Sunday, June 5, 2022

Akasa / Koko (West African Corn Pudding)

Akasa (or koko) is a fermented corn pudding or porridge from Ghana, with variations in other parts of West Africa. This dish is often served for breakfast with evaporated milk and akara fritters.

PREP TIME5 minutes
COOK TIME20 minutes
TOTAL TIME2 days 25 minutes


For the corn dough

  • 2 heaped Tbsp cornmeal (untreated)
  • 3/4 cup water

For the akasa

  • 3 pods, Grains of selim/uda pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 200g or 1 cup of corn dough*
  • 3 to 5 cups of water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • Sugar (to taste)
  • Evaporated milk (to serve)


For the corn dough (if not purchasing already fermented dough)

  1. Mix the cornmeal and water together to achieve roughly 200g (1 c) of a thick, but wet corn dough. (Not runny, but thick and moist.) (Different cornmeal brands will need different amounts of water to reach the proper consistency.) Add more cornmeal or water as needed to achieve a good dough consistency.
  2. Cover the dough in an airtight container and let ferment on the counter for 2-4 days. (Use a shorter fermenting time if the ambient temperature is warmer. Longer if cooler.)

For the akasa / koko porridge

  1. Remove the grains of selim from the pods. Toast the grains and cloves in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Remove from the pan and grind with a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
  2. Place the fermented corn dough in a pot and mix well with a cup of cold water.
  3. Add 2 to 3 cups of boiling water to the mixture and place on high heat to bring to the boil. You will need to stir continuously or have a whisk on hand to get rid of any lumps that form. (Once the porridge thickens, you may add more water until your desired thickness has been achieved.)
  4. When the porridge comes to a rolling boil, add the salt and spices, then you may cover and allow to simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes.
  5. When the porridge is ready for serving, mix in your desired amount of sugar or sweetener, and top with a dash of evaporated milk. This porridge goes well with akara or beignets.