Banku and Kenkey (West African Foods)

As a follow-up or continuation of a previous post (Sea Monkey & Fufu), we will discuss Banku & Kenkey.

Banku and Kenkey are two more Fufu-like staples from Western Africa, served with a soup, stew, or sauce. They are particularly popular in Ghana. Both are usually made from ground corn (maize), although most of the Ghanaian people I have met say that only Banku is made from a mixture of maize and grated Cassava tuber. Kenkey is usually just the corn (maize).

Making Banku or Kenkey involves letting the maize (or maize and cassava tuber) ferment before cooking. Banku is cooked in a pot using hot water to make a smooth whitish consistent paste; Kenkey is partially cooked, then wrapped in banana leaves, maize or corn husks, or foil, and steamed.

Personally, I prefer the Banku. A few times now we have gone to a local ‘Ghanaian Restaurant’ here in Liberia where I have enjoyed the Banku several times (along with goat and chicken, okra stew, and ground pea soup (a soup made from ground peanuts, like unsweetened peanut butter), the Fufu is good, but I have had way more Fufu over the years than I have had Banku or Kenkey.

Notice the water basin and liquid soap in the picture? (curtesy of Atidekate)- food is eaten with the hands, Ghanaians are usually meticulous about carefully washing their hands before and after a meal. There’s a bar of soap or bottle of liquid soap on every table at the Ghanaian Restaurants I have been in.

Want to try out some Banku, Fufu, or other products? Scout around on the internet. Back home we had a large (more than one) Asian food store that had a West African aisle with a lot of products I am covering in these posts. May not be quite the same, but it will get you close, and sometimes just the memories of eating a particular food bring you back to that time and place.

Next addition we will cover the importance of RED PALM OIL and not trying to substitute it with other oils when making West African recipes. ITS NOT THE SAME!

Which will help bring me around to the Sanka Sauce and all its derivatives: Ground Pea Soup, Okra Stew, and other sauces…(like Palava).

* I am not an authority by any means on West African food or cooking, these are my personal views and experiences as they have happened to me and many of my friends who are from these regions of the world AND as I have worked with them and learned from them…*