Woman preparing Fante kenkey (boiled maize dough)
Alternative names kɔmi pronounced (kormi),
Type Dumpling
Place of origin Ga people , Ghana
Main ingredients Ground corn
Cookbook: Kenkey  Media: Kenkey
Kenkey (upper right) with fried fish and pepper

Kenkey or kormi or Kokoe or Dorkunu is a staple dish similar to sourdough dumpling from the Ga, inhabited regions of West Africa, usually served with pepper sauce and fried fish or soup, stew. Areas where kenkey is eaten are Ghana, eastern Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, western Benin, Guyana (where it is known as "konkee"), and Jamaica. It is usually made from ground corn (maize), like sadza and ugali. It is also known in Jamaica as dokunoo, dokono, dokunu, (the Asante refer to the same dish as 'Dɔkono' pronounced as 'Dorkono'), blue drawers, and tie-a-leaf. In Trinidad it is called "paime" (pay-me) and differs in that it does not contain plantain but may include pumpkin and coconut. In the cuisine of the Caribbean, it is made with cornmeal, plantain, green banana, sweet potato (Asante and Jamaican version, which came from the Asanti version) or cassava, wrapped in banana leaves. The food is derived from African cooking traditions.[1][2] Unlike ugali, making kenkey involves letting the maize ferment before cooking. Therefore, preparation takes a few days in order to let the dough ferment. After fermentation, the kenkey is partially cooked, wrapped in banana leaves, corn husks, or foil, and steamed.[3] There are several versions of kenkey, such as Ga and Fante kenkey. The Ga kenkey is more widespread in most parts of Ghana.



Fermented cornmeal dough

Traditional method

In a large container combine the corn flour (or corn flour and grated cassava) with just enough warm water to dampen all of it. Mix well. Cover the container with a clean cloth. Set it in a warm place, such as a warmed oven or on top of the refrigerator, for two to three days. Fermentation may take longer than two days, especially in cool climates. (Note: a warmed oven is an oven that has been heated for a few minutes and turned off. The flour should ferment, not cooked ). When it is properly fermented, it should have a slightly sour, but not unpleasant, aroma, like rising bread dough. Overly fermented corn flour will not taste right.

Alternate method

Prepare the corn flour as described above, and let it ferment for about six hours. Then mix one tablespoon of vinegar into the wet corn flour.

Soak the dry corn in water. After three days, drain and wash the corn in fresh water. Grind it and add some water to make it into a dough with a smooth surface. Keep it in a warm place to ferment for two to three days before using it to prepare the kenkey. Before using it for the preparation, the moldy surface on top should be removed and discarded.

The water used in boiling the kenkey is used as a drink when a maize or corn husks is used as the wrapper for cooking the kenkey. This water is called "otinshi nu".

Note: Ready-to-use fermented cornmeal dough made especially for banku and kenkey may be available at African grocery stores and should be prepared according to package instructions.

See also


  1. Jamaican Cooking: 140 Roadside and Homestyle Recipes.
  2. "Regional Dishes". touringghana. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  3. "KENKEY". Ghanaweb. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
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