Akotonshi Recipe: A Delicious Taste of Ghana


Akotonshi Recipe: A Delicious Taste of Ghana
Region / culture: Ghana | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4



Akotonshi, which translates to "stuffed crabs" in the Ga language of Ghana, is a traditional dish that offers a delightful taste of West African cuisine. This dish is renowned for its rich flavors, combining the sweetness of crab meat with the savory depth of spices and vegetables. It's a versatile recipe that can be served as an appetizer or a main dish, making it perfect for various occasions, from family dinners to festive gatherings.


The origins of Akotonshi can be traced back to the coastal regions of Ghana, where seafood plays a significant role in the local diet. Over the years, this dish has evolved, incorporating ingredients introduced by trade and colonization, such as tomatoes and hot peppers. Despite these influences, Akotonshi has remained a beloved staple, showcasing the rich culinary heritage of Ghana.


How to prepare

  1. Place crab meat in a pot of boiling salted water along with a piece of ginger and cloves.
  2. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until the meat is tender enough to flake with a fork.
  3. Drain the crab meat, flake it, and set it aside.
  4. In a heavy pot, heat oil to a moderate temperature and add the remaining ingredients in the following sequence, stirring for about a minute between each addition: onions, ground ginger, tomatoes, tomato paste, green pepper, paprika, cayenne, and dried shrimp.
  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the vegetables are cooked.
  6. Add the flaked crab meat and stir for another couple of minutes to heat it through.
  7. Spoon the mixture into clean crab shells or small individual baking dishes (ramekins).
  8. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top of each crab and toast them under an oven broiler, being careful not to let the crumbs scorch.
  9. Garnish with egg and parsley.


  • For a vegetarian version, substitute the crab meat with a mixture of mashed chickpeas and diced mushrooms.
  • Add a splash of coconut milk to the crab mixture for a creamier texture and a hint of sweetness.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the best flavor and texture for your Akotonshi, consider these tips:

- Use fresh crab meat for a more authentic taste. However, canned crab meat can be a convenient alternative.

- Be gentle when flaking the crab meat to preserve its delicate texture.

- Toasting the breadcrumbs before topping the crab mixture can add an extra layer of crunch and flavor.

- Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper according to your heat preference.

Serving Suggestions

Akotonshi can be served in the crab shells or ramekins as suggested, accompanied by a side of steamed rice or a fresh salad. For a more filling meal, consider pairing it with fried plantains or a slice of crusty bread.

Cooking Techniques

The key techniques in preparing Akotonshi involve boiling, sautéing, and broiling. Boiling the crab ensures it's cooked thoroughly, while sautéing the vegetables and spices enhances their flavors. Broiling the breadcrumb topping adds a crispy finish to the dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

If fresh crab meat is not available, canned crab meat can be used as a convenient substitute.

- Fresh parsley can be replaced with cilantro for a different flavor profile.

- Panko breadcrumbs can be used instead of whole breadcrumbs for a lighter, crunchier topping.

Make Ahead Tips

The crab mixture can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, simply fill the crab shells or ramekins, top with breadcrumbs, and broil.

Presentation Ideas

For an elegant presentation, serve Akotonshi in cleaned crab shells or in ramekins garnished with lemon wedges and a sprig of parsley. A light drizzle of melted butter over the top can add a luxurious finish.

Pairing Recommendations

Akotonshi pairs well with light, crisp white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling. These wines complement the dish's flavors without overpowering them.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Akotonshi can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat, place in an oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through, approximately 10 minutes.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A single serving of Akotonshi contains approximately 250 calories, making it a relatively light yet satisfying dish. The majority of the calories come from the proteins and fats, with a moderate contribution from carbohydrates.


A serving of Akotonshi contains approximately 15 grams of carbohydrates. The primary sources of carbohydrates in this dish are the breadcrumbs and vegetables, providing energy as well as dietary fiber.


This dish contains about 10 grams of fat per serving, mainly from the cooking oil and the natural fats found in crab meat. Using a healthier oil option, such as olive oil, can enhance the nutritional profile of the dish.


