Recipe: Eat Shito

4 Min Read

Shito or black pepper is one of Ghana’s most loved sauces. Served as a condiment, this sauce adds something fiery to any meal and at times becomes the main event whether it is eaten as rice and shito, gari (dried cassava grain) and shito, bread and shito, kenkey and shito, well, you catch my drift. Last Christmas, I made a big batch of shito, along with scotch bonnet chilli jam, packed it into jars and gave it out as handmade gifts. If you run out of ideas for valentines day, then this could be a gift to keep the fire in your relationship going.  Oh and by the way, I know the name “shito” might crack you up just as much as it did my friends in Australia. Well, it tastes great so just shut up and eat shito!


500ml of vegetable oil (um, yeah, not fat-free, this is a condiment) 2 onions 3 inches of ginger (you can’t overdo it) 4 cloves of garlic (as much or little as you like, mama would skip altogether) 1 tube tomato paste (200g) 4 fresh ripe tomatoes 3 x 40g packets ground dried shrimp, fish or crayfish (availability) 2 tbsp dried chilli flakes 1 tsp each smoked paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander (all optional)

salt to taste

Spices – cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes


1. Finely chop the onions, ginger and garlic. Me, I just blitz them in my chopper! Fry these in the oil. Remember this shito is a condiment and can be kept for 6 weeks, so it is important that all moist ingredients are fried dry.

2. Add the tomato paste and fry for a couple of minutes to get rid of the sour taste. Add your blended or blitzed tomatoes. You will find that it fries to a thick rich paste but you need to give this time to release all the moisture and keep stirring to prevent burning.

3. Add the dried ground ingredients. The sauce will rapidly take on the rich brownish black colour due to the added prawns or crayfish. Lastly add the spices, these are already dry. Check for seasoning at this point. I normally do not add salt before this point because sometimes the fish/prawns are already salted. Allow to cool. The full-bodied flavour sets in after cooling.

Shito – Ghana black pepper sauce

Enjoy as an accompaniment a spoon at a time. Store in a re-used glass jar; jam or pasta sauce jars are perfect.

Freedes, the author of the Afro Cosmopolitan Diet blog, My Burnt Orange, is a wife, a mother, and a professional electrical engineer who loves to cook dishes from across Africa and beyond. Freedes is working on a new African Cuisine site on the platform which can be found at She is also passionate about supporting and encouraging women of African descent in science, engineering, technology and business and believes that women will play a pivotal role in driving Africa’s development forward.

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