with rice, beans, noodles, sweet potatoes or yam.
Will you let us know if you enjoyed your stew?
If you share the end result with a photo with a tag on Facebook(Moon and Star guesthouse) or Instagram(@moonstarguesthouse) it would be great!