Kenkey (pronouced cane-kay) is a staple Ghanaian dish made from fermented white corn. It is often accompanied by a spicy sauce, made with fresh vegetables such as pepper and tomatoes locally known as Shito and fried, dried or smoked fish.
There are different variations of Kenkey (the cooking methods differ by ethnic group). The most common types being komi made by the Ga tribe form Southern Ghana and the dokono made by the Fante tribe who live in the center of the country.
Kenkey is usually prepared in advance because it takes a long time to complete. This dish is emblematic of the cuisine of Ghana, it is consumed all year round and is so popular in Accra, the capital of Ghana, that a festival is held once a year for tasting kenkey in various ways with fries, stews and salads.
For now let’s get the recipe for Ga Kenkey.
Ingredients to get from the local market:
• 3 cups white stone-ground cornmeal (not de-germinated)
• 1 tbsp corn starch
• 3 cups warm water (105–115°F)
• 1 tsp salt
• Dry corn husks
• Put cornmeal and cornstarch into a bowl.
• Add the warm water and stir until you get a smooth batter/dough.
• Loosely cover the bowl with a cloth or wax paper and set in a warm out of the way place for 2 days.
• When you are ready to use the dough start by scraping off and discarding any mold that might have formed. *see note in discussion
• Divide the dough in half.
• Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in large sauce pan. Once the water is boiling, add the salt and reduce to medium heat.
• Add half the dough to the water and mix it in. Let it cook for 10 minutes and stir to prevent scorching.
• Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the remaining dough, and mix thoroughly.
• Divide the dough into 3 or 4 large portions and put them onto corn husks.
• Shape the dough into balls.
• Wrap the corn husk around the ball, twisting it it at the top.
Steam or pressure cook as follows:
• Pour hot water into a steamer pot and put a rack on top of it.
• Put the wrapped kenkey on the rack and bring the water to a boil using high heat.
• Reduce to low heat and steam for around 90 minutes.
• Put the wrappers into the pressure cooker, elevated on a rack.
• Add enough water to the pressure cooker to meet the minimum safe level given by the manufacturer.
• Cook for 20 minutes at 15 psi.
• Quick release the pressure, then open the pressure cooker so the steam releases way from your face.
• Let the Kenkey dumplings cool for ten minutes.
Kenkey is best served with “Shito” (diced or ground red and/or green pepper), and your preferred fish.
Add your favourite chilled drink to seal the deal.
When was the first time you had a taste of Kenkey? Share your experience with us in the comment section.