Corn/maize was introduced to Africa from Latin America by the Portuguese, mainly to provision their slave ships. The grain was quickly accepted because it grew rapidly and undemanding in cultivation. The name 'maize' comes from 'mahiz', the word used by the Caribbean Taino Indians from whom the Europeans probably first learned about the crop. In North American the English settlers were shown it by local Indians. 'Corn' was a general name given to any grain, so they called it simply 'Indian corn'.
Columbus noted that maize was "most tasty boiled, roasted or ground into flour". And in southern Ghana today a common food is 'kenkey', fermented corn/maize flour balls, wrapped in corn/maize leaves and steamed. Akpith, this recipe, is more straightforward.
Directions: =========== In a large saucepan, boil the water and then in half of the corn/maize meal and all the soy flour to make a thick porridge. Add the baking powder, chili powder if using and sugar; season.
Cook this for 10 minutes over a low heat, stirring constantly. Then remove the pan and set aside to cool for 10 minutes or so.
At this point, mix in the remaining corn/maize meal and combine thoroughly, adding water to produce a stiff dough.
Now pour enough oil into a pan or wok to give a depth of around 2 inches (5 cms), and heat up. While it is warming mould the dough into balls about 1 inch (2.5 cms) in diameter.
With the oil sizzling hot, slide 4 or 5 balls carefully into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are golden brown.