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Shito is something everyone here who makes it has their own special recipe, like Americans all having their own secret recipe for BBQ sauce or chili. Shito does not need refrigeration, but if you want you can keep it there. It does need at least a half-inch layer of oil on top, for it to keep well. Mothers will send jars of shito with their children when they are sent off to boarding school. It goes with just about anything - fried yam or potato, hardboiled eggs, samosas, springrolls, fried fish, meat, beans, etc. -- anything you like spicy.

Here is the list of ingredients:

1 cup ground red chili pepper (cayenne)
3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups ground dried shrimp
2 cups ground smoked herring

1 1/2 cups onion puree
2 medium-size tomatoes, pureed
1 cup tomato paste
salt to taste
1-2 cubes of Jumbo or Maggi seasoning, preferably shrimp flavor (this is optional!)
...and the instructions:

Be sure to use a pan with a heavy bottom, so the sauce won't burn.

Add oil to the pan and heat it. Add onion and tomato ingredients and fry the mixture for about 10 minutes, being careful not to burn it. Add the dry ingredients into the pan, stir well, and continue cooking it for an additional 30 minutes. Add salt to taste.

The finished sauce should be a rich dark reddish-brown color and have a thick texture, not at all runny. Some of the oil may separate out and that is fine. When cooled, put the sauce into a clean glass jar and cover. Make sure about half an inch of oil stays on the top, covering the paste. This sauce keeps indefinitely and does not need refrigeration.


  • refined palm oil is used here in Ghana, especially Obaapa or Frytol brands are good.

** You can use any size dried shrimp, tiny to big, and if you buy them already ground it saves time. If you start with whole dried shrimp, grind them finely in a mortar or use a blender/food processor to do it for you.

*** Smoked herring refers to small or tiny dried fish, just about any kind.

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