Ghanaian Cuisine: Shito

Shito, also known as ‘black pepper’ in the Ga language, is a popular spicy black pepper sauce in Ghanaian cuisine.

This zesty sauce is made from ingredients like fish or vegetable oil, ginger, dried fish, prawns, tomatoes, garlic, peppers, and various spices. These ingredients are blended and cooked in vegetable or corn oil for a little over an hour to create the sauce. While the specific spices and types of fish can vary by region and village, the original recipe is credited to the Ga tribe.

In Ghana, this zesty sauce is enjoyed with a variety of dishes such as kenkey, steamed rice, garri, waakye (rice and beans), and banku. It’s versatile and can be used like a local ketchup, hot sauce, or chili oil. Some people even eat shito with white bread or spring rolls. Interestingly, in many Chinese restaurants in Ghana, shito is used instead of layou as a condiment for fried or steamed rice.

There’s also a ground version of shito that doesn’t always use black pepper and can be made without oil. This type includes fresh pepper, onions, tomatoes, and a bit of salt, all mashed together in a special earthenware bowl called an ‘asanka,’ using a pestle shaped like an hourglass. The resulting sauce can be either red (‘shitor tsulu’) or green (‘kpakpo shito’), depending on the color of the pepper used. It goes well with banku, akple, gari, kenkey, and steamed rice.

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Sophia Celestina Apenkro

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