Perhaps the most valuable appliance in an Ghanaian kitchen is the mortar and pestle, or asankas as they’re called. Grinding and pounding are essential aspects of any traditional meal preparation and while electrical appliances seem a desirable convenience, the flavor of a hand-ground dish simply can’t be beat (there’s actually some food science to back this up).

Tomatoes, peppers, onions and spices are pummeled into a remarkable number of sauces or stews and eaten with fufu or banku (cooked fermented corn dough and cassava dough) straight from the grinding bowl-no utensils necessary since the doughy fufu or banku makes for a perfect finger-held spoon. Even when eating out, the dish is prepared and served in a clay asanka.

And dare I say it…I’m actually starting to enjoy eating with my hands, is this possible? As a life-long germaphobe, I was pretty averse to the idea from the start, but now it just seems natural. 


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