Tribes in Ghana and their Food

Tribes in Ghana and their Food

Ghana is a Western African country, formerly known as the Gold Coast. A British colony until 1957, it was the first African colony to attain its independence after World War II. Located on the Gulf of Guinea, between Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, the country is warm and relatively benign along the coast, enabling numerous tropical fruits and vegetables to be raised.

 Ghana is also a world leader in growing and exporting cocoa. The population comprises numerous ethnic groups, the largest of which is the Akan. 

Until the conquest by Britain, many of these groups were organized into complex kingdoms, whose rituals are still remnant today, notably among the Ashanti, one of the largest groups.

 Ghanaian cooking is based on stiff porridge staples eaten with peanut-based sauces.

Foodstuffs  Millet, sorghum, and cassava are the principal crops, and serve as the main ingredients of meals. 

Common staples are banku and kenkey, fermented versions of the stiff porridge-like staple eaten all over sub-Saharan Africa. 

 The most common meats are goat, chicken, and beef, when available.  Fish and other marine life are taken from the rivers as well as the sea. 

Dried salted small fish are important flavoring ingredients for most cooked dishes. A variety of vegetables are raised, including tomatoes, eggplants, peppers (sweet and hot varieties), and okra. Greens, such as taro leaves (called kontomire), and various mushrooms gathered from the wild are prized. Peanuts are used for flavoring and on their own. 

 Fruits are raised by farmers for local consumption and for export. The three most important crops are cocoa, plantains and other bananas, and coffee.  Drinks include cocoa, coffee, fruit juices, and beer—both commercial and home-brewed—from traditional grains or bananas.  Seasonings: palm oil and palm butter; ground peanuts; shitor din (chili table condiment); dried or smoked fish and shrimp.

Typical Dishes 

Groundnut and other stews are eaten as side dishes along with the cooked carbohydrate staple.  The staple porridge is first fermented, giving it a characteristic sour flavor.  Fish and seafood are baked, fried, or stewed with vegetables such as okra or taro leaves.

Styles of Eating 

 People try to eat three meals a day.  Families eat together sitting on a mat around a bowl of the staple and some side dishes, which are shared.

 Many men are polygynous. In such a case, each wife cooks for herself and her children, and in rotation for the shared husband. The food is brought to the husband’s house by the wife’s child. 

 Breakfast usually consists of a porridge, or fried bread, or the leftovers from the evening meal.  The midday meal depends on the individual’s occupation and resources.

  The evening meal is composed of a staple, and a sauce of vegetables and meat, often flavored with dried fish.  Eating out is common. Cafe ´s and restaurants usually serve European style.

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