Sugar? I declined the offer as the beautiful lady begun filling a small plastic bag with the silky and creamy porridge 'Hausa Koko'. She span the tip of the bag and made a tight knot, as she placed the porridge and freshly fried Koose wrapped in paper into a carrier bag. She handed me over my purchases whilst asking the next customer, how much they wanted to purchase?
This is a normal occurrence when purchasing 'Hausa Koko' in Ghana, as it's a communal affair. You'll find most mornings (just like in most cities), people rushing to work and their demand for a quicker service; hence when one requests a big order, it does cause irritation and there's no room for indecisiveness.
In most places, you'll find customers enjoying their bowl of the porridge in a Calabash, as they bite into the fried spiced bean fritters, 'Koose' or 'Akara' that accompanies the porridge.
Most Ghanaian dishes are gluten free, alkaline and Hausa Koko is no exception.
Hausa Koko is a popular Ghanaian, street food porridge made from Millet (Bajra seeds) and spices. As the name suggests, it's synonymous with the Hausa's of Ghana and it's readily available across the country. Achieving the perfect consistency, texture and creaminess of the porridge can be daunting and it puts people off from making it at home. This recipe will inspire you to make it at home.
Traditionally, the porridge is made using indirect heat, available on my YouTube channel, 'Ndudu by Fafa'. The recipe omitted the African Nutmeg and included a few red chillies, as I used what I had available.
Another recipe requires hot boiling water, been added to the smooth Millet paste and stired till thickened. I find that process delivers a somewhat raw taste to the porridge , which isn't pleasant.
I prefer this recipe as it's quicker , takes the raw taste away and you achieve the silky, smooth and creamy consistency of Hausa Koko without the use of cream or milk.
Millet (Bajra seeds) are alkaline, which means it's easy to digest. It hydrates your colon, it's gluten free, helps lower and maintain a good cholesterol level (Vitamin B3) , a good source of protein to mention but a few.
You can find Millet seeds from most African and Asian grocers across the U.K.
The spices used for the porridge gives the porridge its distinctive flavour. The inclusion of the said spices adds warmth and an aromatic flavour to the dish. In the absence of Guinea Peppers, Grains of Selim and the African Nutmeg, use 1 red chilli, 10 Cloves and Ginger instead. Let's start cooking...
200g of Millet soaked overnight
20g of peeled Ginger
1 teaspoonful of Black Peppercorns
2 African Nutmegs
1 teaspoonful of Guinea Peppers or 2 small Red Chillies
400ml of water
Half a teaspoon of salt
Wash the Millet under cold water in a colander and transfer it into a blender.
Add the Cloves, Ginger, Guinea peppers, African Nutmeg, Black Peppercorns and Water to the Millet. Blend everything into a silky smooth consistency.
Using a colander, strain the chaff out of the Millet smoothie into a bowl. Rinse the chaff with an extra 50ml of water into the bowl.
Leave the Millet juice to settle in the bowl for a minimum of an hour or preferably overnight for a slight fermentation.
Carefully strain the water off the settled Millet juice into a saucepan, leaving the Millet paste aside.
Bring the Millet water to a rigorous boil and set the heat to the lowest setting.
Using a wooden spatula, stir the Millet water gently and add the Millet paste. Stir vigorously for 2 minutes and take the saucepan off the heat.
The porridge traditionally is made using indirect heat, which you can find on my YouTube channel, 'Ndudu by Fafa'.
Another recipe only requires hot boiling water added to the smooth Millet paste, which sometimes has a raw taste.
I prefer this recipe as it's quicker and you achieve the silky, smooth and creamy nature of Hausa Koko.
For a lighter consistency, add about 70ml of hot water and continue to stir further.
Cover the saucepan with its lid to trap in the heat for about 5 minutes. Stir the porridge which should have thicken up by this stage and serve immediately with Koose or Pinkaso.
Find more inspiring recipes on my YouTube channel, 'Ndudu by Fafa' and don't forget to subscribe and share.
All photos and recipes are by the owner of this blog.