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Tips for cooking the perfect African porridge

Recipes By Derrick Oluoch

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Preparing porridge is not any different from the preparation of other simple dishes. Like with every other dish, to get the perfect porridge, you need to pay attention to details and, of course, use good ingredients.

If you get the process right, you will readily end up with a creamier texture without necessarily having to add cream to your porridge. For the perfect African porridge, you can consider these tips:

  • The flour: You can use any of the porridge flours with various components from the supermarkets. However, millet flour (wimbi) is ideal for African porridge. Other than its unique taste, it cooks into a nice smooth millet porridge (uji wa wimbi n Swahili).
  • Using milk: If you cook your porridge with milk or a combination of milk and water, you might want to avoid using lemon juice. The milk and lemon juice mixture gives the porridge an awkward consistency.
  • Sweetener: You need to sweeten your porridge by adding enough sugar, as suits you. Other than sugar, you can consider other delicious alternatives such as honey, agave syrup or coconut sugar.
  • Observe the ratios: For the perfect consistency, you need to get this right. You only need two spoonful porridge flour for two cups of porridge, and one full cup of flour would make you ten cups of porridge.
  • Lemon juice: Nothing makes the African porridge taste as good as fresh lemon juice does!
  • Caution! Always serve your uji wa wimbi warm, not hot. Hot porridge can cause serious burns to your mouth.

Preparing the African porridge

What you’ll need:

  • Millet porridge flour (100g)
  • Water (1250ml. You’ll need about 250ml to mix the flour)
  • Milk (optional)
  • Sugar (Ideally 3 tablespoons)
  • Lemon Juice (2 tablespoons)

 

What to do:

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  1. In a small bowl, add the flour and 250ml cold water. Mix until it combines into a smooth texture. You can use a whisk or a fork spoon, and ensure there are no lumps.
  2. In a saucepan, add 1000ml water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simultaneously, stir the boiling water and slowly add the flour-mixture from step one. You can use your right hand to stir the boiling water while slowly adding the mixture with your left hand.
  4. Continuously stir for about one minute until you obtain a creamy consistency. You can use the wrong end of your wooden spoon to stir.
  5. Allow the porridge to simmer for about five minutes on low heat. If you prefer, you can add the milk.
  6. Add the lemon juice and sugar and simmer for another minute and your porridge is ready!
  7. Pour in a mug or a bowl and allow to rest so that it cools a little before eating.

 

Toppings you can put on your porridge

It doesn’t have to stop at nailing the actual porridge, you can go the extra mail and get inventive with some toppings.

Unlike the oat porridge, the traditional millet porridge is normally left without additives but you can always tweak it a little by throwing in some toppings.

Here are some options of toppings you can consider; you can sample some of these combos and let us know your favourites in the comments section:

  • Crushed nuts and organic marmalade
  • Chia seeds and natural yoghurt
  • Grated apple, walnuts and sliced red grapes
  • Blueberries, honey, toasted nuts and yoghurt
  • Peanut butter, cocoa and fresh raspberries
  • Banana, almond and cinnamon
  • Grated apple and blackberries

 

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