Sampa’s Akyeke - Irresistible, affordable much patronised delicacy
Akyeke is a local delicacy highly patronised at Sampa in the Jaman North District capital in the Bono Region.
Prepared from fermented cassava pulp that has been grated and steamed, it is the most delicious, energetic and easy to get food at Sampa and its adjoining communities.
The meal is widely prepared in the area, making it gain so much popularity than other foods such as fufu, banku, yoo-ke-gari (gari and beans or GOBE) and waakye.
Every corner one passes at Sampa, particularly the Sampa main station and market, one is sure to catch up with an akyeke vendor or joint.
In Ghana, akyeke is eaten mainly among the Nzemas and people living on the borders with Cote d'Ivoire.
An Akyeke lover at Sampa, Emmanuel Sie, told the Daily Graphic that the akyeke prepared in the area tasted so good and better than what could be found in other areas thus making it to become popular and one of the fastest growing businesses in the area.
A GH¢10 plate of akyeke
The dish, which is uncommon in other parts of the region, is usually served with grilled tilapia or any other fried fish, as well as salted dried tilapia (koobi), boiled eggs, meat, fried ripped plantain, avocados and spaghetti with oil and salt.
In addition, akyeke can be eaten with vegetables such as spicy pepper garnished with sliced green pepper, cabbage, tomatoes, onions and boiled beans, as well as roast groundnut.
Other sections of the public also prefer eating akyeke with stew, soup or ground pepper and tomatoes.
Also, it is up to the akyeke lover to choose between palm oil (red oil) and other cooking oil.
With as little as GH¢3, one can buy a plate of akyeke, but without any of the vegetables or other preservatives.
However, with GH¢10, one can get a plate of the dish with all the vegetables, including the fried plantain and roast groundnut with either fish, egg or meat.
It has become a favourite meal for many residents at Sampa and its surrounding communities, including high profile personalities and visitors.
Residents, particularly vendors said they adopted the meal from neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire because the district shared its borders with that country.
A vendor, Fustina Fofie, told the Daily Graphic that the meal was popular and a traditional dish for the people in Cote d’Ivoire .
A bowl of akyeke
She explained that she learnt how to prepare the meal in Cote d’Ivoire after she completed senior high school.
Ms Fofie said one could also use fermented grated cassava and fried cassava to prepare akyeke.
She said some of the other vendors still imported the dish from Cote d' lvoire to sell in the area.
Explaining how the meal is prepared, she said the process was very simple and was not different from preparing gari.
Ms Fofie said they peel and wash cassava thoroughly and grate it, after which they drained excess liquid from the grated staple.
She said the grated cassava is left to ferment and later dried in the sun for close to an hour.
She said a splatter guard is placed on top of boiling water with salt and placed on a ring baking pan mould, then the dried grated cassava is poured onto the splatter guard and stirred continuously to avoid lumps.
Ms Fofie said the final cooking was done by steaming the pulp for about 25 minutes to get it ready for serving, adding that if not prepared well, the taste could be affected.
An akyeke lover and a taxi driver who plies the Sunyani to Sampa route who only gave his name as Sie, said the dish tasted great when eaten with all the accompaniments.
He explained that he felt good all the day after eating akyeke prepared at Sampa.
Comparing akyeke to yoo-ke-gari, he said yoo-ke-gari was more expensive than akyeke, adding that akyeke was delicious and nutritious because of the combination of vegetables.
Checks showed that akyeke is rich in carbohydrate, contains no gluten and is a good diet for people suffering from celiac disease or gluten intolerance.
The dish is digestible because of its high starch content, which makes it easily digestible and also regulates problems of diarrhoea or irritation of the colon.