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Monday, March 28, 2016

3 Delicious Uses for Ground Sorghum

A pot of sorghum porridge makes for a good family breakfast.
After maize, sorghum is the second most grown and eaten staple crop in Lesotho. Considering that "sorghum is a powerhouse in terms of nutrients and can provide those wise individuals who add it to their diet with vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine, as well as high levels of magnesium, iron, copper, calcium, phosphorous, and potassium, as well as nearly half the daily required intake of protein and a very significant amount of dietary fiber," it is an excellent addition to any diet. (Organic Facts) It is safe to say that the sorghum portion of the Basotho diet is far more beneficial than the many forms of corn. Considering that few Americans know what sorghum is, I thought I would share three of the four most common ways the Basotho enjoy their sorghum. Perhaps you can find some at your local natural food store and test these out for yourself!

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. In Lesotho, many people start their day by enjoying a bowl of Lesheleshele, a porridge made of ground sorghum. People in rural areas typically make their porridge from homegrown sorghum. In more urban areas, people can buy regular ground sorghum or instant flavored mixes. The strawberry flavor is a vibrant pink.

Tomosa in an old ketchup bottle.
Lesheleshele is not the only porridge made from ground sorghum.  Motoho is translated by people as the sour porridge. Although most Basotho still sweeten it up by adding lots of sugar, it is still a stronger, tarter flavor than this simple porridge.

To make motoho, one begins with Tomosa or a starter (like yogurt and sourdough bread). Tomosa can sit in a jar for months without going bad. It is mixed with warm water and fresh sorghum powder, then sits for a day or two. Before cooking, it is important to bottle some of the fermented mixture to serve as tomosa next time.

From there, the remaining mixture is stirred into boiling water and allowed to cook for about half an hour, stirring occasional. More water yields a drinkable motoho, which is how many Basotho enjoy it. Less water yields a more porridge consistency, which is how I start many of my mornings.

Between the nutritional value of sorghum—it is really high in iron—and the probiotics that develop in the fermenting process, I am convinced this is truly the breakfast of champions, particularly when paired with Mafi-a fermented milk drink that is reminiscent of plain yogurt.

If porridge or breakfast is not for you, there is still space for iron-rich sorghum in your world. The same sorghum and tomosa can also be used to make joala—Basotho homebrew. Simply start the same way outlined above but instead of cooking your fermenting sorghum let the process continue a week or two. The longer it sits, the stronger your brew. It’s a thick drink but surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make.

As for me, I will stick with the healthy breakfast of motoho and either peanut butter or mafi!
Sorghum drying before being ground.

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