Kenkey (Ground Cornmeal)


  • 6 to 8 cups cornmeal
  • Banana leaves or cornhusks, available at African, Asian, or Latino groceries (or aluminum foil may be substituted)
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 cup water (for boiling)


  1. In a large container, combine the cornmeal with just enough warm water to dampen all of it; mix well.
  2. Cover the container with a clean cloth and set it in a warm place for 6 hours (normal fermentation takes 2 to 3 days).
  3. After the time has passed, add vinegar to cornmeal and mix well.
  4. Knead the dough with your hands until it is thoroughly mixed and slightly stiffened. Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.
  5. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Slowly add half of the dough and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly and vigorously. Remove from heat.
  6. This half of the dough is called the aflata .
  7. Combine the aflata with the remaining uncooked dough half; mix well.
  8. Divide the entire dough mixture into serving-sized pieces and tightly wrap the pieces in the leaves, husks, or foil.
  9. Place the wrapped dough on a wire rack above water in a large pot.
  10. Bring to a boil and steam for 1 to 3 hours, depending on their size and thickness.
  11. Serve at room temperature


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