In pretty much every Westernized country in the world, people constantly worry about their weight. People toil in the gym, take up the newest fad diets, and generally try to adapt their lifestyles and food to prevent them from putting on extra weight. Not in Ghana.
It might come as a big surprise to anybody used to seeing airbrushed size zero models on the cover of every magazine, but in Ghana, big is beautiful. It’s not so much that people aim to put on weight. But being a larger person in Ghana simply does not carry the same social attitudes that it does in the West.
TAKEAWAY: This way of looking at weight is largely down to the fact that Ghana has a developing economy. Many people don’t have access to plentiful food for granted as we do. Therefore, carrying a few extra pounds is seen as a sign of wealth and privilege. This makes being a little chubby something that people don’t condemn, and many people even envy. If you’re interested in helping this amazing country, why not become a volunteer in Ghana?
As a result of these factors, Ghanaian cuisine is very different to that in the West, with many dishes designed to contain as many calories as possible. Long lasting carbohydrates, fats, and sugar are all commonplace in the typical Ghanaian diet, which makes for some delicious, albeit rather indulgent foods.
Outside of the main meals, people love to snack. Everyone knows of the famous Ghanaian dishes of Jeloff Rice, Banku, and Fufu. Some visitors may go as far as trying Kenkey and Fried Fish, but many visitors miss-out on tasting the various great snacks. So here are some of the top choices of Ghanaian snacks that everybody should try at least once.
Yams are starchy, carbohydrate-rich root vegetables. They are very similar to sweet potatoes in terms of appearance and flavour (although they’re actually a different species entirely). They are extremely popular in Africa as a whole, where they are a native crop, and Ghana is no exception. Yams make up a big part of the Ghanaian diet, with their popularity owed to being cheap, full of energy, easy to cook, and tasty.
As they are so packed with carbohydrates, they often form the base of dishes. One of the most common ways to cook them is by frying them. In general, if you ask for fried yams in Ghana, you will get a plate of deep-fried yam pieces, probably seasoned with hot chilli, and maybe with some other vegetables like tomatoes. They are regularly served with other foods like meat, fish and other vegetables.
This is another very simple, but incredibly satisfying dish which is primarily composed of fried plantains. If you’re not familiar with plantains, they are just a type of banana that is primarily eaten after being cooked, rather than when raw. The reason for this is that they contain less sugar than the bananas most people in the West are used to. So they are more palatable when cooked and combined with other ingredients, which is precisely what Kelewele is.
Plantains are chopped into pieces, seasoned with a combination of spices, and fried in oil. One of the best things about Kelewele is that no two people’s spice mixes are the same. Hence, you get a slightly different taste sensation every time you try it! Spices like chilli peppers and ginger are frequent additions, but recipes vary greatly depending on where you get them. The dish is also often served with other things on the side, such as rice. Kelewele is the perfect addition to any meal, and great on its own.
Popular Ghanaian sweets of Coconut caramel bites and Peanut brittle. I’ve always wondered why one was guaranteed to find the seller after church on Sundays and not any other day? Share your story. #Nkatiecake #KubeCake #Ndudu#GhanaFood#WestAfricanFood#AfricanFoodBlogger#BBCGoodFood#PeanutBrittle#CoconutCaramel#Foodie#FoodPhotography#Tbt
This beloved Ghanaian snack is a treat-lover’s dream. Like most food in Ghana, it’s a simple concept, but very fulfilling. If you’re familiar with the sweet treat called peanut brittle, then this is almost the same thing. I’m not going to lie to you and pretend this is in any way a healthy snack. However, it is definitely very tasty, and you will be coming back for more after trying it.
Nkatie cake is pretty much just made up of sugar, butter, and peanuts. This makes it the dream food for anybody with a sweet tooth who is looking to indulge their carnal desire for sugary goodness. The ingredients are combined in a tray and baked in the oven, making all the sugary syrup envelop the nuts. Once left to cool, the sugar hardens into a brittle mass around the peanuts. Then, the ‘cake’ can be broken into manageable pieces. Nkatie cake is cheap, easy, fast, and delicious.
Another indulgent but oh-so tantalizing Ghanaian classic is Bofrot. This is Ghana’s take on doughnuts. There are a couple of variations of Bofrot, but they are nearly always spherical balls of dough mix, deep fried in oil. They may be mixed with a spice like nutmeg, but they are definitely on the sweet side of the spectrum. That’s why they can be enjoyed as either a snack or as a dessert. Bofrot are commonly served alongside a traditional rice pudding, which works really well to cancel out their dryness.
This selection of unique and delicious snacks only gives a glimpse into the world of Ghanaian cuisine. Make your next vacation a trip to Ghana to discover all of these and more of what this fabulous country has to offer. Moreover, if you are interested in the culinary culture of this part of the world, you can check our articles about African or Middle Eastern cuisine.
About the Author: Nicoleta is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions. Nicoleta currently lives in Vancouver, Canada. She is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.