This blog covers the years 2014-2016 when we (the Robisons) were at the Ghana MTC. To see the blog covering the period 2016-2018 click on this link:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What is Banku?

        During the braiding hair experience of Sister Johnson, who is helping out at the MTC, it was mentioned that she had Banku.  When missionaries and teachers at the MTC hear that Banku is being served, they are very pleased.  It is a Ghanian favorite dish.

        Banku is one of the staple foods enjoyed by all tribes inhabiting Ghana. It is prepared by mixing fermented corn and cassava dough in varied proportions. The actual proportion for combining the two different kinds of dough is not specified in any banku recipe and most people vary it according to their taste.

        The actual process of preparing the banku is not complex. It involves mixing the two kinds of dough thoroughly until it results in a smooth white paste. The paste is then cooked over fire until it hardens and the entire dough gets cooked. A dish of banku can be made in 45 minutes on an average. The dough also needs constant stirring while being cooked in order to avoid lumps within the cooked banku. The lukewarm banku is fashioned into rough balls before being served.

        Kenkey, another popular staple is a variation of banku which is left half cooked and then steamed while wrapped in banana leaves.

History Of The Banku Recipe

       There is no recorded or documented history for the banku recipe in Ghana. The food has been eaten traditionally and can be traced back to the tribes residing near the Voltas river. The Ewes have been credited with the origin of the first banku recipe although it is enjoyed by almost all the tribes of Ghana.

The above dish is a photo of the actual plate of "banku" served to Sister Johnson last Friday.

Ingredients And Banku Recipe

       Banku resembles the fufu and can be made with unequal parts of fermented corn and cassava dough mixed together. No other ingredients are added to the banku which imbibes the taste of the soup or the stew that is eaten along with it.

      The procedure of preparing the staple according to the traditional banku recipe is quite simple too. The first step involves mixing a little warm water with corn flour and grated cassava and kneading properly to create an uniform mixture. The smooth paste is then covered with a clean piece of cloth and left to stand for 2-3 days in a warm area. The banku mixture will take a longer time to ferment in cooler areas. A slight rising of the dough along with a sour smell indicate that the fermentation has taken place. The whitish color turns slightly gray after this process and needs to be kneaded thoroughly again.

      Boiling water in a large pot is next with the dough being added to the pot and stirred vigorously from time to time. Cooking takes place until the banku stiffens into a fufu like consistency when it is removed from the flame and rolled into rough balls. It is usually eaten warm or in a lukewarm condition.

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