Sorghum and Pearl Millet Recipes

Towards adding value to and promotion of sorghum and pearl millet as convenience and conventional foods and drinks.

P O BOX 39063

((Former address: SADC/ICRISAT Sorghum and Millet Improvement Program (SMIP);
P O Box 776, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe))



Composite flour recipes
Baked bread…
Steamed bread…
Biscuits (cookies)

Non-composite recipes
Boiled Products
Sorghum/pearl millet rice…
Breakfast porridge…
Stiff porridge…

Flat breads

Non-fermented drinks-mageu…

Fermented drinks-commercial mixes…

Malt Drinks …
Opaque Beer/Local Beer …
Lager Beer …

Pop sorghum…

Composite Flour Recipes
Baked bread (20% sorghum/pearl millet: 80% wheat)

Ingredients: 136g sorghum/pearl millet flour
544g wheat flour
24g yeast
14g white sugar
60ml water for yeast mixture
340ml water for dough mixture
13g salt
12g margarine


Mix 24g yeast and 14g white sugar with 60ml water and leave this in a warm place for 10 min.
Place 136g sorghum/pearl millet flour, 544g wheat flour (i.e., 20:80 flour composite), 13g salt and 12g margarine, together with the yeast mixture and 340ml water into the bowl of a dough mixer.
Mix the dough well then remove it from the bowl and knead it on a lightly floured board for about 1 min.
Roll the dough into a ball, place it in a greased bowl, cover it with a damp cloth and leave it in a warm place to proof for about 1¼ hours, or until it has doubled in size.
Punch it down again and knead it for 1 min, then return it to the covered bowl to proof for a further ½ hour.
Punch it down again and divide the dough into two equal parts.
Knead the dough well to get rid of any trapped air, press the two pieces into half-loaf tins. Press down well to get a smooth top on the dough and to fill the corners of the tins with the dough.
Leave the dough to rise in the tins for 40 min, or until the dough has risen about 2cm over the top of the tin.
Bake the loaves in a preheated oven at 2100C for 25 min.
Recipe makes 2 x 500g loaves.
Steamed bread (30% sorghum/pearl millet: 70% wheat)

Ingredients: 30g sorghum/pearl millet flour

70% wheat flour
1.2g dried yeast or 1.8g fresh yeast
3g white sugar
60ml water
1g salt


Mix yeast and sugar with 20ml water and let stand in warm place for 3 min.
Mix dry ingredients together then add yeast mixture with remaining water, stirring for 1 min.
Knead dough on a lightly floured board for 3 min till dough is elastic.
Roll into a ball, place in a greased bowl, cover with a damp cloth and place in a proofing chamber.
Proof for 2½ hours at 340C.
Place a tray of warm water in proofing chamber to keep dough moist.
Punch down and divide the dough into two equal halves; knead and roll out twice.
Shape into smooth balls. Place in greased pie pans (bottom diameter 6.6cm, height 3cm, top diameter 8.1cm).
Leave to rise in proofing chamber for 50min or until doubled in size. Place panson trivet in a steamer and steam for 25 min.
Biscuits (Cookies)
Biscuits (50% sorghum/pearl millet: 50% wheat)

Ingredients: 99g sorghum/pearl millet flour

99g wheat flour
113g margarine
156g white sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla essence


Cream 113g margarine and 156g white sugar together, then beat in an egg.
Add 99g sorghum/pearl millet flour, 99g wheat flour (i.e., a 50:50 flour composite), ½ a teaspoon of baking powder, ½ a teaspoon salt, and ½ a teaspoon vanilla essence to the creamed mixture, and mix thoroughly.
Place this dough in the refrigerator overnight.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 6mm, and cut rounds from this using a pastry cutter.
Place these rounds of dough on a greased baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at 2000C for 10 min.
Recipe makes 35-40 cookies.

Non-composite Recipes
Boiled Products
Sorghum/pearl millet rice (100% dehulled sorghum/pearl millet grain)

Ingredients: 1 vol. dehulled sorghum/pearl millet grain

2½-4 vol. of water (depending on variety and preferences)


Boil or steam grain until tender (20-40 min)
When sorghum is used, it is often soaked in water overnight and cooked in the same water. Sometimes a fermentation occurs. The soaked grain is said to be whiter and to keep longer than grains not soaked. This is perhaps due to the slight fermentation. Soaking also reduces cooking time. In Kenya green peas are sometimes added to make what is called pilau.
Serve with meat, vegetable sauce, or stew.

