Creating rice balls is not only an art but an opportunity to connect to any West African roots you may have. Rice balls are the shape we make out of rice flour, one of the ingredients for pap, AKA rice porridge, a popular African food. Rice porridge is one of the best plant-based foods out there. A common breakfast choice in West African households. You certainly can buy the rice balls, but where’s the fun in that? You don’t have to buy it from a sweaty street vendor and wonder what type of water they prepared it with. Or if they washed their hands!
But watch out, this meal is a labor of love so don’t be shy. In this article, we will demonstrate through video and a written recipe card how to make rice porridge itself from scratch. In another article, we will show you how to cook it.
Did you know this is a fun activity you can do with your children too? Remember to do so in a big open area that you can easily clean. And after, you can create more memories by teaching them how to make rice porridge.
Related: How to cook rice porridge breakfast-Moni Kalama
Origin of our Moni kalama
If you hear someone say they use rice balls as ingredients for pap, don’t be confused. As mentioned, this porridge has many names. Moony Kalama, Yehfoure, Pap, and M’bohiri. These are all alternative names for this popular African food. Our recipe is inspired by the Fula people, African nomads. There are an estimated 25 to 40 million Fulani people worldwide. In Liberia alone, we depend on them not only for consistent moni kalama breakfast but Fulani also are a strong backbone of Liberia’s progressing market system.
Fun fact: ‘Pap’ in more Southern African countries refers to a thicker porridge without the texture of the balls. It is eaten with stews or vegetables for lunch or dinner. In this case, rice balls are not one of the ingredients for pap if you want to eat it the South African way.
Related: Buttery Motogo Wa Ting
Why rice porridge?
As a popular African food, the taste of it takes many West Africans back to their childhood. Liberians enjoy Moony Kalama for breakfast and this meal saved some of us during tough times. It holds a special place in my heart. For all you who are looking for authentic African food, it does not get more authentic than this. It ranks as the best plant-based food in our opinion which is why we want to share how to make rice porridge with you.
As you get to know me or if you follow Humble Vege on Instagram, you will see many variations of rice porridge. And I use other grains like millet, sorghum, or rice. Heck, I may use corn flour next time. The demonstration video below will show you how to make this treasured delicacy. From Guinea, Sierra Leone to Liberia. This dish is revered but we call it different names and flavor it in our own way. Everyone wants to eat the best plant-based food. I will show you the varieties when we virtually travel to those countries. This is the Liberian version. And if you enjoy the video, leave a like, subscribe for more, and share this around!
How to make Rice balls for African porridge
Making this African rice balls recipe from scratch will definitely have you learning some patience and experiencing intimacy with your creamy hearty bowl of rice porridge.
- 1/3cup Rice Flour
- Half Cup Water
- Large Round Bowl
- Some Patience 😉
- Make sure you have clean hands because you will use them to mold the balls for your delicious bowl of Yehfoure. Add some patience and your rice balls recipe is as good as done.
- In a wide deep round bowl, measure 1/3 a cup of white rice flour. Traditionally, a calabash is usually used to make the balls for the rice porridge. A wide bowl ensures your hand has enough space to move around as you mold the balls.
- Have some water in a separate bowl. Wet the flour by pouring a small amount of water into your hand and sprinkling little by little on the flour. Remember NOT to add a lot of water all at once because the flour might stick into one ball. Sprinkling the water gradually from your hand helps in the process of separating the flour into small balls. The amount of water you pour into your hand should not overflow.
- Tilt the bowl and begin the molding process. Swirl your hand around the bowl, picking some rice flour in your hand, and gently rub your palm and fingers in a circular motion. Do not use a lot of force so you don't squish the balls. Patience and delicate touch. If you accidentally pour too much water, keep molding the balls until the water evenly distributes throughout.
- Directly from your hand, keep sprinkling water on the flour as you mold the flour. Each time you add water, make sure it's less than the previous time. It will take some time but the balls will slowly begin to form. It's normal for some of the rice flour to stick to your hand. Use a spoon to clean that off and keep going.
- When the balls begin to form, stop adding the water and start rubbing your hand against the bowl in a circular motion. This helps make the small balls bigger and bigger as they rub between your hand and the bowl- Gentle touch, if you use force it will flatten the balls. If the balls haven't started to form yet, this action will not work. Work on having more larger balls and fewer small balls.
- Once the balls are ready, spread them on a wide plate and place them in the freezer for about an hour before using them. This ensures they don't stick together when preparing your delicious healthy vegetarian breakfast of M'Bohiri.
- Warm your appetite for a nutritious plate of moni Kalama Ooo
- If it's your first time making the rice balls, begin with 1/3 a cup of rice flour. When you have successfully learned how to make rice porridge from scratch, increase the amount as desired.
- Rice balls can be frozen and used later therefore very efficient for a pre-planned healthy vegetarian breakfast.
- You can make the rice flour at home. Clean your white rice and soak it in clean water for an hour. Strain out the water, pour the rice into a sieve, and leave it to drain completely for 15 minutes. Use a grinder to grind them into rice flour then proceed with the instructions above.