Bankye is the indigenous name for cassava and Kaklo means fried – so you will notice these words throughout the recipes individually where a dish has a traditional name. Agbeli is the specific Fante name for cassava, hence Agbeli Kaklo. Made from grated cassava, this is one of Ghana’s favourite savoury snacks and has a wonderful crunch and texture. They are often eaten with grated or shaved fresh coconut.
500ml–1 litre (18fl oz–1¾ pints) vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 onion, finely chopped or grated (depending on the texture you would like)
sea salt, to season
2–3 red rocket (Anaheim) chillies, finely chopped, plus extra for serving (optional)
1 egg, beaten
fresh coconut, sliced or grated into thin shavings, to serve
Wash and peel the cassava, cut each down the middle
lengthways so that you can remove the stalky thread running through it, then grate on the smallest holes of a grater.
Place the grated cassava in a sieve and rinse thoroughly in cold water to remove the starch. Leave to drain. If necessary, gather the cassava up in a piece of muslin and squeeze out any excess moisture. Leave to air-dry a little while you heat the oil for deep-frying in a deep-fat fryer (the safest option) or heavy-based, deep saucepan filled to just under half the depth of the pan to 180–190°C (350–375°F) or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
Add the onion and sea salt along with the chillies, if using, to the grated cassava and mix well before combining with the beaten egg. Form the mixture into plum-sized balls, pressing firmly together to bind.
Fry the balls, in batches, turning intermittently to cook them evenly. Once the balls bobto the top and are a nice golden colour all over they are ready – this should take a few minutes per batch. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.
Serve warm with the fresh coconut and chilli slices, if using.
Photo credit: Nassima Rothacker
Book credit: Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen by Zoe Adjonyoh is published by Mitchell Beazley £25 (www.octopusbooks.co.uk). You can buy the book here in Australia and here in the UK.
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