Akple is a traditional Ghanaian dish that originates from the Ewe tribe in the Volta Region. This whitish-grey delicacy is typically shaped into spherical balls of varying diameters, depending on the individual it is being served to. The main ingredients used in its preparation are corn flour, cassava dough, salt, and water. It is traditionally eaten by hand and is commonly enjoyed with Okro soup, known as “Fetri Detsi” among the Ewe people.
To prepare Akple, a deep stainless steel saucepan is used. Water is poured into the saucepan, filling it to approximately one-third of the desired final quantity. A few tablespoons of corn flour are added to create a light slurry, and the mixture is stirred over medium heat until it begins to boil. The flame is then lowered, and additional corn flour is gradually sprinkled in while stirring, until the slurry transforms into a dough-like consistency.
Next, a wooden spatula is used to knead the dough until it becomes smooth. Any dough stuck to the sides of the pan is removed, and the dough is centered in the pan. Water is added around the “dough-in-pan-island,” nearly covering the surface. The pan is tightly covered and allowed to boil, ensuring even cooking and steaming of the dough within. The dough is kneaded with the spatula to incorporate the water, resulting in a smooth texture.
This process of centering, watering, and kneading is repeated until the dough is soft and evenly cooked. It’s important to note that corn flour takes time to cook evenly, and to expedite the process, a well can be formed in the dough island and filled with water for faster and more even cooking.
Once your Akple is ready, you can eat it with any sauce or soup.
Akple, also known as Banku, holds historical significance within Ghanaian cuisine. It originated from the Ewe people and has become a staple food in the country, particularly among speakers of Ga, Ga-Adangme, and Ewe languages. Variations of Banku exist among Ewe speakers in Togo and parts of Benin, with differences in dough ratios or minor additions. Examples include Akple, Akume or Wokumé, and Kom.
“Akple” is a generic term encompassing various types of Akple. One type is “Amorkple,” which is a mixture of corn dough (Amor) and cassava dough (Agbeliemor). Another type is “Eworkple,” prepared solely with corn powder, as “ewor” means powder. This variation is sometimes referred to as “akpele” by non-Ewe speakers.
Additionally, there is “Bakebake,” a combination of corn powder mixed with Agbeliemor and water, left overnight to be prepared the following day. The corn dough, known as “Amor,” takes more time to mature, whereas Bakebake is a quicker option. Lastly, “Amordemi” refers to Eworkple that is partially cooked and then mixed with other ingredients.
In summary, Akple is a traditional Ghanaian dish that holds cultural significance among the Ewe tribe. Its preparation involves a careful process of cooking and kneading a mixture of corn flour and cassava dough. The variations of Akple reflect the diverse culinary practices within the Ewe community and contribute to the rich tapestry of Ghanaian cuisine.