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.



How to prepare Ghana egusi soup with spinach

Egusi soup with spinach looks more like a stew than a soup. Egusi soup is usually accompanied by yam, plantains or rice. Let us take a walk through this delicious recipe.

Egusi Soup with beef
Egusi Soup with beef




Main course






The Ghana egusi soup with spinach is the best version of the melon seed base stew . Agusi, as Ghanaians call it, is a protein-packed tiny white seed from the melon plant. Rich in vitamin B1, B2, A and C, it also has high levels of linoleic and oleic acid.

Spinach is also another super food packed with vitamins, minerals and iron. It is also good for healthy hair, skin and bones. Try adding lots of spinach to your diet to prevent constipation.


How to prepare Ghana egusi soup with spinach


  • 1 cup powdered agusi/egusi
  • 3 cups spinach leaves/kontomire (washed and chopped)
  • 1pound smoked salmon chunks
  • 1 ½ pound smoked tuna chunks
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp. shrimp powder
  • 1 large onion (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 4 large tomatoes (diced)
  • ½ cup palm oil


If you are substituting with kontomire, be advise to boil it a bit before adding to the stew.

  • Add 2 cups of water to kontomire and bring to a boil. Let it boil over for about 5mins and turn off heat. Strain out excess water with a colander. Keep leaves in the colander.
  • Over medium heat, heat palm oil. Add your onions, ginger and garlic. Cook and stir until onions are nicely caramelized.
  • Add tomato paste and stir. Allow cooking for about 2mins. Pour in your fresh tomatoes. Add a little water. Cover and allow cooking for about 10mins.
  • Mix your eggs with the powdered egusi and pour into the saucepan. Turn down the heat, cover and cook for another 10-15mins. I recommend you gently stir after about 10mins.
  • Add your shrimp powder, salmon and tuna to the stew. Carefully stir to prevent the egusi from breaking into tiny pieces. We want it looking quite chunky.
  • Finally, add the spinach leaves/ kontomire and stir. Adjust salt and pepper to your preference. Simmer on low heat for about 10-15mins.


Your Ghanaian style egusi soup is ready to be devoured.


4 persons


Ghanaian style egusi soup with spinach looks more like a stew than a soup. It is slightly thicker than other versions of the sauce. It’s also a great meal for vegetarians once the fish is omitted.

Unlike Nigerian version, the Ghana egusi soup is usually paired with yam, plantains or rice, and not eba. Others go as far as to enjoy it with banku or kenkey.

Egusi Soup

The Egusi Soup from Ghana!

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How to cook Sambar

This Indian dish made up of two things, vegetable soup and the tempering of the actual sambar has a lot of ingredients yet has been said to be a “simple to prepare” dish irrespective of the numerous ingredients.

Indian cuisine – Idli Sambar steamed rice and urad bean dal dumplings on black plate isolated on white background

Coming from India, one might not be too familiar with some of the ingredients if he or she is not of Indian descent. It is suggested that alternatives are found in such a case, for example, with the peas, any kind of preferred beans can be used.


How to fry Dosa

This southern Indian pancakes will get you and any children around you craving for more. Pancakes are not scarce to come by and are a common thing to prepare in many cultures. The Dosa is a special variety of pancakes that are crispy and savoury. Made from rice, with some seeds to spice up, this is a special type that you would want to experiment.

Thosai or tosai is popular indian food in Malaysia during breakfast. Served with curry sauces.

Some prefer to add eggs to this variety, others do this without eggs, this variety, in particular, does not have eggs. Try it without eggs and then you will be preparing a raw Indian dosa!

How to cook Earthy Mushroom Stew

Stewed mushrooms with portulaca
Stewed mushrooms in sour cream with portulak.Russian cuisine

Mushrooms apart from being delicious and “easy to consume” are a very healthy source of protein and several other nutrients. They are used for a countless number of dishes from across the globe and are currently grown “everywhere”. With the numerous varieties that exist, also come numerous varieties of dishes.

stewed mushrooms
ration stewed mushrooms on wooden board

Earthy Mushroom Stew was first published in 2006 in the Sunset Magazine and has since been innovated by many mushroom lovers. A simply yet filling and nutritious meal of mushroom dish originating from the United States of America, if you love dishes that are “fast”, this is most definitely one of the very fast ones.

How to prepare Garden Eggs Stew

Garden Eggs Stew
Garden Eggs Stew

Garden Eggs Stew is a nutritious stew that is enjoyed by many people across Ghana. Garden Egg stew can be eaten with rice, boiled yam, boiled plantain and many others.

It is known to be rich in vitamins. People who enjoy the delicacy believe it good for the formation of blood cells and improve vision.

How to prepare Groundnut Soup (Nkatekwan)

Groundnut soup is enjoyed with fufu, or banku, omutuo (rice balls), rice etc. You just can’t do without groundnut soup in Ghanaian society. Oh, don’t forget Sunday Omutuo and groundnut soup special.


Ground soup takes time and patience and is moderately difficult to cook.  The average time for cooking groundnut soup is an hour. Groundnut soup is a Ghanaian complementary dish serve with other main dishes for lunch and supper.  For the heavy breakfast eaters, groundnut soup and a main dish.

How to prepare Eto (3to)

Eto is a local Ghanaian meal made with either yam or cocoyam or ripped plantain mashed and mixed with palm oil. Eto is enjoyed by most Ghanaians specifically the Ashanti. The meal is served with mostly eggs and groundnuts.


Aside from the fact that Eto is a regular meal in Ghana, in the Ghanaian settings, Eto holds a whole lot of traditional significance. During festivals, most ethnic groups in Ghana serve their gods with to. When a girl child attains puberty, she is served with eto and boiled eggs by the queen mother.