Dzowoe, Dzowey, Zowey or Adaarkwa is a spicy and sweet snack made from Peanuts or Groundnuts. It’s a popular snack across Ghana, Togo, Nigeria and Benin.
Ewes inhabit Southern Eastern part of Ghana, Southern Benin, South West of Nigeria and Southern Togo currently. The journey of Ewes to their current settlements is one that fills you intrigue and one that will make you appreciate their resilient nature. The Ewes are traced to the original settlement in the Oyo state of Western Nigeria and later to Notsie, Togo in the 17th century. Due to the harsh treatment of the Ewes, (with the help of the women weakening the walls , by the use of water) the Ewes were able to run free from their tyrant King Agorkoli. Due to this forced migration the Ewes settled across the coastal regions of Benin, Togo and the South East of Ghana.
When I decided to research the origins of Dzowoe, I was plied with conflicting and convincing stories and came to the conclusion of the Ewe Land been the originators of Dzowoe. I was particularly intrigued but not surprised when I heard Nigeria had a similar snack called ‘Donkwa’ by the Hausas in the Northen part of Nigeria.
Last year, I asked where Zowey originated from and the varied responses, including a few coupled with stories, gave a resounding response to the Ewes and Hausa’s of Ghana. Some of the responses included
Yawa Tsagli had this to say;
‘So my dad has answered. He’s my historian when it comes to our tribe
Dzowoe is purely an Ewe diet. Dzowoe was one of the few preparations our ancestors prepared as one of the seasoned food for warriors in battles who would not have time to prepare food.
Mariam Bugri-Caren said;
Growing up in tamale we always called it Dakuwa pronounced as it’s spelt Da-ku-wa. I struggled to find it in Accra but it was a common snack in tamale alongside kuli-kuli (a deep fried rolled peanut butter ring or stick- very crispy and a bit spicy but yummy)
Francesca Bakare said;
It is hausa, I grew up in the north and we sometimes use tigernuts to make it as well. The Hausa groundnuts pyramids were a wonderful sight until a couple of decades past and they had a lot of recipes using g/nuts in them. I believe in West Africa anywhere you see dakuwa you will find it has a Hausa settlement or tribe. In west Africa there are more things that connects us than separate us.
Been schooled about the Ewe language by Torgbui Yegblemenawo Kumahor 1.
The Name! “Dzowoe”; Thats again “Dzowor”, meaning: fire powder = spicy powder, since its pasty rather than powdery, The “r” in wor has to be replaced by “e” for fine tuning. #Anlo finetuning strategies. Nevertheless, its culture, its African and it has crossed borders.
However upon further research it turns out it’s also popular in Togo, Nigeria and Benin. It’s fair to then say ‘Zowey, Dzowoe, Dzowey, Adaakwa, Dakuwa, Donkwa etc is a West African snack first and foremost, which has been adopted by other cultures due to the migration.
Migration of tribes across the continent has influenced similar cooking methods, using of similar ingredients and the culture of most tribes. I love to know the history of most of our dishes as it gives one an indepth knowledge into our heritage. If you know more about the history of this snack, please share by leaving comments below.
This recipe makes for a mildly spiced Dzowoe or Zowey. However you can increase the amount of spices to your preferred heat level. I’ve also reduced the amount of Sugar required but , yet again you can increase the quantity to your preference.
Zowey is a gluten free snack packed with Peanuts, spices and Sugar. It’s incredibly easy to make and must be avoided if you’ve got nut allergies.
150g of Groundnut paste
150g of toasted corn flour (Tom Brown flour)
1 tablespoon of Cayenne pepper or 1 teaspoon of Chilli powder
1 tablespoonful of Ginger powder
Half a teaspoon of salt (optional)
Half a teaspoon of clove powder
1 tablespoonful of Sugar
Watch the full video including the method to make this incredible snack. Don’t forget to subscribe and share. Find more inspiring recipes on my YouTube channel, ‘Ndudu by Fafa’.