Postcards from Ghana: What is Independence without Kenkey?

Postcards from Ghana: What is Independence without Kenkey?

Popular food & Travel Youtuber David Hoffman trying out Kenkey at a local restaurant in Ghana

Author: Queen Murjanatu Attah

If you are familiar with food and travel tourists then you may have come across David Hoffman with the brand name David’s been here, who recently visited Ghana, and among the new things he tried was Ga Kenkey in Jamestown.

So, you know how everyone’s always bantering about which African country’s Jollof rice is supreme? Ghana versus Nigeria, Senegal versus Gambia – it’s a never-ending culinary battle with so much recipe innovation as the day goes by.  It’s all in good fun, but here’s the real deal – let’s shift our focus a bit and talk about something equally delicious and close to the heart: Kenkey from Ghana. Ever heard of it?

If you have been to at least two or more African countries or have friends there, you will agree that corn is a prevalent base ingredient in most African dishes, and Kenkey is no exception.

Kenkey, a Ghanaian dish made from fermented corn, complements well with fresh and raw ground pepper, onions, and tomatoes, and some prefer to add ginger or garlic for extra spice. Kenkey is commonly paired with shitor, fried fish, octopus, sausages, eggs, or any other protein of your choice. It can also be enjoyed as a pudding called “Mash Ke,” often mashed or blended into a paste. Adding milk, groundnut, sugar, or sometimes banana enhances its taste.

Initially, Kenkey was made by grinding the corn on stones until Gordan Guggisberg, an ex-governor of Gold Coast, introduced the corn mill and over time Otim became Komi (Today’s Kenkey).

The Ga tribe of Ghana now calls it Komi ( Kor me) before Otim, the Fante tribe calls it dokono ( duh ku nuu) while it’s famously known as Kenkey. 

It will interest you to know that Kenkey is not only delicious but also a sustainable meal – the corn husks used to wrap Kenkey into balls, and at times banana leaves, not only contribute to its unique preparation but also make it an environmentally friendly choice.

Next time you visit Ghana, a restaurant, or an African shop, ask if they have Kenkey and grab a few balls. Feel free to share your Kenkey exploration experience in the comments.

Meanwhile, if Kenkey looks like a portion of food you want to make on your own, feel free to use the resource:  Learn how to make Ga Kenkey with Sweet Adjeley, or follow Edinam’s step-by-step Ga Kenkey tutorials and recipe pamphlet, and Fante Kenkey with Masof’s Kitchen.

If you also have a traditional meal from where you come from with corn as the base. Let us know!