#NoFoodWahala: Baked Kelewele

To me, kelewele is the spicy aroma that fills the warm Accra night breeze. As soon as I land in the city, my first stop is for some kelewele on the way to my accommodation. I am never too tired for kelewele.

If you are not Ghanaian or not acquainted with any Ghanaians, you may wonder what kelewele is. Let me tell you. It is the quintessential Ghanaian street food. Cubes of ripe plantains are marinaded in a variety of spices and deep-fried. 

So what makes kelewele so delicious and addictive? Perhaps it is the combination of the sweet and spicy – the sweetness of the ripe plantains mixed with the fragrant sharpness of ginger, cayenne pepper and other spices. 

The ingredients of kelewele: ginger, plantains, cloves, cinnamon and selim pepper
Just some of the ingredients that make kelewele such a delicious dish

What’s more, you can feel good about eating plantains. After all, it is considered a superfood – high in fibre as well as containing a variety of vitamins and minerals including magnesium and potassium. The spices are good for us too. For example, cinnamon can cut the risk of heart disease and lower blood sugar. What more could we ask for? 

The bad news is that eating lots of fried food isn’t good for us. It can increase our risk of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes. Did I mention kelewele is deep-fried?

But does this mean that we have to miss out on all our favourite foods like kelewele? Not necessarily. One of my hobbies is creating healthier versions of my favourite dishes. So instead of frying kelewele, I choose to bake it. 

Would you like to find out how I do it? Watch this short video. 

Ingredients

  • firm ripe plantains
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • onions
  • scotch bonnet
  • cayenne pepper
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground hwentia (aka selim pepper/negro pepper)
  • ground cloves
  • spray oil
  • baking parchment

Method

  1. Cut the plantains into small cubes.
  2. Season with salt, ground black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, hwentia and cloves.
  3. Blend the ginger, garlic, onions and scotch bonnet in a blender and add to the plantains. Let the plantains sit for an hour. If you live in a hot country, you may want to put the plantains in the fridge during that time. Do not leave too long or the plantains will become soggy.
  4. Preheat the oven to 220C, 425F or Gas Mark 7.
  5. Lay the baking parchment over the baking tray and grease it with spray oil. Spread out the marinaded plantain cubes on the parchment paper, and spray some oil over it.
  6. Put the tray in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning the cubes over halfway through to ensure that both sides are brown. Serve while it is hot.

Have you tried making healthier versions of your favourite dishes? Leave us a message below or tell us on Twitter and Instagram @ChronicCareMatters using #ChronicCareAfrica

Syerramia Ohene

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Mr Salifu Manneh

MANCHESTER METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY/DIRECTOR FOR MOBEE GAMBIA MENTAL HEALTH PROJECT | UK/GAMBIA