Thin porridge

In many countries a thin porridge is traditionally prepared from wet milled pastes or dry milled flour using either dehulled or non-dehulled grains. Millet, because of the smaller grain size is less frequently dehulled. Sometimes the grains are roasted, bleached in tamarind water, or germinated prior to dehulling and grinding into flour. Porridge may be fermented or non-fermented and is frequently served for breakfast or to new mothers and young children. Very similar products can be made with composite flours of sorghum/cassava, sorghum/millet, and sorghum/millet/cassava.
The texture of thin porridge varies depending on flour particle size, and often a combination of finely and coarsely ground flour is used. Flour agglomerations may be added to alter the texture of the porridge. The flavor as well may vary depending on whether it is fermented or not, and whether the flour was made from roasted or germinated grain. Seasonings, sugar, sesame, lemon, or sour milk also affect the flavoor.
Quality. In general, a light color (white or red), smooth, free-flowing creamy consistency, and bland to sour flavor and aroma are preferred depending on the region and process used. Color preferences vary according to the color of flour. Dark, lumpy, grain, or watery products with a raw starch, bitter, rancid, or off-flavor (due to tannins in hull or undercut, or mould developed during storage) are not desired.
Breakfast porridge (100% sorghum/pearl millet)

Ingredients: I cup sorghum/pearl millet meal

3-4 cups water (adjusted to individual consistency preferences)
1 cup sour milk (water may be used instead)
2 tablespoons sugar


Mix flour with ½ cup water
Place in a covered container and let stand 24-48 hours in a warm place (for unfermented porridge this step is omitted).
Bring remaining water to boil and add the fermented flour.
Boil for 10-15 min until smooth and thick
Add sour milk, stir, and boil for 1-2 additional minutes (commonly an extra cup of water is added in step 3 and this step is omitted).
Sprinkle with sugar and serve hot for breakfast or lunch (serves 2-3).
Kenya: Uji wa mtama is often made with mixtures of 2 parts maize or cassava flour to 1 part sorghum or millet flour. The hulls present in sorghum or millet flour impart the desired product color. Millet is preferred.
Tanzania: Uji is often seasoned with sugar, salt, milk, or lemon juice. A very finely milled white flour is used.
Uganda: Obungi bwa kalo is made as above using about 4 cups of banana juice instead of the water and omitting the sour milk. Usually millet flour is used. Obushera is a thin porridge made from germinated grain. A malted coarsely ground sorghum flour (made by adding ash and water to the grain, germinating it overnight, washing off the ash, drying and grinding the grain) is often used. Porridge is frequently seasoned by adding a generous amount of sugar, orange or lemon juice, mashed banana, sesame paste, or milk. Edi is a non-fermented version of obushera.

West Africa: Ogi, Akamu, Kunu are made as above usually in fermented form
Stiff porridge-Sadza/Bogobe/Pap (southern Africa), Ugali (east Africa).
Stiff porridge is made in the same way as thin porridge but greater proportion of meal is used. The same comments about the flour used for thin porridge apply here. In some countries a finely milled flour is used; whereas, in others a coarsely milled flour or a combination of course and fine flour is preferred. The flour may be made from roasted, germinated, fermented and/or dehulled grains. As is the case for thin porridge, stiff porridge may be made from a combination of sorghum and pearl millet meal.

Ingredients: 20g sorghum/pearl millet meal

80g (80ml) water


Heat the 80ml water in a covered container (pot) until warm. Add a little sorghum/pearl millet meal to the warm water and stir continuously to avoid lumps, until boiling point. Let the thin porridge boil for 10-15min.
Add some more sorghum/pearl millet meal, a bit at a time, while continuing to stir until the porridge becomes thick.
Simmer under low heat for 10-15min for sorghum and 20-25min for pearl millet.
Serve hot with meat, green vegetables or stew for lunch or supper.
West Africa: Tuwo (Nigeria, Ghana), To (Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Guinea)
East Africa: Ugali (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania). It is also called by several other different names in tribal dialects throughout the region. The preparation is as in Sadza except that in western Kenya and Uganda, the sorghum is mixed with cassava and ground, in the ratio of about 1:3 (sorghum:cassava).

