Kenkey is a popular Ghanaian food made from fermented maize and some times cassava, into dough, served with a vegetable stew or soup. It is another authentic African food.
Kenkey is even more popular amongst the Ga, Fanti and Ewe people of Ghana, mainly in the coastal areas. It is also eaten across other parts of West Africa including the people of Lagos State in Nigeria!
The Ga and Fantis prefer this meal to all other Ghanaian foods, and constitute a regular component of their meal.
Even though it is produced from fermented corn or maize, there are two varieties of kenkey, depending on small twist in the production… the Ga Kenkey and the Fanti Kenkey. Both types are produced by cooking fermented dough of corn wrapped in maize husk or plantain leaves.
The Ga Kenkey, also called Komi, is fermented for a few days, 2 – 3 days, wrapped in a single layer of maize husk, with salt added to spice up the flavour.
The Fanti kenkey is also called dokon, meaning "mouth watering", obviously referring to the pleasant taste and aroma that emanates from it after preparation.
It is usually fermented a little longer than the Ga type, and no salt is added. It is wrapped in about 5 – 6 layers of plantain leaves.
Traditionally, kenkey is made by women at home in what is now seen to be a very tedious process. These days, you can buy already prepared kenkey from the shops.
White maize is soaked in water for a day to soften, and then milled into dough. The dough is allowed to ferment for two to four days.
The fermented dough is then kneaded using the hand into a smooth ball, cut in two equal portions and a portion cooked for about 10 – 20 minutes in a pot of water into a gelatinous solid paste.
The cooked bit now called aflata is mixed with the uncooked dough, and then cut into dumpling sizes for serving.
This is wrapped in either maize husk or plantain leaves and put in a pot with water and allow to boil for 1 – 3 hours, depending on the size of the dumplings and or heat source.
The cooked dumpling is the kenkey, and is ready to be served with a traditional Ghanaian soup or stew which is usually a vegetable sauce with fish or meat.
These days, kenkey is made from grinding maize into a dry powder, mixed with warm water, and allow to ferment for 2 -3 days, then the other steps remain the same. Instead of a maize husk or plantain leaf, a foil can be used to wrap the dough before cooking.
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