How is peanut oil made in Ghana

Mary Appiah ... the black pearl

The Ghanaian cuisine

The traditional Ghanaian cuisine prepares only fresh products.

There are no ready meals, canned or frozen vegetables in Ghana. The Ghanaes go to the market to shop or to harvest in the fields every day. Since all the ingredients are fresh, Ghanaian cuisine is very healthy.

The eating habits in Ghana vary from region to region. They differ between the urban and rural populations, but also within the various ethnic groups. The staple foods like rice, fufu, plantain or banku are used by everyone. There are differences in the sauces, side dishes and spices.

There is also a focus on the use of staple foods, especially in rural areas. Here, due to the sometimes long transport routes, preference is given to the staple food, which has its preferred growing area in the residential areas of the population. In the south, for example, tuberous fruits such as sweet potatoes or cassava are increasingly used, whereas in the arid north the tuberous yams are predominantly grown, but grains such as semolina, millet, maize and rice are also used more frequently here.

Meat is mostly eaten in the north unless there is a nearby river that offers a variety of fish. Fish is mainly eaten in the Volta Basin and on the coast, as it can be bought there at a low price.

The main component of meals is usually a filling base such as rice, fufu, semolina, yam, banku, kenkey, sweet potato or plantain with sauce. Depending on the region, fish or meat is served with the side dishes.

Meat is often cooked in the sauce and served with it. However, meat is comparatively expensive in Ghana so that not every Ghanaian can afford game meat or beef every day. Chicken is more common because it is cheaper to buy.

Animals are almost always slaughtered fresh, often by the cooks themselves to ensure freshness. Due to the tropical climate and since refrigerators are rare, especially in the country, and the energy prices in the cities are quite high, the traditional, in-house slaughter has continued to this day.

In addition to the wide range of meats and fish, as well as crustaceans and mussels, Ghanaian cuisine uses some very typical types of vegetables. In addition to the tuber fruits, which are very important for Ghana, such as yams, manioc, sweet potatoes or taro, tomatoes, salt, fresh peppers and onions are used in almost every warm Ghanaian meal. Okra is also not uncommon to buy in Europe, an originally Asian vegetable that is particularly often served with lamb. In Ghana, okra is not only found as an elongated green pod in dishes, but also as a dried and ground variant because of its binding properties. Then it is less used as a vegetable, but to thicken a sauce. When cooked, okra develops a juice that is used as a spice in many dishes with fish and meat. In addition, eggplants, eggplant (Gardenegg or African eggplant), beans, carrots, spinach or avocados are often used.
Unlike their relatives, which are very popular in Europe, plantains can hardly be eaten raw. The plantain is boiled in water like one of the tubers mentioned above (like our boiled potatoes). Depending on the degree of ripeness and variety, they are also suitable for deep-frying, roasting or grilling. Plantains are a regional component of the filling main food, Fufu.
Unlike in Europe, the vegetables are not added to the meal just before the end of the cooking time, but are fried immediately with the oil and onions at the beginning.

Due to the high temperatures that are usual in Ghana, all of the food is cooked for a long time, and under no circumstances does a Ghanaian eat seared meat that is still bloody.

Breakfast right after getting up is not traditional in Ghana. In Ghana breakfast is not infrequently skipped or only eaten in the late morning. Nowadays, people often just buy a large piece of sugar bread (similar to milk bread dough) or a tea bread (somewhat crusty, elongated bread that is reminiscent of a baguette) fresh on the roadside, spread it with salty margarine and eat it on the go.
Late breakfast is often a hot meal of beans or rice with sauce, gari with soup, or something similar. An important dish for the late Ghanaian breakfast is porridge in different versions. Condensed milk is mainly used for this. The Ghanaian himself predominantly prefers warm meals.

The national dish Fufu is partly available in Ghana as well as in Europe as a ready-made powder. This ready-made powder is then stirred into hot water as a kind of fast food for private purposes and beaten with a wooden spoon until it forms a firm, sticky mass that is somewhat reminiscent of German mashed potatoes.