Flat breads
Injera (Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia,Sudan). This is a leavened, round flat bread.
A. Preparation of the dough

Ingredients: Sorghum flour 4.5kg

Ersho (starter) 500cc (fermented thin yellowish fluid saved from previously fermented dough.)
Water 2000cc


Using a traditional sieve, sift the flour into a large bowl to remove any foreign materials
Add 1 litre of water and knead well by hand.
Stir in the ersho (starter)
Add the rest of the water gradually and knead well
Transfer the dough into a previously used buhaka (dough container)
Cover and let stand for 48 hr.

B. Baking the Injera


Sorghum flour 1600g
Water 4200cc


Sift the flour into a large bowl
Heat 1700cc of the water to boiling
Pour the boiling water over the flour and mix well with a wooden spoon or smooth stick. Let the mixed batter stand until it cools to 550C.
Add to the fermented dough in the buhaka.
Add the rest of the water (2 liters) into the buhaka (dough container) and mix well.
Let stand until bubbles of air form (about 1 hr)
After a half hr start to heat the clay griddle metad.
Sprinkle ground rapeseed over the metad and polish with a folded piece of clean cloth. Dust away all the rapeseed flour and start baking injera.
To bake the injera, pour the batter onto the hot greased metad using a circular motion from outside towards the center to make a circular injera. When holes begin to form on top of the injera, cover with the akenbalo (injera griddle lid) and bake for 2-3 min. Use about a half liter of batter for each injera.
Grease the metad with rapeseed flour or oil between each baking. Repeat the process until the dough is used up.
The yield is 31 injeras each weighing 390g. Served with wot (stew made fromeither meat, pulses, vegetables or combinations).
Kisra (Sudan). This is a thin pancake-like leavened bread made from whole sorghum flour.


Sorghum flour 60%
Water 40%


Mix the flour and water to make ajin (thick paste)
Let the ajin to stand for 12-24 hrs to ferment.
Before baking, dilute the ajin to a thin batter by adding water at the rate of 50cc water to 100g paste.
The baking pan is heated and the rubbed with a damp oily cloth (usually sesame oil is used) before spreading the batter.
The batter is poured out of a small container along the length of the hot pan.
A gargariba (dry piece of palm leaf) dipped in water is used to swiftly spread the batter into a very thin layer using quick, smooth sideways movements. The kisra is ready in about 1min and ready to be peeled off. The pan is rubbed again with the oily cloth before spreading the next lot of batter.
Served with stews, relish or sauce or even with water and condiments (salt and chillies).
Unfermented and fermented beverages are often made using darker sorghum and pearl millet varieties. To make beer (alcoholic beverage), the grain is germinated, dried, pounded into flour, and mixed with water to ferment.
Non-fermented drink-mageu

Ingredients: 7kg milled sorghum malt

100 liters water


Mix 7kg milled sorghum malt with 100 liters water.
Keep at room temperature for 2-3 days, occasionally stirring. Add sugar if preferred.
Fermented drinks
Commercial mixes

Ingredients: 1kg beer powder (Kings Brew)

5 liters water


Warm 5 liters water and add 1kg Kings Brew powder, mix thoroughly. Cover mixture with a cloth and store in a warm place for 1 day.

Malt drinks
These are non-alcoholic beverages commercially brewed from malted sorghum, commonly available in Nigeria and other West African countries.

Alcoholic Drinks
All types of these are brewed using malted sorghum or millet or a mixture of these, with cereal adjuncts, and fermented to desired alcoholic contents. They are brewed locally in the household, in cottage industries, or large-scale breweries.

Opaque Beer (southern Africa)/ Burukutu / Pito (West Africa): unfiltered cloudy beers

Lager Beer: filtered clear beer, usually bottled
Snack Foods

Pop Sorghum

Ingredients: 50g sorghum grain

5ml cooking oil


Heat the cooking oil in a covered container (pot) until smoking hot. Add the sorghum grain and let it pop at low heat until grain is popped.