Hausa Spiced Porridge

Hausa Koko

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    2 to 3


Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

Porridge is a popular Ghanaian breakfast. While the basic Koko is often made from finely ground white corn flour, there is a spiced version from the North called Hausa koko, which is classically made from fermented millet or sorghum, though it may also be made from fermented corn. In Ghana it is often made with early pearl millet. Millet flour may be purchased from an African market, or substitute millet available in health food or international markets.

The grain is soaked, ground with ginger, chili pepper, cloves, and hwentia, and fermented, then cooked with salt and enough water to make a clear, thin porridge. It is possible to soak and grind and ferment one’s own millet and spices, but a simpler method is simply to buy millet flour and make an unfermented version using easily available spices. This is an American “make-do” version of Hausa koko.


  • 1 (½-inch) piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup millet flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • teaspoon dried ground red pepper (or to taste)
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper or ground hwentia (or to taste)
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt



  1. Put the ginger in a small blender with ½ cup water and pulse to puree. Set aside.
  2. Mix the millet flour in a saucepan with cups water using a whisk.
  3. Strain the pureed ginger mixture into the millet through a tea strainer, pressing a spoon or your fingers against the ginger to remove as much liquid as possible. Discard the dregs.
  4. Add the seasonings to the millet mixture and stir.
  5. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil (in a microwave, if available) and set near the saucepan.
  6. Over medium-high heat, bring the millet mixture to a boil, stirring a few times with a whisk to prevent lumps forming for the first 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium, and stir constantly. Within about 6 minutes, the porridge will come to a boil and thicken. Lower heat and continue stirring, and gradually add as much of the hot water as needed to achieve the desired consistency of porridge. Hausa koko is usually somewhat thin and very smooth.

To serve

This porridge is traditionally served with Ghanaian doughnuts (bofrot) or Black-eyed Pea Fritters (Akara). While eaten as a breakfast food and served to invalids since it is easily digestible, this also makes a warming, satisfying afternoon snack. Add sweetener and evaporated or any milk as desired.


For a milder version, substitute ⅛ teaspoon of dried ginger for the fresh ginger and use just a pinch of the cloves and peppers.