Food in Ghana

When in Ullo the travel team was spoiled with Memena’s cooking. Memena is a daughter of the chief and lives in Accra. She travels north to Ullo every winter to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for the ISU-EWB travel team. Ghanaian food consists mainly of starches and chicken. A rice dish is typical at every meal, with jollof being the most common. Jollof is a staple in Ghana and is similar to what we think of as ‘Spanish Rice’. Since rice and tomato paste are two ingredients typically available all over Ghana, it is one of the country’s staples. Breakfast would usually consist of either bofrot, like donut holes, only larger, or fried eggs and toast. For lunch and dinner, the travel team was served a variety of foods. When white rice was prepared, a tomato-based sauce containing beans, cooked veggies, and various spices would also be available to eat on the rice. Also common was a meat dish, especially at dinner. The meat was usually chicken (sometimes taken from the courtyard of the chief’s palace), but sometimes goat or hard-boiled eggs were provided.
A typical lunch or dinner meal in Ullo

Once we had gotten used to our new diet, Memena cooked us fufu. This is a traditional dish in Ghana that contains yams and water. Yams are boiled and then pounded in a bowl with a large wooden rod. This is a two-person job; one person pounds the yams while the other adds water and keeps the mixture moving between the pounding motions. The product was a sticky, rubbery and dense starch ball that you’d pick apart and dip into one of the sauces provided. The flavor came from what the fufu was dipped into, but since these sauces were usually spicy, whimps like me usually dipped it in the ground nut sauce.

One thing the travel team missed was fresh produce! Since fruits and veggies could be washed with contaminated water, we were advised to avoid them. On a few special occasions, fruits with a peel or coating were given as dessert. We were treated with cut pineapple, bananas and delicious mangoes!