African Food, Literature, Lifestyle

Shitor | The Ultimate Ghanaian Condiment

Shitor | The Ultimate Ghanaian Condiment

Pronounced shee-tore, this pepper sauce is a must for every Ghanaian household. We eat it with everything, and it’s perfect for those days when I don’t want to spend too much time slaving over sauces. It can be enjoyed with rice or root vegetables, accompanied by the meat of choice. Every household has a different recipe for shitor, some better than others. In the end, it hits the spot just the same. I didn’t have the privilege of attending boarding school while in Ghana, but my hubby often reminisces of his days as a school boy when he often relied on shitor with gari to sustain him when the hunger pangs hit.  Shitor, with it’s long shelf-life (if made properly), was placed in the trunks of boarding school-bound teenagers by their doting mothers. At least two large jars are accompanied with pounds of gari and cans of tuna. These three items are sufficient for a complete meal should students miss a meal in the dining hall for one reason or another.

I’m not a student, but my hubby and I will sometimes enjoy a communal plate of the ingredients above with some sliced avocado, tomatoes, and onion. I’m hungry now.

Shitor recipe:

1 lb dried shrimp

1 lb dried peppers, I used Chili de Arbol, which I purchased from my local Chavez Market

3 heaping teaspoons of chicken or beef buillon powder. I did not use a standard measuring spoon here. When I say teaspoon I mean a literal teaspoon. 🙂

1 large onion, diced

3 heaping teaspoons of tomato paste.

1/4 cup dried herring powder

8 to 10 cups of vegetable oil

7 Alligator peppers. You can find these at your local African market. They are not edible, and should be left in the shitor for it’s aromatic properties. Remove when serving.


Blend shrimps into a powder

Blend peppers into a powder

Dice onion

Add oil to large pan

Set stove to medium/high heat

Add diced onions to hot pan

Allow onions to fry until translucent, stirring frequently. About 10 minutes

Add tomato paste and stir

Add bullion powder

Add pepper powder

Add shrimp powder


Add enough oil to slightly cover sauce.

Turn down the heat to medium/low

Add dried herring powder

Tip: If shitor appears too grainy, blend with an emersion blender until smooth. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just fill your blender half-way and blend. Work in batches.

Add alligator peppers and allow the shitor to simmer for 40 minutes, or until the sauce turns entirely dark.

Spoon into clean, dry glass jars.


Shitor can be kept outside of fridge as long as there’s at least a 1/2 inch layer of oil on top. I usually keep mine in the fridge, though.

Enjoy and let me know how yours turned out.