In this edition of Salt Magazine Adelaide resident Genevieve Banks originally from Ghana shares with us a famous and versatile traditional condiment of the Ga people.
Black pepper or Shito (pronounced shi-tor) is to Ghanaians what tomato sauce is to Australians. Shito means pepper in the Ga language. It can be used as a condiment or a sauce which means meal combinations are endless! You can eat Shito in as many combinations as your mind can dream up.
In Ghana, it is sold along with many Ghanaian and western style dishes by both street food vendors and restaurants.
It is also very popular with boarding school kids due to its ability to last for months even without the use of a fridge for storage.
Waakye (Ghanaian rice and beans), Kenkey (Ghanaian tamales), Gari (dried grated cassava), tubers, meat, fish, seafood, eggs, steamed rice, or even white bread are a few different foods that Shito can be eaten with.
The main ingredients for Shito are onions, ginger, ground chili powder, ground shrimp, and ground fish. You should be able to find the ground shrimp and fish at an African or Asian grocer. You can also get dried shrimp and fish, roast it in the oven for a about 30 minutes and then grind it in a food processor or blender (my preferred method).
3 cups canola or vegetable oil
4 cups chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped ginger
1 cup ground red chili powder
(habanero powder recommended)
1 cup ground dried shrimp
1 cup ground dried fish
2 Maggie cubes (preferably the shrimp flavour)
- Heat oil in a large pan over medium to high heat. The oil should be hot enough to cook the ingredients quickly but not so hot that it burns everything immediately.
- Puree onion and ginger in a blender; fry the mixture in the oil until there are few water bubbles left.
- Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low heat again until there are few water bubbles left on the top.
- Stir regularly to prevent burning at the bottom of the sauce.
- Cool and store in mason jars or recycled clean glass jars; make sure to leave some oil on top to ensure longevity. Always scoop out of the jar with a dry spoon.