Years after visiting Ghana and trying Banku, the craving came calling and our Nomad eats guest could not resist the call. In this piece, Mrs Kush teaches us how to make Banku, a famous Ghanaian dish.
Mrs Kush is one food writer/cook/caterer we truly love and respect at CASA Nomads. Her food is visually appealing and trust us, it tastes even better! You can follow her amazing food diary on instagram.
FROM MRS KUSH
One beautiful morning in April 2018, I woke up and started craving Banku.
Before I go further, let me give you some context. I’ve been to Ghana only once. That one time was in 2009. I ate a lot of Ghanaian food when I was there, but I only ate Banku once.
I don’t even remember what it tasted like per se all I know is that I was excited to try but was a bit underwhelmed compared to Wache and Kelewele. With all these in mind there was no logical reason on the planet why I should crave Banku except… maybe I’m pregnant! I promise you I wasn’t; I checked. (School fees these days is not a joke story for another day).
With all that in mind, I accepted the challenge and set out to satisfy this unusual craving by googling “Ghanian Restaurants in Lagos”. If you’re a true Lagosian I give you three guesses what the top result was… Ghana High! Needless to say, that was a dead end even though I ventured into double digit search result pages. This was a huge surprise because we have Italian, Indian, Jamaican, countless Chinese and even Mexican food but there seemed to be no food representative of our Ghanian brethren in Lagos.
The next step was to google the recipe. This resulted in me appreciating the time and effort required to make Banku but also the knowledge that that would not be me.
The main ingredients for Banku are Corn and Cassava which go through a process of fermentation and blending before being turned to a type Fufu. I will also add that it required a lot of effort and copious amounts of patience.
I was willing to be patient but decided to pass on the effort. Countless Ghanaian Food blogs and YouTube tutorials later, this is what I came up with.
- 500g Maize Flour
- 250g Cassava Flour
- 2 cups of Water
- One of the fruits of the spirit: Patience
- Pour Maize flour into a clean bowl and pour in just enough Water to dampen it and mix thoroughly. The maize flour should be completely damp with no visible sign of moisture.
- Cover with a clean cloth or tea towel, set aside and let it ferment at room temperature for 3-5 days. The longer it stays the more sour it becomes.
- After 5 days it would have grown some Mould, don’t worry this is perfectly normal.
- Scoop off all traces of the Mould and discard them.
- In another clean bowl, add your Cassava flour and dampen with Water making sure it doesn’t get too wet.
- Add in the fermented corn flour and mix thoroughly
- This can be frozen for future use
- In a pot add the ½ cup of Banku mix, 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt
- Mix till you get a smooth consistency
- Place the pot on medium to low heat and stir continuously with a wooden spatula till it thickens
Serve with some Sauce (Shito is traditional) and Tilapia Fish
You can watch the video here.
If I didn’t make this myself I wouldn’t have given it a second chance. My tolerance of the taste came from the patience and effort I put into making it happen. I wasn’t entirely sure what, I didn’t like about it, but I am certain the salt ruined it for me. Salt was a key ingredient in the authentic recipe based on my research, but I didn’t care for it. To cut the long story short, I made it again without the Salt and I absolutely loved it!
I guess my Nigerien palate couldn’t handle Salt in swallow.
Did it satisfy my craving? Partly, because I need to taste the real thing once again to know if I truly nailed it or not. I know what you’re thinking, “Just buy Corn and Cassava and make it”. I could but I really don’t want to and the simple reason for this is that I am lazy.
After all is said and done, I’m happy I tried it. I’m however looking for an opportunity to go to Ghana just so that my Banku adventure can come full circle. Whilst it’ll make no logical sense to travel to another country just for food, it’s certainly better than going to meet up with a “catfish”. So Naijanomads, when are you organizing a trip to Ghana? This girl has a date with a Banku seller!
PS: I also tried Ghanaian Jollof, lets just say Nigerians are the Giant of Africa for a reason 😀
Is there any foreign food you crave for right now and would love to try out? Set out to try it today and when you do, do not forget to share with us so people can learn.