Banku is very similar to Fufu (Cassava and Green plantains). The only difference is that, Banku is made with fermented corn dough and cassava dough. Okro stew is made with palm oil, hot peppers, okro (type of green vegetable), tomatoes and, onions. Banku and Okro stew is a favorite dish in the Greater Accra region but you can find this dish in almost all areas in Ghana. You can make the Okro stew with goat meat, beef, pork, fish or any other meat of your choice. In this recipe I will be using my personal favorite, fried fish with the skin on.
For those of you that are vegetarian, you may follow this same recipe, just omit the meat. I will suggest adding other vegetables like chopped egg plants, yellow squash, or chopped spinach, and vegetable broth for extra flavor. I’ll be using fish for extra flavor.
5 slices of fish (My personal choice is croaker)
1 1/2 pound chopped okro (okra)
1 28oz can of tomator puree or 4 medium fresh tomatoes
1 large white/red onion
½ tsp ground hot pepper
3/4 cup Palm Oil
2 cups corn dough (for Banku)
1 cup cassava dough (for Banku)
½ tsp salt for taste
Maggi Cube (Or your choice of seasoning)
Wooden stirring paddle or wooden spoon (For mixing cassava and corn dough)
Heat the Palm oil in a pot. This kind of oil burns pretty quick so you have to pay attention to it. Add the chopped onions and fry until they are soft and begin to turn brown ( this should take about a minute or two).
Add the pepper and wait 5 seconds and then add the tomatoes. Let it cook until the liquid evaporates. The palm oil will rise to the top when the water evaporates.
When you begin to see the palm oil rising to the top, you may add the fish or your meat of choice to the pot.
In a separate pot, put the chopped okro (okra). Add about 1 ½ to 2 cups of water and a ½ of teaspoon of baking soda and let it come to a boil. Stir frequently until it gets really thick and slimy. The reason for the baking soda is to get the okra thick and slimier.
Add the okro to the pot of tomatoes and stir until everything is mixed together. Lower the fire and leave to simmer for about 1 – 3 minutes.
Now with clean hands, mix the corn dough and cassava dough together with water in a large pot. Mix until it turns into a watery paste. Add ½ tbsp. of salt.
Using a wooden spoon or stirring paddle, stir continuously and it will begin to thicken. You have to keep stirring to prevent the mixture from turning into lumps before it’s done. There is a wooden stick made specifically for Banku but this can easily be substituted with a regular wooden spoon if you do not have access to one.
The Banku will get thick and stiff as you continue to stir. Make sure to vigorously knead with the wooden stick against the pot. Add water to soften your mixture when needed. This process should take about 15 to 20 minutes. Form the Banku into serving-sized balls: this is completely up to your personal liking. Some people may prefer to form a larger Banku while others prefer a smaller portion. I personally prefer mine to be about the size of my fist.
This is what the outcome should look like or at least close to it.
If you’re a first-timer, know that as with everything else, practice makes perfect. As you continue to make Banku on your own you will eventually perfect the process and be able to make delicious Banku and Okro stew on your own.
Honestly, you can eat Banku with almost any soup or stew. One of my favorites is grounded pepper with tomatoes and fried fish. Delish!
Let me know how yours came out by sharing your comments below. I will love to know what you think. You may also submit a photo of your final product by clicking here. Be sure to share this recipe on Social Media if you found it helpful!