Hausa Koko

Hausa Koko recipe, in a bowl

The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings

The Hausa people, although they are found in a diverse number of countries extending from Sudan to Nigeria, have had a great influence on the food culture of West African street foods. One such food is a popular street food often eaten for breakfast. It is known as hausa koko, a soured and spicy smooth porridge. The sourness, resulting from fermenting the ground corn or millet, may be an acquired taste. However, after trying a few regional African cuisines, you will find that fermented products are enjoyed quite regularly.

All you need to do to create the fermented dough is add enough water to cornmeal or ground millet to make a thick dough, leave it out covered tightly with plastic wrap, and allow to ferment for up to 3 days. Once you have your fermented dough, follow this recipe.​

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fermented corn or millet dough

  • 3 cups water, divided

  • Pinch kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder

  • Sugar, to taste, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Hausa Koko ingredients, fermented corn or millet dough, water, salt, ground clove, ginger, chili, sugar

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Place fermented corn or millet dough into a medium pot.

    fermented corn dough in a medium pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Add 1 cup of cold water and crumble up fermented dough to make a smooth paste. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

    dough and water mixed together with a wooden spoon in a medium pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Add 2 cups of boiling water to pot and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. At this point, mixture may form lumps. Whisk lumps out to keep porridge smooth.

    dough and water mixture whisked together in a medium pot

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add a pinch of salt, ground cloves, ginger, and chili powder. Stir and allow to simmer for 10 minutes over low heat.

    chili, clove, ginger and salt mixed into the fermented corn mixture, in a medium pot, stirred with a wooden spoon

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

  6. When ready to serve, add desired amount of sugar, stir and enjoy.

    Hausa Koko mixture stirred with a wooden spoon in a medium sized pot, sugar in a small bowl

    The Spruce / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Tip

Traditionally, Hausa Koko is served with fried bean cake (koose or akara) or doughnut known as bofrot or puff puff.