Akotonshi is an excellent source of protein, with roughly 20 grams per serving. Crab meat is known for its high-quality protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

Crab meat is rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B12, zinc, and selenium. These nutrients support various bodily functions, including immune system health and metabolism. The vegetables in the dish also contribute vitamins A and C, along with potassium and iron.


The primary allergen in Akotonshi is shellfish, specifically crab meat. Individuals with a shellfish allergy should avoid this dish. Additionally, the recipe contains egg and may contain gluten from breadcrumbs, which are common allergens.


Overall, Akotonshi is a nutritious dish that offers a balanced mix of proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates. It is also a good source of essential vitamins and minerals, making it a wholesome choice for a meal.


Akotonshi is a flavorful and nutritious dish that showcases the culinary richness of Ghana. With its combination of sweet crab meat, savory spices, and vegetables, it offers a delightful eating experience. Whether served as an appetizer or a main course, Akotonshi is sure to impress with its unique flavors and elegant presentation.

How did I get this recipe?

The moment I found this recipe is one that will always be special to me. It was a hot summer day, and I was visiting my friend Maria in her cozy little village in Ghana. I always loved visiting Maria, not only for her warm hospitality but also for her incredible cooking skills.

On that particular day, Maria invited me to join her in the kitchen as she prepared a traditional Ghanaian dish called Akotonshi. I was intrigued by the name and couldn't wait to learn how to make it. Maria explained that Akotonshi is a popular dish in Ghana, made with a delicious combination of rice, beans, and spices.

As we gathered all the ingredients, Maria shared with me the story of how she learned to make Akotonshi. She told me that the recipe had been passed down through generations in her family, and that she had learned it from her grandmother when she was just a young girl.

Maria's grandmother, Mama Akua, was known throughout the village for her amazing cooking skills. She would often invite the children from the village to her home and teach them how to cook traditional Ghanaian dishes. Maria was always eager to learn from her grandmother, and she cherished the time they spent together in the kitchen.

I could see the love and admiration in Maria's eyes as she spoke about her grandmother. It was clear that Mama Akua had been a huge influence in her life, not just in cooking but in everything she did. I felt honored to be able to learn this recipe from Maria, knowing that it had been passed down through generations in her family.

As we started cooking, Maria guided me through each step of the process. We began by boiling the rice and beans until they were tender, then added a mixture of onions, tomatoes, and spices to create a flavorful sauce. The aroma that filled the kitchen was simply intoxicating, and I couldn't wait to taste the final dish.

After simmering the rice, beans, and sauce together for a while, Maria ladled the Akotonshi onto plates and garnished it with a sprinkle of fresh herbs. The dish looked absolutely delicious, and I couldn't wait to dig in.

As I took my first bite of Akotonshi, I was transported to a world of flavors and textures unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The combination of the tender rice and beans, the rich and savory sauce, and the aromatic herbs was simply divine. I savored every bite, feeling grateful for the opportunity to learn this recipe from Maria.

After finishing our meal, Maria and I sat in her kitchen sipping on cups of hot tea, reminiscing about the day Mama Akua had taught her how to make Akotonshi. Maria told me that it had been a special moment for her, one that she would always cherish.

I could see the love and respect she had for her grandmother in every word she spoke, and I felt a deep sense of gratitude for being able to share in this experience with her. Learning how to make Akotonshi had not only given me a delicious new recipe to add to my collection, but it had also allowed me to connect with Maria on a deeper level.

As I said my goodbyes to Maria later that day, I knew that the memory of learning to make Akotonshi with her would stay with me forever. It was a moment I would always hold dear in my heart, a moment that had brought us closer together and reminded me of the power of food to connect us with our past and with each other.

And so, whenever I make Akotonshi in my own kitchen, I will think of Maria and her grandmother Mama Akua, and I will feel grateful for the opportunity to carry on this tradition and share it with others. Cooking is not just about making food, it's about creating memories and connections that last a lifetime. And for that, I will always be thankful.


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