Ga Kenkey (Steamed Fermented Corn Dough) Recipe

Make this popular ferment from Ghana, which is similar to polenta and steamed in corn husks.

| June 2019


Ghana’s popular steamed fermented corn dough ball is commonly called kenkey (or dokono, dokon, kokui, tim or komi.) Kenkey is Ghana’s challenge to polenta and comes in numerous versions. Most common are the Ga and Fante styles. I first lived in Nungua along the coast of Ghana where Ga kenkey predominates, so that is my preference. In contrast, Fante kenkey is unsalted, steamed in plantain leaves rather than cornhusks, and shaped differently. Ga kenkey is made from a starter dough like that used for banku. However, while banku is very soft, kenkey is steamed (or sometimes boiled) to make a much firmer ball that can be sliced or served whole.

Ghanaians abroad often substitute aluminum foil or plastic wrap for the corn husks, but the foil and wrap do not allow the balls to steam properly and you lose the wonderful delicate flavor imparted by the corn husks.

Makes about 4 servings (4 balls).


  • 3 cups of corn flour fermented into corn dough
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 16 (depending on size) dried corn husks for wrapping the dough (available where Latin ingredients are sold)


Prepare corn husks:

1. Before preparing the dough for steaming, put the dried cornhusks in a bowl of warm water to soften for about 30 minutes or until they are pliable. Push them under the water to make sure they are covered.

Prepare the "aflata":

2. In a 3-quart saucepan mix 2 cups of water with half of the dough and the salt. Cook the mixture over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon or paddle, being careful not to scorch or burn it. The dough will thicken in about 5 minutes, and by 10 minutes will be quite thick. If it gets too thick and hard to stir, add a little water around the outside of the pan to warm, and then stir it into the dough. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the uncooked portion of the corn dough, mixing them together well.



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