The Kenkey Story: Essential food of the Ga people of Ghana

As told by Alexander Wiredu

The third Food for People facility is located in the village of Otinibi, a Ga community in Ghana. The staple food of the people here is the Ga kenkey, a traditional meal enjoyed by all, including other tribes. Kenkey is particularly enjoyed with ground chili pepper and a black sauce locally known as “shito.” It can, however, be served with other soups and stews.

Here is how it is prepared:
– Maize grains, which have been bagged after a process of de-husking and drying by farmers, are purchased from retailers.
– The maize grains are soaked in water for three days to allow them to soften and ferment, after which they are washed in fresh water and sent to the corn mill to be ground and made into dough.
– The dough is kneaded until it becomes slightly stiff.
– Half of the fermented dough is cooked, and then it is thoroughly mixed with the uncooked half.
– The mixture is then wrapped firmly in maize husks and boiled for one to three hours, depending on the size and thickness of the wrapped dough, until it’s ready to serve.

Recuperating individuals with little appetite often eat kenkey with “light soup.” The water used in boiling the kenkey is also considered a very nutritious drink, known as “otinshi nu”.

Kenkey prepared in the FFP kitchen also provides employment and income for the local farmers and retailers, as well as for those who work in the corn mill.

As it is a favorite food among the Ga people, it is popularly said that, if a Ga does not eat kenkey during the day, then he hasn’t eaten at all.



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