Saturday, 12 September 2015

Meko (Hot Pepper Salsa)

One of the first sauces I learnt how to make as a child is Meko. Grinding meko and being able to make the tastiest meko was one of the first lessons you were taught in the kitchen. Once you passed this test, you then graduated on to learning the main dishes. I guess most Ghanaians of my age and older will identify with this! In actual fact the basis of most Ghanaian sauces and soups starts with meko. So being able to make this basic sauce was very vital to your cooking journey. It also equipped you to make the quickest and simplest no cook meals.

So what's all this meko, that I'm talking about? It's basically a pepper, onion and tomato salsa! Actually when I first came to live in London and I got to know about salsa, I thought, oh yeah, but this is our meko! Ghanaians, however grind all the ingredients in an Asanka which basically an earthenware mortar with a wooden dumbell like pestle. In these modern times, people choose to make meko with a food processor rather than Asanka. I tell you people, it's not the same. You don't get the same taste and texture. Grinding helps the oils from the ingredients to infuse and blend together to produce a lovely aroma and taste. So if you've been taking a shortcut in making meko, you've been missing out on the real deal! Below is how to make the real deal.

  • ¼ Piece of Small Onion (preferably red onion or shallots)
  • Piece of Pepper to your taste (any type such as Scotch Bonnet Pepper, Kpakposhito (Pettie Belle)) 
  • ½ Thumb size Fresh ginger
  • 1 Medium size Tomato on the Vine
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Maggie Cube (Optional)


1. Peel the onions and ginger, for easy grinding dice onions and thinly slice ginger and put it in the Asanka. Alternatively, a mortar and pestle (usually used for grinding spices) can be used.

2. Add the pepper and salt. Grind all together until smooth.

3. Cut up the tomato, include the seeds and grind it into the pepper mixture.

4. Grind in the Maggie if using. But be careful to reduce the amount of salt or omit it totally.

5. Serve the Meko with fried yam and fish, kenkey, garri (cassava flakes), grilled fish, rice , fried ripe plantains, roasted plantains or anything you fancy.

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