Ghana – Shoko Beef Stew

by Verdzekov Bernard

Shoko is a west African beef stew. This beef stew is prepared with a leaf called Alefu found in west Africa and tomatoes. Shoko is a borrowed Yoruba name. it did not originate from Ghana. Shoko soup is eating with boiled ripped plantains or with rice, garri or cooked fufu corn. this is dish is usually very spicy. It is prepared with so many ingredients. But when you look at Shoko source out of African or in European countries, it is less spicy. That is because of the lack special other ingredients. This takes us back to our definition of a cuisine. A cuisine is a particular traditional cooking habit often associated with a particular culture. Usually, with traditional cooking local ingredients are usually used. This local ingredient which are used often represent the culture from which the people come from and at times the name of the cuisine. Shoko stew is that perfect example of a local cuisine.


  • Onions 
  • Red chill pepper 
  • Garlics (5gloves)
  • ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • Fresh ginger
  • Green bell pepper
  • Alefu leaves
  • Black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon of brown sugar 
  • ½ cumin seeds 
  • ½ coriander seeds
  • Peanut oil 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Beef
  • Maggi 
  • Salt to taste 


  • Some times when so many ingredients are being used, this discourages some people to prepare dish. They start thinking how the have to look for the ingredients, and some will even try to look and don’t fine because this ingredient is mostly found but in African market. Not out fault thou.
  • Cut your beef and keep aside. This is eatable slices.
  • Grate your onions with grater and keep aside.
  • Grind your coriander seeds and keep aside. This soup demands it fresh.
  • Grind your cardamom and keep aside, grind your cumin seeds and keep aside, grind your black pepper and keep aside.
  • Cut your garlics. Cut into very tiny pieces. Don same for the ginger and red chili pepper, green bell pepper.
  • Put oil in pot, turn on heat and allow it to heat up.
  • With your brown sugar, cardamom and pepper, sprinkle some on the meat and put in the heated oil. When it is brawn, remove and put in strainer.
  • Fry your onions, garlics in same pan. If you need to add oil, add some. Fry until oil is translucent. 
  • Add tomatoes with all your species of chopped pepper.
  • Add beef and all remaining spices.
  • Stir so well. you may need to add water if sauce becomes too thick. Reduce heat.
  • Chop your Alefu leaves and boil well. Drain and add into the cooking sauce. Stir well. 
  • Add your salt to taste. Add maggi and stir well. taste to make sure it is tasteful. Close pot and allow for about 10-15min for ingredients to blend well. Add water if you want it soupy or watery. But that’s not necessary. Open pot and stir from time to time. Taste when 15min elapse before you serve.
  • Serve with fufu corn, or boiled ripe plantains or cooked garri or boiled rice. 



If you lack Alefu leaves, you could use spinach as a replacement. Make sure you remove all stems from the spinach leave, place in a pot with salted water. Boil for about 5min remove squeeze and add into main cooking pot with all other ingredient. Maintain process as seen above.

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