Monthly Archives: September 2012

Abolo

Lembas Bread?

Is this Elvish Lembas Bread from Middle Earth? That’s the first thought that came to mind when I first saw abolo. Abolo is mainly found in the Volta Region of Ghana. The first time I discovered abolo was during my first visit to my site in the Volta Region. Our bus stopped just before the suspension bridge that passes over Lake Volta (the world’s largest man-made lake) in the Volta Region. When we stopped dozens of food sellers carrying a variety of different food on their heads rushed our bus. Luckily, I was travelling with my counterpart who knew the drill so didn’t panic. As I soon learned, most buses and trotros stop here to allow their passengers to by food. My counterpart bought some abolo and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Abolo is ground, soaked corn flour that is steamed or baked on leaves. It is prepared by adding sugar and water to ground corn to form a dough. The dough is allowed to rise overnight before it is wrapped in cornhusks and grilled, steamed or baked. The result is a sweet, sponge-like bread. I’ve seen two types of abolo. There is the thin variety that I first saw by Lake Volta. But I’ve also bought a thicker kind in Ho. I believe the flat one is grilled and the thick one is baked. To me the two types taste very similar.

Thick abolo. This type seems to be more common.

Although one bite isn’t enough to fill the stomach of a grown man, three abolos eaten with “pepe” makes a fine lunch (especially when a hard-boiled egg or dried fish is added). Pepe is just fresh ground red peppers, tomato, and oil. Pepe is eaten with many different foods, such a banku, kenky, koliko, etc. So it will come up again as I describe more foods in the future.