In Ghana there are a few staple dishes that everyone has regularly. These are fufu, banku, and kenke. They all feature a dough ball in some kind of stew. You must take a piece of the dough ball and dip it into the stew using your RIGHT HAND--this is very important as it is offensive in Ghanaian culture to use your left hand for anything other than going to the bathroom. Then you put it in your mouth and swallow--you aren't supposed to chew (though I always violate this rule).
The fufu dough ball is made from cassava, which is like a white yam. This dough ball, like all the others, is very filling and it expands in your stomach. I can never eat all of one. The texture is kind of like bread dough. It can also be served with light soup, which is a spicy tomato soup. The spices that are in almost every Ghanaian dish are garlic, ginger, onion, and LOTS of pepe, a kind of pepper.
Fufu with goat meat in palm nut soup
Me pounding fufu with our cook Linda
The banku dough ball is made from mashed plantains. It is similiar to the fufu dough ball, except slightly more sour. Molly and I like this dish better than fufu. The texture is different--it is more like clay.
Banku and "okro" (okra) stew
Kenkey is made using corn. It is usually wrapped in a corn husk, so you must unwrap it first. You take a piece of it, dip it in the spicy red sauce, and tear off part of the fish and eat it all together.
Kenkey dough ball wrapped in corn husk
Kenkey, sauce, and fish
A rice ball is often served with groundnut (peanut) soup. At first Molly and I loved this dish, but as it was the last dish we ate before we got food poisoning, we are now kind of repulsed by it even though we don't know for sure that we got food poisoning from it. Anyway, most of these dishes are usually served with chicken. ALL PARTS of the chicken are served, including the eggs from the inside of female chickens. Ghanaians even eat the bones for calcium since there is no milk here.
Rice ball in ground nut stew with chicken
Red red with fried plaintains or bananas is another commonly-served meal in Ghana. It is basically beans in a red sauce. This meal is not very spicy, so it can be a nice change of pace. The fried plantains are very sweet. I prefer this dish with bananas rather than fried plantains.
Red Red with fried plantains
Mpoto Mpoto is a yam dish. I cannot find any pictures of it... It has a consistency kind of like mashed potatoes, except it is orange, rich, and spicy!
Fried yams are the Ghanaian version of french fries--except here it is the main meal. It is dipped in a spicy red sauce. We usually share an omlette on the side for protein. In Ghana the starch is viewed as more important than the protein. Chicken and other meats are more expensive, so Ghanaians fill up on startches before consuming a little protein at the end of the meal.
Fried Yams (one of the other volunteers took this picture)
Jollof is a spicy rice, commonly served with chicken and a little salad on the side. The lettuce is usually smothered in mayo.
Jollof Rice and Chicken
And last but not least, cosi. Cosi is fried bean dough, and it is usually served inside of bread like a sandwich. This is a breakfast food.
Cosi Sandwich (This picture was also taken by another volunteer)
Though we have enjoyed experiencing all aspects of the Ghanaian culture, including the food, we are ready to return to America to EAT RED MEAT! We are excited to eat pretty much anything that does not involve carbs as we are pretty burnt out on carb consumption.
I know this hasn't been a real update on what we have been doing the past week... We will be posting one more time before we leave on Monday, so stay tuned!