Fufu is served with plenty of liquid in the form of a wide variety of sauces, which in Ghana are called "soups". Sauces can be clear (Nkrakra) or boiled with the main ingredient palm kernel to make a palm kernel sauce (Abekwan). A special delicacy is the peanut sauce (Nkatekwan), which is made from freshly mashed peanuts, which are then processed into a buttery paste

Banku (also Obenku, Akpele) is another main dish made from cornmeal. Banku is a corn flour dumpling made from fermented corn flour with a slightly salty taste.

Rice specialties such as Omo Tuo or Joloffreis are also very popular. Omo Tuo consists of rice dumplings and vegetable sauce, which is often served with boiled eggs. There is no uniform Omo Tuo recipe as everyone in Ghana uses slightly different herbs or vegetables.

Jolof rice is made by frying onions with tomatoes or tomato paste in plenty of hot oil and refining them with paprika, pepper, salt and, if necessary, changing other nuances of spices. Later, various types of vegetables such as beans and carrots or aubergines are added to the oil and fried. Finally, everything is poured over with plenty of water and the rice is poured into the then boiling, spicy sauce and cooked in it.

Kenkey is similar in the preparation of the basic food Banku. This is also a corn mash made from fermented corn flour. However, after fermentation, this is further processed by boiling it again in water. This pulp is mixed with constant stirring on the fire to a semi-solid, smooth mass. The pulp is then rolled into balls the size of a tennis ball and protected from drying out by being wrapped in banana or corn leaves. After wrapping, the balls are boiled in hot water for a while as needed. This allows them to absorb the aroma contained in the leaves.

A supper, as it has become common in Germany, with cold cuts and bread is still not known in Ghana today.

The traditional and common sources of carbohydrates in Ghana are tubers such as yams and manioc or plantains. Corn is well-known and not uncommon, but as corn flour, it is more likely to be served with a lot of liquid with banku or a similar side dish to a warm meal.

The production of long-life foods such as bread has not been necessary since then. In Ghana there is no so-called harvest time, as there is enough food almost all year round due to the climate. You have always been able to process fresh products, which is why storage in Ghana has not been of great importance to this day.

As a dessert in private or in between on the street, the various fruits are often and gladly used. Street vendors sell these freshly cut to customers. You can find papaya, mandarins, pineapples, mangoes, lemons, oranges, grapefruits, star fruits, melons, guavas, cinnamon apples (chirimoya) but also nuts, almonds, tiger nuts and coconuts.

A small bag of freshly roasted peanuts is also popular as a snack in between. Products made from peanuts, such as homemade peanut butter or peanut oil, are an important part of Ghanaian cuisine.
In general, it can be said that Ghanaian cuisine, as is often the case in tropical countries, tends to be very spicy. At least ten completely different types of pepper can be bought in Ghana. A European will seldom taste a difference, but a Ghanaian cook looks specifically for a certain quality, color and type of pepper for the dish she is planning. There are dishes, mainly sauces, that consist almost exclusively of pepper, such as "Peppersoup with Fufu" (pepper soup with fufu).

In addition to okra, dried shrimp, fish or crabs are often finely ground in a mortar or similar and used as a spice for sauces. There is no general separation between fish and meat dishes. It is not uncommon for dried fish, shrimp or crab to be used as a condiment in a meat dish. This mixture is a very typical combination for Ghana.

Shito is a special Ghanaian sauce, which is often prepared in a large storage portion and then used with boiled rice, yam or the like. The use of shito is similar to the use of pesto, which is also very popular in Germany. Shito is a paste that consists almost exclusively of peppers, oil, salt, onions and tomatoes. Depending on the recipe, fish or crabs are also added.

In Ghana people traditionally eat with their fingers. Therefore, in every private household and usually also in restaurants, if they do not offer European cuisine and expect European guests, there is a bowl of water and a cloth, often with washing-up liquid or some soap, which the host hands out to his guests. before the food is served. Everyone washes their right hand in it, since the left is considered unclean. The left hand is hardly used when eating.

Other ingredients or dishes popular in Ghana are:

  • Gari (cassava flour that has been fried in oil is either simply sprinkled over certain dishes or boiled in water and serves as a side dish)
  • Kelawele are pieces of plantain made from very ripe plantains, sautéed in oil, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Red-Red are pieces of plantain made from ripe plantains that are fried in red palm kernel oil (palm oil) and served with a bean sauce

In Ghana, water, lemonade or fruit juices are served as drinks with meals. Beer is more likely to be drunk in good company in the evening.