Pass the Shito Please
"Pass the Shito, please."
That's what my luncheon companion said. I was having a business lunch with Kofi, a potential Ghanaian client, in a local restaurant in the city of Accra in Ghana, West Africa.
Kofi: “Would you pass the Shito, please?”
me: “Excuse me?”
Kofi: “The Shito . . . would you pass it to me, please?”
me: “The what?”
Kofi: (becoming exasperated) “The Shito!”
me: “That’s what I thought you said. What the heck is Shito?”
Ghana, West Africa
That was part of a conversation I had some years ago when I visited Ghana on a business trip. Are you wondering what Shito is?
Or more precisely, Foods with Strange Names.
The word, ‘shito,’ or ‘shitor din’ as it is sometimes called in the native language of ‘Ga’ in Accra, the capital of Ghana, is the name of a popular, hot, spicy chili pepper sauce.
To remind you, Ghana is a country in West Africa that is located on the Gulf of Guinea, west of Togo, east of the Ivory Coast, and south of Burkina Faso.
History of Ghana
The popular, widely used shito sauce is made primarily from hot black peppers, dried fish or prawns (large shrimp), tomatoes, garlic, and fish oil or vegetable oil.
Shito is as ubiquitous as ketchup or Tabasco in the United States. This hot, spicy chile condiment is served with everything and anything in Ghana, and often used as an ingredient in Ghanaian recipes.
Shito is also the preferred condiment in Ghana’s Chinese restaurants, and is proudly served with fried rice or ‘kenkey’ – a type of cornmeal dumpling.
Many customers eat shito with spring rolls or steamed rice.
• Combine all ingredients in large pot.
• Cook over high heat, stirring continuously, until ingredients are well mixed.
• Cover and allow to cool to room temperature.
• Transfer to clean, glass bottles with airtight tops.
• Store in refrigerator. Can be stored several months.
• Serve with everything … and anything.
Since Shito is hot and spicy, you might need something cool to quench your thirst.
Order an ice cold Pee Cola. I kid you not. Ignore the familiar but somewhat repellent name.
Pee Cola, bottled in Accra, is a very refreshing cola drink. The name means ‘very good cola.’
Would you like to make your own Shito?
Here are the ingredients you need for this spicy sauce:
• one cup dried shrimp or prawns (ground or pounded)
• one to two cups dried hot chile peppers – black, red or green (or use red pepper flakes)
• one finely chopped onion
• two tablespoons tomato paste (if desired)
• four cups vegetable oil
• one teaspoon salt
. . . Or do it the easy way and order Shito Spicy Sauce from Amazon.
Shito Spicy Sauce
Ghana Fun Facts
• Population of Ghana: 27 million (2014).
• Originally known as the Gold Coast, Ghana gained its independence from Great Britain and was renamed in 1957. The name, ‘Ghana,’ means warrior king.
• Chief exports are gold, cocoa, oil, bauxite, aluminum, manganese ore, diamonds, and tuna.
• Oil was discovered off the coast in 2007 producing about $1.6 billion in revenue annually.
• After the Ivory Coast, Ghana produces the second most cocoa beans as well as those of the highest quality.
• Ghana has the second-largest gold deposits in Africa, after South Africa.
• Lake Volta is the world’s largest man-made lake. It is 250 miles long and covers 3,283 square miles, or 3.6% of Ghana’s area.
• Tantalizing unique foods are ‘fufu,’ a delicacy made from pounded cassava or yams, and ‘Red-Red,’ plantains served with fish.
• The former Secretary-General of the U.N. was Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat.
• The official language of Ghana is English.
• In Ghana, women are now starting businesses in greater numbers than men.
Here is an authentic Ghanaian proverb that U.S. citizens would do well to remember when the 2016 presidential election rolls around:
‘An army of sheep led by a lion can defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.’
And a proverb of mine: ‘Life is so short. Smile while you still have teeth.’ – drbj
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."