Ghanaian Foods In Focus: Tuo Zaafi (Recipe Included)

Ghana is a land of diversity, filled with different people of different ethnicity, who all have their unique languages, clothing and even foods they eat.

In the last couple of decades, cultures have diversified in Ghana, exchanges between ethnic groups have taken place. For instance people of Southern Ghana, mostly the Akans, Gas and Ewes all now wear the Batakari clothing, a dress which is regarded as the traditional costume of people in the northern part of Ghana.

This culture exchange and diversification did not only happen in the area of clothing but also the foods we eat as a people. Today it is common to go into a Ga community and see households pounding fufu (a local dish of the Asantes and Akyems) to be eaten as their supper.

Another such food which has moved from being an ethnic based food to a national delicacy is the ever tasty Tuo Zaafi, popularly known as TZ in the southern part of Ghana. Tuo Zaafi, a relatively unknown northern delicacy has over the last decade grown in popularity in the Southern part of Ghana to become a national delicacy enjoyed by people in every part of Ghana.

The food which originated from the northern part of Ghana is traditionally prepared with millet dough with the final product looking very white. While the northern part of Ghana still stick to using millet dough to prepare the dish, the people in the southern part of Ghana have made some slight changes to the traditional way of preparing it, by adding maize and cassava though.

Tuo Zaafi is eaten with a special green vegetable stew or soup mainly containing the popular green bitter leaves as its core ingredient known as “Ayoyo”. Notwithstanding, Tuo Zaafi can equally be eaten with Okra soup and this is especially common in the South where consumers prefer the Okra soup over the green leaves soup.

Tuo Zaafi is now common in most chop bars in cities like Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi. If you are yet to taste this God-sent food, the next time you visit any ‘Chop Bar’ be sure to order for some and have a taste of the food stolen from the North and gifted to the entire nation. Ask your guide for popular Tuo Zaafi joints in town.

The attached Tuo Zaafi recipe is from Modern Ghana.



What is Tuo Zaafi?

Tuo Zaafi is a traditional Ghanaian food that originated from the northern part of Ghana. It is one of the most enjoyed meals in the region and Ghana as a whole.

Tuozafi is prepared with either millet dough or corn dough depending on the taste of the consumer with the final output looking white and rounded.

The food is eaten with a special stew prepared primarily with ayoyo,  local leaves.  The main ingredient required to prepare Tuozaafi and stew include, Corn or Millet dough, ayoyo leaves, tomatoes, onions, smoke or dried fish depending on the taste of the consumer, palm oil, pepper and salt.

How to prepare Tuo Zaafi meal

Tuo Zaafi, popularly called TZ, in the southern part of Ghana, is a traditional northern food that has gained popularity in the South and is now enjoyed by every Ghanaian irrespective of ethnic group or where they stay.

However, in most part of Ghana, the food is sold in chop bars and street corners rather than being prepared at home by consumers mostly because most southerners have no idea how the food is prepared.

In this article, discusses the very simple steps involved in the preparation of Tuo Zaafi and its unique stew.

Tuozafi stew is predominantly prepared with Ayoyo leaves. First step of preparation involves cutting the bitter leaves into small tiny pieces. After that boil water for some minutes, when the water is hot enough pour the cut leaves into the water for the leaves to become soft. Check the softness of the leaves after some minutes. If you are okay with its softness and sliminess, then you take it off the fire and drain the water using a sieve.

Next thing to do is steam your meat or fish using onion, pepper, tomatoes and other ingredients like spices of your choice. Add palm oil to the steamed meat and ingredient s and continue staring until the mixed ingredients become a little slimy, then you pour the soft ayoyo leaves into the bowl and leave on fire for some ten minutes.

To prepare the TZ, first put water on the fire and boil it. While the water is being boiled, mix the cornflour with cold water. When the water is hot enough, pour the cornflour solution into the hot water and stir. Keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t develop tiny lumps. Now be adding flour little by little to make the porridge harder. Keep doing this till the TZ becomes hard enough.