Around the World in 80 Plates: Ghana

Ghana is a country on the West Coast of Africa, and has rolling hills, beaches, and a lot of interesting and delicious foods. Fufu, little yummy balls of cassava or yucca root, is eaten by everyone, like potatoes are in the United States. They also eat fish, rice, snails (yum!), sweet potatoes, chicken, goat, and have a really different set of household spices, because they grow different things in Ghana than we do in the US. They have a lot of variety in their foods because of all the people that live there, and have moved there from other far off places in the world. They have hot seasons and rainy seasons because the hot air from the Sahara blows south, and the wet, tropical air from the southern region of Africa blows north, towards the equator.

They play a lot of soccer in Ghana, though they call it Football like the Europeans that taught them the game a long time ago. Their mens’ and ladies’ football teams play well and win all over the world, and the kids in Ghana practice and play with their friends. They even have Football Academy, where you can go learn all the skills you need to play really really well.

A staple food in Ghana, which means nearly everyone eats that food, are plantains, which are a cousin to the banana. You can find plantains in Asian or Latin markets most often in the United States. In Ghana they eat plantains a lot, and one way to use them is as a dessert after a spicy meal.

Called akwadu in Ghana, and other nearby countries, baked bananas flavored with orange juice, coconut, peanuts and cinnamon are a sweet, easy to make, and exciting way to cool off after a spicy meal. This is also an easy way to add fruit to your dinner, and if there is extra, use it to top a plate of whole wheat pancakes or waffles in the morning!


4 medium ripe bananas, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
½ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soft margarine, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ shredded coconut
½ cup low-fat lemon Greek yogurt*
2 tablespoons chopped peanuts, for garnish


Before you begin: Wash your hands.

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Arrange bananas side-by-side in a 9-by-9-inch baking dish.
  3. Combine orange juice, lemon juice and margarine in a small bowl. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend well.
  4. Drizzle orange juice mixture over bananas, then baste to coat bananas. Sprinkle with coconut.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes until sauce is bubbling and bananas are softened but keep their shape.
  6. Serve warm. Spoon sauce over bananas. Top with yogurt and garnish with peanuts.

Cooking Note

  • As another option, serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Nutrition Information

Serves 4

Calories: 260; Calories from fat: 90; Total fat: 10g; Saturated fat: 3g; Trans fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 5mg; Sodium 100mg; Total carbohydrate: 43g; Dietary fiber: 4g; Sugars: 26g; Protein: 4g

Roberta Duyff, MS, RD, FAND, is author of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Complete Food and Nutrition Guide and 365 Days of Healthy Eating.

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