Tuo Zaafi: How to Make the Best Tuo Zaafi from Scratch

Tuo zaafi also known as T.Z or Saakbo, is a popular Northern Ghanaian dish. It is not only common in Ghana but also across some parts of West Africa especially in countries like Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

Best Tuo Zaafi Recipe
Best Tuo Zaafi Recipe

Tuo Zaafi Origin

Tuo Zaafi has its origins from the Hausa language. The word “Tuo” means stirring or paddling, while the word “Zaafi” means hot.

Types of Tuo Zaafi

The type depends on the flour used in the making. The three main types are the corn, millet, and the red millet and besides these types, we have the ones that you either can add corn dough or cassava flour and these types are very popular among the Kotokolies and Chambas.

Tuo zaafi Calories

Tuo zaafi is soft naturally and a little sticky when felt between the hands. Serving size of 200 g contains 720 calories-165 carbs, 1g fat, and 10 g protein.

It is normally eaten with any soup of choice, but the most common soups associated with Tuo Zaafi is ‘ayoyoyo’ or dry okra which is also known as ‘kubewa busheshe’.


Tuo zaafi consists of 3 separate dishes, which are combined for the final dish – the meat stew, the ayoyo sauce, and the tuo zaafi itself.

Tuo zaafi Ingredients
  • (Exclusive of items for goat meat stew which is you can find here)
  • A bunch of fresh ayoyo leaves. The alternative is a frozen pack of ayoyo leaves (also known as jute or ewedu leaves)
  • 1 cup Cassava flour
  • A cup Corn flour
  • Herrings or other smoked fish
  • Salt to taste

Method: Follow the Three Steps Below;

Step A – To prepare goat meat stew please read –

Goat Meat Stew: How to Make Nigerian Spicy Stew

Step B – Make the Ayoyo Sauce 

  • Firstly, carefully wash the ayoyo leaves and chop into tiny pieces (if using fresh leaves), or if using frozen ones, allow to defrost or defrost in a microwave.
  • Secondly, put 1 cup of water in a pot, place on the stove, and turn heat to high until it starts boiling. Then lower the heat to medium.
  • Thirdly, add the ayoyo to the boiling water and stir periodically with a wooden pestle until the leaves break up in the water, and it starts to froth and bubble.
  • As preferred you can add smoked or dried herrings and salt to the ayoyo for additional flavor.
  • Lastly, lower the heat to low and continue to stir for another 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, and set aside the ayoyo mix till you’re ready to serve.

Step C – Make the tuo zaafi

  • Firstly, put 2 cups of water in a pot until it is boiling.
  • Secondly, scoop 1 cup of cornflour and mix with cold water.  Stir thoroughly until the mixture is consistent.
  • Then, add the mixture to the boiling water and stir with a wooden pestle, taking care to avoid any lumps.
  • Thirdly, once fully mixed, leave it to boil for ~8 to 10 minutes. Then scoop out about a third of the mixture to use later.
  • After that, add the remainder of the corn flour to the boiling porridge mixture, and stir with the wooden pestle as the mixture gradually solidifies.
  • Then, add the flour little by little and continue to stir. As needed, add the set-aside mixture to the pot to keep the mixture moist at all times. The goal is to avoid lumps.
  • Lastly, after stirring for 20-30 minutes, the tuo should be ready. Scoop a bit and mold into somewhat round shapes, or directly into the serving dishes.

Serve and Enjoy!


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