In almost every Ghanaian home you are definitely bound to find the following spices; garlic, onion, ginger and pepper. Very basic and used in flavoring up almost any meal fromsoups, stews to meats.
Long Saturday mornings in my Mother’s kitchen often involved pealing garlic and big bowls of ginger (I hated that task eh) and almighty onion which made me cry for Ghana. Pepper was every present in almost every meal; Kpakposhito (Scotch Bonnet Pepper), Akwele Waabii ( Chilli) Odzenma ( Yellow Lantern Chilli).
I later got to live with my Granda (RIP Grandma! ) who passed on some incredible spicing tricks and local spices down to me. I didn’t even know what spices they were. She would patiently tell me the name of each and show how to use them and on what. This was mostly in Ga so I didn’t really know their English names.
I have realised how little we use some local spices in our cooking. We are gradually forgetting the traditional spices and choosing cubed seasoning which many at times are packed with MSG and other preservatives which aren’t kind to our health.
I went exploring in a spice market which is deep within the 31st December Women’s Market in Mokola Market to discover what other traditional spices we have aside ginger and pepper. What are their English names? What health benefits can we get from using these spices in our cooking? Do they have medicinal properties?
Watch the video and find out more.
DISCLAIMER: All suggestions of medical treatment using the spices in this video are that of the spice sellers only.
These spices can be sourced from markets all over the country but at the spice market is much cheaper. There are more spices across the country and knowing how to use them in our foods not only supports the spice sellers but also enables us to pass on the tradition to our children. Everyday cubed spices, yesterday cubed spices…seriously that can be too much.
Soh or Grains of Selim is a favourite of mine for spicing up fish. I combine it with ground dry pepper (AkweleWaabi) and onions and stuff the fish with it. I either fry the fish or bake it. Unbeatable natural flavor! Oh dear, now I am hungry!
Spices in Ghana aren’t all locally sourced. Like Hajia Maame said in the video, some peppercorns and rosemary come from the Spice Souk in Dubai. Talk about travelling a long way to West Africa! Many of these spices have great health benefits in addition to food flavouring.
I have major plans for the cloves and peppercorns I bought. An easy way to store them will be to blend and keep them in a dry place. This weekend I can already smell Palm-Nut soup with some pr3k3s3 floating around in joy.
That was a fun time in the market. It was a bit challenging at first as Hajia didnt want her face in the video and I had to respect that. But she nevertheless was priceless in sharing her love for spices and how they could be used. She watched the video later and couldnt help but smile all throughout.
Anytime you want to film in these markets or anywhere else just ask permission to do so. Sometimes you can get insulted for free 😀 other times you get welcomed.
What Ghanaian local spices do you know of? Which other ways do you use the local spices apart from flavouring your food? Share in the comments below