Spiced Millet Flour Porridge


My mom walks through the tiny kitchen, settles in front of window and looks on forlornly at the pouring rain.
“It’ll all come down today and clear up in time for church by tomorrow” she says hopefully,
“Oh and maybe we’ll get a little sunshine; I’d love to go for a little walk down the beach before lunch tomorrow”

It’s a grey and cloudless wet Saturday morning and I don’t have the heart to tell her that it’s doubtful the rain would stop by tomorrow, not according to the forecasts. I also feel like I need to prepare her; I’m tempted to tell her about the time it rained for 30 days straight!
It reminds me of something I read recently; ‘The rain falls like we fall in love; refuting all predictions’.

“What are you making?” She asks peering closer at the stove, away from the rain.
Hausa Koko” I tell her. “Good, good, it’s exactly what we need on a morning like this” she says.

Eyes back towards the window, she tries with a bit of cheer in her voice “Did I ever tell about the oranges I grew in my garden?”

IMG_3373 IMG_3369

I know the rain makes her miserable, and she wishes she was someplace else… but not yet – there always seem to be one more something keeping her here, one more Dr.’s appointment, one more test, one more checkup, a new concern, a new trial…

“The oranges the Hausa Koko woman helps you pick?” I ask and she gets into a story I’ve heard at least a dozen times.

Hausa Koko is a traditional porridge made from millet flour and spices; credited to the Hausa people among whom millet is a dietary staple, it’s a very popular Ghanaian street food.
On most mornings, it’s sold on street corners, and by women (and men) who carry them throughout neighbourhoods.

The good thing is, you can just as easily make this porridge at home too, even when home is thousands of miles away from where you started out. All you need is millet flour and a few spices from your pantry.
In stores that carry African food, you’ll probably find packets of premixed Hausa Koko.

Spiced Millet Flour Porridge (Hausa Koko) IMG_3356

You already know that I love millet; for its subtle nutty flavour, resilience and nutrition, and this porridge is sweet and spicy, creamy, aromatic, with a slight nuttiness from the millet.
The heat from the spices; ginger, cloves, chilli pepper, cinnamon and cardamom is also subtle, but use as little or as much as you want.
The spices aren’t that much of a deviation from the traditional, yet the warmth and depth of flavour from this porridge feels just right for autumn.

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