Spicy Plantain Balls

Kaklo / Kakro

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    12 to 24


Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Never throw out squishy, moldy black plantains. They are perfect for many things, such as this recipe, reminiscent of both Savory Plantain Pancakes (Tatale) and Ghana-Style Donuts (Bofrot/Togbei). Many Ghanaians choose these balls as a favorite snack or side dish, especially when served with a Fresh Pepper Sauce or Shito. They also pair well with Bean Stew (Red-Red). While the seasoning ingredients are similar to those for tatale, the texture is quite different. This recipe is from Flair.


  • 3 over-ripe plantains, or enough to yield at least 2 cups mashed
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated onion
  • ½ teaspoon dried ground red pepper
  • 1 rounded teaspoon grated or finely minced fresh hot chili pepper, variety of your choice, such as jalapeno (mild) or cayenne (medium) or substitute additional dried ground red pepper (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Scant ½ cup unfermented corn dough; or 1 cup toasted corn flour mixed with cup water
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • Vegetable oil for frying



Prepare the plantain balls

  1. Peel and mash the plantains to get a good 2 cups (a Ghanaian wooden mashing tool called an apɔtɔyewa or apotoriwa is perfect for this but you can used whatever tool you have in your kitchen).
  2. Sprinkle the grated onion, dried ground red pepper, fresh chili pepper, and salt over the plantains, along with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water.
  3. Add just enough water, a tablespoon at a time, to the corn dough to make it smooth, and add to the bowl with the plantains. Add the flour and baking powder, and stir well. If the dough seems very soft, add a little more flour; if it seems too dry, add a little more water.

Fry the plantain balls

  1. Heat oil in a heavy pan or deep fryer not more than half-filled to 360 degrees F. Do a temperature test: when the oil is hot enough, a small amount of dough dropped into the oil will quickly rise to the surface.
  2. When the oil is hot, slip a long-handled spoon into the oil to coat it, then scoop up a spoonful of batter (balls should be about 2-inches in diameter). Using another spoon (also coated with oil) quickly slide dough into the oil. Cook the kaklo in batches until they are quite browned on all sides. They will likely turn over as they cook, but use a long-handled slotted spoon to stir and turn them if needed.
  3. Use the slotted spoon to lift them out into a paper towel-lined colander to absorb the extra oil and cool.

To serve

Kaklo can be eaten warm or at room temperature.


  • Some earlier recipes omit the flour and baking powder. If choosing to do this, decrease the amount of water, or omit it altogether.
  • Some recipes include fresh ginger and some include a little sugar as an optional addition.