Kenkey, dorkunu, dokonou, or kom is a West African sourdough dumpling-like meal popular in Togo, Benin, and Ghana. It’s commonly served with pepper sauce, shito, and fried fish or stew.
What is Kenkey?
It is a traditional Ghanaian meal prepared from fermented white corn that is widely consumed by Ga people from the south of the country.
Frequently, it is served with fried fish in West Africa, where fishing is common and fish is typically eaten fresh and fried, or dried and smoked for improved preservation. Like banku and ugali, it’s commonly made from ground corn (maize).
It is made by fermenting maize for at least 5 days before cooking it. As a result, the preparation takes a few days to allow the dough to ferment.
Variations Of Kenkey
- The Ga tribe refers to it as komi and it is known as a dokono by the Fante tribe who live in the country’s center.
- Kenkey is also popular in nearby Ghanaian countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, and western Benin, but it was also exported to Jamaica and Guyana, where it is known as dokono and konkee, respectively. In Ghana, It can also be used to serve stews of meat, fish, or vegetables instead of bread, and It also pairs well with okra stew.
- It’s known as paime in Trinidad where it is commonly served as a side dish with vegetables like squash or plantains in korkey cuisine.
Kenkey and Fish
Before I tasted this dish, i have always wondered what the big deal was about a simple fermented cornmeal wrapped in corn leaves , then paired with fish.
If you are not a lover of fermented cereal like Ogi, Koko or Eko, you may not be quickly sold. Just trust me. The combination of the slightly sour Kenkey and the the slight sweetness of the sauce made from Tatashe, Scotch bonnet pepper and onion with the well-seasoned fried fish will change your thoughts about this meal.
What Does Kenkey Tastes Like?
Kenkey is naturally sour. It is this sourness that contributes to its uniqueness. Its acidity complements fried seafood perfectly. It is the fermentation process that causes the sourness. The kenkey is half cooked, wrapped in corn husks, plastic, or foil, and steamed after fermentation
How To Prepare Kenkey
If you are set, it is important to know that the preparation process will take a long time to finish. So, you might consider starting early enough.
It is made by steeping maize grains in water for about two days before milling and kneading them into a dough. After allowing the dough to ferment for a few days, a portion of it is baked and mixed with uncooked dough. This meal, a traditional representation of Ghanaian cuisine, is served all year.
Check out the follow recipe for your homemade Kenkey with sauce and dry fish.
Kenkey with Sauce and Fried Fish
- 6 - 8 cup corn
- Agbelima (optional)
- In a large container cover the corn with just enough water to dampen all of it. Set it in a warm place, such as a warmed oven or on top of the refrigerator, for 5 days. Fermentation may take longer than two days, especially in cool climates.
- When it is properly fermented, it should have a slightly sour, but not unpleasant aroma, rinse and grind the corn.
- Knead the fermented dough with your hands until it is thoroughly mixed and slightly stiffened. Divide the dough into two equal parts.
- In a large pot, cook one part of the fermented dough. Cook for about ten minutes, stirring constantly and vigorously. Remove from heat. This half of the dough is called the “aflata”.
- Combine the aflata with the remaining uncooked dough. Mix well.
- Divide the aflata-dough mixture into serving-sized pieces. Wrap the pieces tightly in corn husks, or foil. At this point you can put it in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to cook
- Steam the Kom for 30 to 60 mins, depending on their size and thickness. Serve room-temperature.
- Grind 1 onion, 2 tomatoes and green chilies together, grind until smooth, but with a little texture remaining in the sauce. Add Salt to taste
- Season and fry your fish with some garlic, ginger, salt and pepper.
- Serve with Yébésséssi, fried fish, sardine and Yébéssé fionfion