Three Delicious Delicacies, North of the Niger

Northern Nigeria is very well-known for its gruels, staple fufu and soups.

Tuwo Masara served with Miyan Karkashi (2019)The Centenary Project

The joy of cooking and eating Kunun Gyada, Miyan Karkashi and Tuwo Masara

Northern dishes are some of the simplest but most traditional delicacies in Nigeria. Although they are mostly found in the northern states of the country, they also have a fairly large following in the south.

Kunun Gyada and its preparation ingredients (2019)The Centenary Project

#1: Kunun Gyada

Kunun Gyada (often pronounced as "Kunu Gyada") is a northern Nigerian gruel (light porridge) made with raw groundnuts and rice. Literally, "Kunun Gyada" means "groundnut drink". It is similar to akamu, pap or ogi, which is consumed across all regions of the southwest of the country.

Groundnut grains, 'Casa' (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 1: Getting your ingredients right

First up are the peanuts (casa).
Raw groundnuts, known as casa in Hausa language, are a major ingredient used in the preparation of Kunun Gyada. Only the groundnut milk is used to prepare the gruel. The milk is extracted using a sieve after soaking, peeling and grinding the groundnuts.

Rice grains, 'Shinkafa' (2019)The Centenary Project

Here comes the rice: shinkafa

The rice used in preparing Kunun Gyada is a local short grain rice known as shinkafa. The rice is also used in preparing the staple Hausa fufu called "tuwo shinkafa".

Groundnuts grains and rice grains mixed in a tray (2019)The Centenary Project

Adding raw grains and sugar

Uncooked short grain rice, raw groundnuts and sugar are the only necessary preparation ingredients for Kunun Gyada.

Groundnut grains and rice grains soaked in water (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 2: Soak for 30 minutes

Shinkafa and casa are soaked in warm water for about 30 minutes. This way, the groundnuts are easier to peel and the rice, easier and faster to blend and cook.

Kunun Gyada, grain based beverage (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 3: Mixing it all together

A bowl of rice is divided in two halves; the first half is boiled, while the other half is ground. One can choose not to grind the local rice, only soaking it and cooking it directly with the groundnut milk and sugar.

Kunun Gyada poured into a glass cup (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 4: Boiling the mix and serving

After 30 minutes of boiling the rice, the ground rice is added with the milk from the raw groundnuts. In 5 minutes, the mixture is ready and sugar is added.

Kunun Gyada can be taken alone as light porridge or as an accompaniment with kosai (beans cake), masa (rice cake) or fried meat.

Miyan Karkashi and dried cayenne pepper in a soup bowl (2019)The Centenary Project

#2: Miyan Karkashi 

Miyan Karkashi is a delicacy popular in the north-east and north-central states of Nigeria. "Miyan" means soup in Hausa language while "Karkashi" is a vegetable that is dried and ground into powder. When cooked, it has a thick, sticky consistency.

Close up view of smoked dried fish, 'Bushe Shen Kifi' (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 1: Getting your ingredients right

I. Bushe Shen Kifi

Smoked-dried catfish, known as Bushe Shen Kifi, is a major protein ingredient for Miyan Karkashi, alongside meat.

The locals dry fish on fire in order to preserve it and increase its lifespan.

Dried cayenne pepper, 'Kayan Yaji' (2019)The Centenary Project

II. Kayan Yaji

Dried cayenne pepper is known as Kayan Yaji in Hausa. For Miyan Karkashi, the peppers are ground into powdered form.

Preparation ingredients for Miyan Karkashi (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 2: Meat on the pan

To prepare Miyan Karkashi, meat is seasoned with salt, stock cubes and dry cayenne pepper (ground) and steamed in a saucepan for about 10 minutes.

Step 3: Adding peppers and boiling for 5 minutes

The smoke-dried fish is added with ground fresh pepper (scotch bonnet pepper) and left to boil with the meat for 5 minutes.

Step 4: Adding Karkashi powder and leaves

Although the powdered form of Karkashi leaves can be used to cook, the raw leaves can also be pounded directly to prepare Miyan Karkashi.

Step 5: Whisking to perfection

The powdered form of Karkashi is added gradually with a pinch of potash, kanwa, and the mixture is whisked to increase the viscosity of the soup.

Tuwo Masara (2019)The Centenary Project

#3: Tuwo Masara

The Hausa word "Tuwo" refers to any of the staple traditional Hausa foods made from either corn, rice, or millet flour, while "Masara" is the Hausa word for corn. 

A bowl of white corn grains 'Masara' (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 1: Getting your ingredients right

Corn grains (masara)

Corn grains are portioned and sold in small bowls or recycled tin containers at the local farmers' market.

Corn flour in a dark blue plastic basin (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 2: From grain to flour

The corn grains are ground in a mill. First, the machine grinds it into flour. Then, for a smoother texture, it is sieved to take out seed coats.

Tuwo Masara wrapped in a cellophane bag and corn flour in a soup bowl (2019)The Centenary Project

Step 3: Kneading

The corn flour is cooked in boiling water and kneaded in the same pot into a stiff dough. The resulting meal is Tuwo Masara, which is portioned into small cellophane bags for serving.

Tuwo Masara and Miyan Karkashi (2019)The Centenary Project

What will it be?

Tuwo Masara can be eaten with Miyan Karkashi. But there's a wide range of soups that can also be eaten with it, including Miyan Shuaka, Miyan Zogale, Miyan Ridi, Miyan Wake, Miyan Tapasa and Miyan Taushe.

Happy couple at lunch, eating Miyan Karkashi served with Tuwo Masara (2019)The Centenary Project

Finger-licking delight

Tuwo Masara is traditionally eaten with the fingers. One can, however, use a fork or spoon if desired.

Credits: Story

Curator: Patrick Enaholo / Olúwafisáyọ̀ Ọkàrè
Research: Olúwafisáyọ̀ Ọkàrè
Photography: O'Buchi Multimedia
Text: Olúwafisáyọ̀ Ọkàrè
Text editor: Munachim Amah

© The Centenary Project

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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