“Akyeke” is a local delicacy of the people of Nzema in the Western Region of Ghana. It is also enjoyed by people in Cote d’Ivoire. The food is not common in other parts of Ghana but is loved by people across the various regions of the country.
What is it?
People are likely to meet “akyeke” vendors when they visit any part of the Western Region. Even though the meal from a distance looks like gari because of its coarse nature, its preparation and taste are unique.
Akyeke is prepared from grated cassava that is fermented. The water from the mash is drained out using a sieve or clean napkin and stirred in a circular motion.
This process though tedious, if not done well could affect its taste. It is then dried in the sun for close to an hour and steamed to arrive at the final product.
Seasoned with salt or some spices, the cuisine is enjoyed with sliced green pepper, onions and tomatoes on the side accompanied with either tilapia or any other fried fish.
The Nzemas enjoy their akyeke mixed with palm oil, which gives it a yellowish colour.
Avocado, fried plantain, boiled eggs and shrimps are sometimes added to the meal to enhance the taste. It can also be eaten with stew, ground pepper, or soup.
Akyeke is a great source of carbohydrates, which can be taken as breakfast, lunch or supper and is also enjoyed by people from all walks of life.
Rebecca Arthur is an akyeke vendor in Takoradi and narrates how her sales had increased in recent times.
According to her, the food is preferred by Fantes, Wassas, Ashantis, Northerners and even foreign nationals, which resulted in its high patronage.
According to her, with as low as GH¢ 2,00, one could get a plate of akyeke, but without any accompaniment. In order to fully enjoy the meal, buyers must spend up to GH¢ 10. 00.
Mr Kwesi Yankson, a lover of the delicacy said eating the food without any accompaniment brings him joy. For him, taking akyeke with just pepper brings him satisfaction.
Mr Yankson mostly prefers to eat his akyeke with herrings (keta schoolboys) and shito.
Another lover of the dish, Madam Grace Blay prefers hers with groundnuts. “I just take the plain akyeke with roasted groundnuts and I am good to go”.
Madam Akuba Ndah also explained that because she loved the dish, she mostly bought it in bulk and stored it in her freezer.
“For me, I mix it with Zomi (palm oil) and add either fried shrimps or octopus to it,” she said.
Mr Samuel Osei, a regular buyer of akyeke, said he visited Half Assini and tasted the delicacy and had since developed the desire for it. “I take it with everything. Sometimes, I take it with smoked ‘momoni’ (salted fish).
Akyeke has gained so much popularity, it would not be a bad idea to locate a vendor to buy yourself a good dish. Hotels and restaurants could also add it to their menu and would not regret it.
Give it a try and you will never regret tasting it.