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Northern Nigerian Rice Cakes (Masa) With Peanut Sauce

Eunice loves to cook food from her native Nigerian cuisine and share her recipes with others.

Masa, or rice cakes, are a Nigerian delicacy

Masa, or rice cakes, are a Nigerian delicacy

A Northern Nigerian Delicacy

Rice cakes (masa) are a northern Nigerian delicacy, particularly among the Hausa tribe. Made with rice and just a few other ingredients, this dish is easy and inexpensive to prepare. It is nutritious, delicious and filling, and its fluffy goodness can be enjoyed alone or paired with a sauce.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

16 hours

1 hour

17 hours

3 servings


For the rice cakes:

  • 2 cups short grain rice
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
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For the traditional peanut sauce:

  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 4 tomatoes, blended
  • 1 scotch bonnet, blended
  • 1 red onion (or several shallots), sliced
  • palm oil
  • fresh kale, sliced
  • meat of choice
  • salt
  • crayfish (optional)

Instructions: Rice Cakes

  1. Soak the rice for 8 hours (or overnight).
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of boiled rice to the now drained rice and blend. Add water to the rice while blending to achieve a creamy consistency (but make sure it doesn't become watery). Don't worry about making it a fine blend; it should have a grainy feel to it.
  3. In a small bowl, proof the yeast by mixing it in warm water and sugar. Leave it for a few minutes.
  4. In a very big bowl, mix the blended rice with the yeast and optional baking powder. Cover it and let it rest for 6-8 hours. (The reason for using a big bowl is to avoid spillage. The mixture should rise quite a bit and then fall during the course of the 6-8 hours.)
  5. After the 6-8 hours, add a pinch of salt and stir. Check for taste; ensure that it's sweet enough for you. You can add more sugar if you like.
  6. Put a little oil in a pan or skillet. Pour in a portion of the rice mixture. Let it cook for a few minutes; then turn it over to the other side. The procedure is same as making pancakes. The rice cakes should come out fluffy and light, like pancakes.
  7. Serve with hot sauce, maple syrup, or the traditional peanut sauce.

Instructions: Traditional Peanut Sauce

  1. In a pan, fry the peanuts a bit (unless you are using already-fried peanuts). Once the peanuts have been fried, grind them.
  2. Parboil the meat and make a meat stock.
  3. In a pot, add palm oil and turn on the heat. Add the sliced onion or shallots and tomatoes. Fry for some time.
  4. Add the meat, stock and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil, then add pepper, soy sauce (optional) and salt to taste. Add ground dried crayfish (optional) but it adds flavor to it. Any other seasoning is optional.
  5. Add the ground peanuts and allow to boil for about 5 minutes. Add the sliced kale or any leafy vegetable of your choice.

Note about roasting peanuts: If you don't know how to roast peanuts, check out this recipe for peanut burgers. It contains a guide on how to roast (fry) peanuts.

Rice cakes with peanut sauce

Rice cakes with peanut sauce

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