Banku with tilapia fish is an authentic and very popular dinner recipe from Ghana. Today, I will make a quick banku recipe with delicious stuffed tilapia fish and a homemade hot pepper sauce with fresh sliced vegetables.
My recipe takes less than an hour to make and is incredibly easy! And you can serve it alongside some other authentic Ghanaian dishes like this Classic Ghanaian Salad recipe.
What Is Banku And Tilapia Made Of?
Banku and tilapia fish is one of the best traditional dishes from Ghana. It can be found virtually everywhere, with each region having its own variations. However, the two main elements always remain the same.
This dish consists of banku (a type of corn and cassava flour dough) and cooked whole tilapia fish. The fish is then topped with either a type of stew or hot pepper sauce before being garnished with some fresh sliced vegetables.
Let’s first start with banku, as it is likely the more unfamiliar element between the two.
Banku is a type of dough made from slightly fermented cooked corn dough and cassava dough. Now, you may be thinking that the fermentation process equals a ton of time. And you’re not entirely wrong.
But we won’t be making banku from scratch today. Instead, I have developed a quick and easy recipe using pre-prepared ingredients you can find at most African grocery stores and markets. If you cannot find any fermented products, the regular ones will do just fine. They just won’t taste exactly the same.
Banku has a very fermented flavor profile. It is slightly sour and has tangy undertones. It is a very soft and elastic dough that you can break into pieces and eat by hand.
Tilapia And Sauce
Next, we move on to the whole tilapia fish. You can prepare this fish in any way that you’d like. You can grill it, bake the entire fish, and even pan-fry it. The fish should always be completely cooked and simplistically flavored.
And finally, I will make a pepper sauce with this banku and tilapia recipe. I chose a classic Ghanaian pepper sauce recipe that is easy to make yet packed with flavor. And I’ll be topping the dish off with some freshly sliced red pepper, green pepper, and red onion.
Tips And Tricks To Make My Banku With Tilapia Fish
- When buying your tilapia, ask the fishmonger to prepare the whole fish for you. It involves gutting the fish, cleaning the inside, scaling the outside, and removing the fins. You can do this process at home, but it is pretty messy and takes some time. Fresh whole fish is always better, but it comes at a price.
- The exact roasting time for the tilapia varies greatly on the size of the fish and the temperature you are using. Generally, the rule of thumb is to bake the fish for 15 minutes per pound plus an additional 10-15 minutes. That is why I suggest testing the internal temperature after 18 minutes instead.
Are banku and fufu the same thing?
Both of these dishes are similar in texture. But, they couldn’t be more different. Banku is a fermented corn and cassava dough that is cooked after being mixed. Fufu is a boiled cassava dough that is never fermented. Both are considered to be a type of swallow. You can also try my Amala recipe if you like this category of food.
How do you know if the fish you buy is fresh?
There are many signs that the fish you want to buy isn’t fresh. The first rule to always follow is that when it smells like fish, the fish is bad. Then, you should also always check that the fish doesn’t have any bruises, discoloring, bloody eyes, and torn skin. Instead, fresh fish have clear whole eyes, fresh unblemished skin, no bloody parts or runny juices, and it is odorless.
Is banku with tilapia fish healthy?
Banku isn’t very low in calories. It contains about 100 calories per 1/4 cup. However, that doesn’t mean that its nutritional composition isn’t healthy. For example, if you need some carbs, banku is a great option as it contains 22 grams of carbs per 1/4 cup.
More Delicious Recipes
Banku With Tilapia Fish – An Authentic Traditional Recipe
For the hot pepper sauce
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1-2 scotch bonnet peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 1 can tomatoes, unseasoned
- Fine salt, to taste
- 1-2 tbp granulated white sugar, to taste
For the banku
- 2 Cups corn dough
- 1 Cup cassava dough
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 1.5-2 cups water, room temperature
For the tilapia
- 1-2 whole tilapia fish, gutted, cleaned, and scaled
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Handful Fresh herbs of your choice (parsley, dill, or thyme work well)
- 2 lemons
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced
For the hot pepper sauce
- First, preheat your oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Line a baking or roasting tray with non-stick baking paper.
- Start by making your pepper sauce. Combine all of the ingredients (except for the salt) inside a blender or food processor. Then, pulse the ingredients until they are chunky. Do not blend them!
- Remove the chunky hot pepper sauce from the blender and place it inside a small sauce pan. Then, bring the sauce to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes. Adjust the flavor with salt and sugar until you like it.
- Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
For the roasted whole tilapia
- To start, if you haven't already, prepare the whole tilapia. Make sure the inside is clean and that the scales and fins are removed. Then, pat the fish dry before you garnish and roast it.
- Place the tilapia fish inside the roasting tray. Then, score the surface of the fish by making two or three incisions on each side.
- Next, brush the entire fish well with olive oil. It includes both sides as well as the cavity of the fish.
- Then, spread the minced garlic inside the cavity and stuff in the fresh herbs. Next, slice one of the lemons and place the slices on the herbs inside the fish.
- Squeeze some lemon juice over the surface of the tilapia. Finally, add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper on onto both sides of the fish.
- Roast the tilapia for 15-25 minutes, depending on its size. The internal temperature of the tilapia should be 145ºF (62ºC).
For the banku
- While your tilapia is roasting, make the banku. Start by mixing together the corn dough, cassava dough, and salt in a saucepan or pot.
- Once mixed, place it over high heat and allow it to cook. As it cooks, add some more water and stir continuously. Keep adding water until the mixture comes together. It shouldn't be firm, but it should be solid dough.
- Lower the heat to medium-low. Add a lid on the pot and allow the banku to steam for 5 minutes.
- Then, remove it from the heat and give it one final stir. Then, place large scoops of banku dough into a damp bowl and roll it until it is shaped nicely.
Assemble the banku with tilapia fish
- To serve this dish, first, place the roasted fish on a large serving platter. Then, drizzle some more lemon juice over it. Place the banku balls around the fish, or serve it separately.
- Drizzle some hot pepper sauce over the cooked tilapia and garnish it with sliced vegetables and more herbs.