Akyeke is a delicious Ghanaian dish made from cassava pearls (also known as cassava couscous or grated cassava) mixed with various ingredients to create a flavorful and refreshing salad. It’s a popular side dish in Ghana and can be enjoyed on its own or as an accompaniment to grilled or stewed meats. Here’s how to make akyeke:
- 2 cups of cassava pearls (cassava couscous)
- 1/2 cup of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated coconut
- 1/2 cup of diced ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 cup of diced red onions
- 1/2 cup of diced bell peppers (red and green for color)
- 1/2 cup of diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro or parsley (for garnish)
- 2-3 tablespoons of lime or lemon juice
- 1-2 Scotch bonnet peppers or habanero peppers (adjust to your preferred spice level), finely chopped (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Start by preparing the cassava pearls:
- If you’re using fresh cassava, peel it and grate it finely. Then, squeeze out excess moisture from the grated cassava using a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth. You want the cassava to be as dry as possible.
- If you’re using pre-packaged cassava pearls (cassava couscous), simply follow the package instructions for rehydrating them. Usually, this involves soaking them in warm water for about 10-15 minutes, then draining and squeezing out excess moisture.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the rehydrated cassava pearls with the coconut milk. Mix well to ensure that the cassava pearls are evenly coated with the coconut milk.
- Add the freshly grated coconut to the mixture and stir to combine.
- Add the diced tomatoes, red onions, bell peppers, cucumber, and Scotch bonnet peppers (if using) to the bowl. Gently mix everything together to distribute the ingredients evenly.
- Season the akyeke with lime or lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Start with a couple of tablespoons of lime or lemon juice, and then adjust to your taste preference. Mix well.
- Taste the akyeke and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more salt, pepper, or lime juice as desired.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate the akyeke for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together and the dish to chill.
- Before serving, garnish the akyeke with chopped cilantro or parsley for a fresh burst of flavor and color.
- Serve the akyeke as a side dish with grilled or stewed meats or enjoy it on its own as a refreshing salad.
Akyeke is a versatile dish, and you can customize it to your taste by adding other ingredients like diced avocado, chopped green onions, or even some roasted peanuts for extra crunch. Enjoy your homemade Ghanaian akyeke!