You are here: HomeCountryCameroon FoodGhana, Food & Drinks, Banku


Banku/Akple: Fermented corn/cassava dough mixed proportionally and cooked in hot water into a smooth whitish consistent paste. Served with soup, stew or a pepper sauce with fish.



What you need

  • six to eight cups of corn (maize) flour or cornmeal (ground corn or ground maize); (White cornmeal is preferred, it should be finely ground, like flour. Latin American style corn flour, as is used in tortillas, tamales, pupusas, etc. is the right kind); for Banku only: a similar amount of equal parts corn flour and grated cassava tuber may be substituted.

What you do

    • Prepare the fermented cornmeal dough: Traditional Method:

      In a large container combine the corn flour (or corn flour and grated cassava) with just enough warm water to dampen all of it. Mix well. Cover the container with a clean cloth. Set it in a warm place, such as a warmed oven or on top of the refrigerator, for two to three days. Fermentation may take longer than two days, especially in cool climates. (Note: a warmed oven is an oven that has been heated for a few minutes then turned off. The flour should ferment, not cook.) When it is properly fermented, it should have a slightly sour, but not unpleasant, aroma -- like rising bread dough. Overly fermented corn flour will not taste right. Alternate method:
      Prepare the corn flour as described above, and let it ferment for about six hours. Then mix one tablespoon of vinegar into the wet corn flour. Once the fermented dough is ready, prepare Banku or Kenkey according to the following methods.
    • To prepare Banku:

      • Knead the fermented dough with your hands until it is thoroughly mixed and slightly stiffened.
      • In a large pot, bring one cup of water to a boil. Slowly add the fermented dough. Cook for twenty minutes or more, stirring constantly and vigorously. The banku should become thick and stiff. Add water as necessary, if it becomes too dry. Form the banku into serving-sized balls (about the size of a tennis ball). May be served hot or cool (room-temperature).

Serve banku with grilled fish, okro stew or any other type of stew.

Note for those preparing banku outside of Ghana: ready-to-use fermented cornmeal dough made especially for banku and kenkey may be available at African import grocery stores and should be prepared according to package instructions.

Taken from the