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from: Western Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering


Caakiri (or Chakery, Chakrey, Thiacry, Thiakry, Tiakri) is a snack or dessert from Western Africa. It is similar to the rice puddings of the Middle East and India. Today it is most often made with Couscous (which is made from wheat semolina), but traditionally it was made with similar products made from African grains such as fonio and millet, or maize, or even black-eyed peas. The word Caakiri refers to the grain from which the dish is made, as well as the finished dish itself. It is interesting to speculate that modern Caakiri, a sweetened snack or dessert made from grain and fermented milk, might be directly descended from a similar unsweetened dish that once might have been more of a main course, but, with the passage of time and with the increased availibility of other foods (including sugar), has evolved into a snack or dessert dish. There are many kinds of fermented milk foods and beverages in Africa and they may or may not be the same as the yogurt and other milk products which are used in this recipe. This recipe is similar to the Docono recipe from Countess Marcelle Morphy.

cattle in mali

What you need

What you do

And remember: cousous looks like grain -- but is really pasta, made from flour and water.

See the directions for making your own couscous from millet or sorghum flour, on the Couscous page.

Mungo Park

A dish made of sour milk and meal, called Sinkatoo

Beginning in 1795, Mungo Park explored the course of the Niger River for the British African Association. His description of an encounter with the ubiquitous African porridge is described in Travels in the Interior of Africa (London: A. and C. Black, 1903), a collection of his writings.

July 20th [1796] And hearing that two Negroes were going from thence [the village of Doolinkeaboo] to Sego [Ségou, or Segu, Mali, a town along the Niger River], I was happy to have their company, and we set out immediately. About four o'clock we stopped at a small village, where one of the Negroes met with an acquaintance who invited us to a sort of public entertainment, which was conducted with more than common propriety. A dish made of sour milk and meal, called Sinkatoo, and beer made from corn was distributed with great liberality, and the women were admitted into the society--a circumstance I had never before observed in Africa. There was no compulsion, every one was at liberty to drink as he pleased; they nodded to each other when about to drink, and on setting down the calabash, commonly said berka (thank you). Both men and women appeared to be somewhat intoxicated, but they were far from being quarrelsome.
(Rare Adventures)

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