Ghanaian cuisine has diverse traditional dishes from each ethnic group, tribe and clan from the north to the south and from the east to west. Generally, most Ghanaian dishes are made up of a starchy portion (rice, fufu, banku, tuo, gigi, akplidzii, yekeyeke, etew, ato, etc.) and a sauce or soup saturated with fish, snails, meat or mushrooms.
Some of the main starchy dishes are:
• cooked rice;
• waakye – rice and beans;
• fufu – pounded cassava and plantain or pounded yam and plantain, or pounded cocoyam;
• banku/akple – cooked fermented corn dough and cassava dough;
• kenkey/dokonu – fermented corn and cassava dough, wrapped in corn or banana leaves and cooked into a consistent solid paste;
• kokonte – from dried cassava chips;
• gari – made from cassava;
• omo tuo – pounded rice staple of northern origins.
Most Ghanaian dishes are usually served with a stew (often based on tomato with other protein cooked in it) or soup. The most popular soups are groundnut soup, light soup, and palmnut soup. Okra soup and stew are also popular. Usually rice and kenkey are served with soup or stew, while banku, fufu, akple and konkonte are served with soup.
A popular side dish in Ghana is kelewele. It is sometimes served with rice and stew, and sometimes eaten alone as a dessert.
Another popular dish is kontomire which is mashed up taro (cocoyam) leaves. It is often mixed with bits of tuna and egusi (pumpkin seeds) and dressed with palm oil.
An alternative to the starch and stew combination is "Red Red", a very popular and easy to find dish. It is made up of a mashed bean stew served with fried plantain. It earns its name from the red spices that tint both the stew and plantain.
Other popular dishes are ampesi (boiled yam and unripe plantain) which is usually accompanied with kontomire, groundnut soup, usually made with chicken, gari foto, nyadowa (garden egg stew), tilapia, fried whitebait (chinam), smoked fish and crayfish are a common component of Ghanaian dishes. The cornmeal based starch dishes, banku and kenkey are usually accompanied by some form of fried fish (chinam) or grilled tilapia and a very spicy salsa like condiment made from raw red and green chillies, onions, tomatoes. Banku and tilapia is a very popular combo served in most Ghanaian restaurants.
Ghanaian cuisine is quite sophisticated with liberal and adventurous use of exotic ingredients and a wide variety of tastes, spices, textures. Herbs such as thyme, bay,vegetables such as wild mushrooms, garden eggs (similar to egg plant) various types of pulses, ginger, garlic, smoked meat and fish, crab, trotters, andduck all feature in Ghanaian cuisine.