Ghana Shito

Ghana shito in a glass jar

I recently realised how easy it is to make shito using an African kitchen’s staples and I just had to share this with you. Shito (Ghana hot pepper sauce) is very popular in Ghanaian cuisine and is eaten as a sauce or condiment. In the UK, it is usually sold pre-packed in jars at African shops, but it is so easy to make at home.

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Shito is a delicious hot pepper sauce prepared with dried fish and prawns along with onions, chilli, garlic, and some spices. This dark coloured Ghanaian sauce has a rich umami taste which just makes everything taste better.

Ghana shito is a very versatile. In the local Ghanaian cuisine, it is used in ways similar to a chilli sauce or ketchup. It can be used as a side, dip or even dressing. It is traditionally eaten with kenkey, waakye, banku and many other Ghanaian dishes. However, it tastes amazing spread on bread, in a stir-fry or salad, stirred into pasta; on barbecue meat, fish or vegetables; anything really.

This Ghanaian sauce a rich, aromatic sauce with intense flavours; so, a little of it goes a long way to enhance food. It is a good way to eat flavoursome food on the cheap. I was thinking back to my student days and how shito sauce would have been useful for when I was broke! If only I knew about it then.

Ghana shito in a bowl. Pictures of dried fish and shrimp powder

How Long Will Ghana Shito Last

Water is not added to shito sauce blend; and the sauce is simmered in oil which allows the moisture to dissipate as the sauce thickens. This makes the water activity so low that the product could be kept at ambient temperature for some time and will last weeks in the fridge.

If you are keeping at ambient temperature, it is important for the sauce to have a layer of oil totally covering it. This is a traditional method of food preservation in Africa which was used before electricity and refrigeration.

How To Make Shito

Ghana Shito is traditionally very hot; hence why it is called Ghana hot sauce. However, you can make it to your preferred heat level by varying the chilli quantity. Mine is medium hot so everyone in my family can eat it, but you can add more or less chilli depending on preference.

I made this recipe with things I already had in my freezer and pantry, and didn’t have to do any shopping. This is the reason why I used green scotch bonnet. You can substitute red scotch bonnet or any other hot pepper for this recipe. 

It is important to stir the sauce often while cooking to prevent burning. In fact, a non-stick pot (if you have one) is better for this type of thick sauce.

If you do not normally use dried fish and ground shrimp in their cooking, you can find some to buy in Asian and African shops.

Other versatile sauces you should try are chimichurri and chermoula.

Ghana shito in a glass jar

Ghana Shito

Abi Olayiwola
Delicious, hot sauce from Ghana which also serves as a condiment. Shito makes everything taste better!
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Course Condiment, Dip
Cuisine African
Servings 12 servings
Calories 275 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable oil
  • 3 pieces Onions medium, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic peeled and cut into smaller pieces
  • 5 cm Ginger root (1/2 a thumb size)
  • 2 Scotch bonnet stalk removed
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup Dried fish pieces
  • 1/2 cup Ground shrimp
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cloves
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Cut the dried fish into smaller pieces, while removing the bones. Wash and soak in some water just before you start cooking. This will make it easy to blend later.
  • Heat oil in a pan (use a non-stick pan if you have one) under medium heat.
  • Add the onions into the oil. Stir until the onion slices are translucent, and just beginning to brown. This will take 10-15 mins.
    Fried onions in a pot. Ingredients for Ghana shito
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool. In that time, drain the fish and pour into a blender. Prepare the scotch bonnet and garlic. Add into the blender with the tomato puree and ginger root.
  • Add the onion and the oil into the blender and puree. Pour the blended mixture back into the pot and place on low heat.
    Ghana shito - Blended ingredients in a pot
  • Add the cloves and the dried shrimp with a dash of salt.
  • Allow to simmer gently, while stirring frequently to prevent burning. If it the sauce appears dry, you can add more oil.
  • The colour will change gradually and by the time the sauce is done, it will be quite dark. This will take around 20 mins.
    Ghana shito in the cooking pot.
  • Allow to cool and keep in a closed container. Refrigerate and use as needed.

Nutrition

Calories: 275kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 5gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 191mgPotassium: 94mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 227IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Ghanaian dishes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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4 Comments

  1. Ashifi

    August 24, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    5 stars
    A healthy, delicious and filling sauce that doubles as a condiment. Pairs very well with french fries and fried yams. Keep the recipes coming Abi!

    Reply
    • Abi Olayiwola

      August 24, 2020 at 9:11 pm

      Thank you very mich Ashifi.

      Reply
  2. Linda

    August 24, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    5 stars
    Will try your recipe. My method is a little different but I guess it will all come down the same… Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Abi Olayiwola

      August 24, 2020 at 9:09 pm

      You’re right, it is the end result that matters. thanks for stopping by Linda.

      Reply

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