’Asida – Fermented Sorghum Dumpling – عصيدة

Lightly fermented sorghum flour cooked into a jelly-like dumpling to accompany stews or mullahat.

Prep time: 5 minutes Marination time: 24 hours, fermentation time

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Pantry ingredients: sorghum flour

Special equipment: mufraka (mixing utensil) or whisk

Making 1 large asida or 4 individual asayid, serves 4


  • 500g sorghum flour
  • 1 to 1.25 litres lukewarm water
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon yoghurt close to expiry, fermenting agent
  • 1 tablespoon oil


In a large mixing bowl, use  whisk or clean hands to mix sorghum flour with an equal amount (500ml) water until all lumps are dissolved. Add salt to taste and a tablespoon of expiring yoghurt. Leave the mixture  to ferment in a warm area for between 18 to 24 hours. The next day, test the degree of fermentation by tasting a half teaspoon amount of the mixture. If the mixture tastes sharp and sour then the flour has fermented and the asida can be prepared as follows, if not, it will need more fermenting time until the slightly sour taste of fermented grain becomes present. The batter should also appear slightly bubbly and have a subtle scent of fermentation. (photo)

Ensure the fermented batter has the consistency of runny pancake mixture. A couple of tablespoons of sorghum flour or plain flour may be added to thicken the mixture, while ½ cup water or yoghurt may be added to make it runnier. In a medium pot bring the remaining amount of water to the boil (500ml). Pour the fermented sorghum mixture into the boiling water and mix continuously using a mufraka, whisk or another stirring utensil. The flour should cook and thicken over 8 to 10 minutes to the correct consistency of asida, which should be similar to thick porridge when heated, so that when it cools its texture becomes more solid and jelly-like. To test whether the batter is cooked, quickly dip the end of a wet metal utensil such as a knife or spoon directly into the simmering batter. If some batter appears on the utensil, it needs more time to cook. If the utensil comes out clean then the flour has fully cooked. (photo)

Use either one large bowl or small individual bowls to set the porridge depending on personal preferences. Add a tablespoon of oil into a deep bowl where the asida is intended to set and grease the bowl, leaving a small pool of oil at the base of the bowl. Pour the cooked asida batter into the greased bowl(s) and leave in a cool, well ventilated area for 20 to 30 minutes until fully set (in the galib asida) into a porridge dumpling. (photo)

Once the asida has fully cooled and set, place a wider serving bowl on top of the asida and turn over, then lift the setting bowl to reveal the asida. The ‘asida should firmly set into the mould and have a jelly-like consistency. Pour a mullah of choice around the edge of the asida to create an island of asida in the centre of the mullah

Diners can either eat using clean hands or use a spoon to cut vertically into the outer edges of the asida that make contact with the mullah, to have a spoonful of asida covered with mullah.


  • Add more expiring yoghurt to thin the consistency of the asida batter instead of water to make it taste more sour and softer in texture 
  • The sliced bread asida is a quick and easy alternative. Simply remove the crust from 4 slices of bread, tear into small pieces and soak in 250ml water. Hand blend into a smooth mixture. Add salt to taste, 1 tablespoon yoghurt. Then either microwave for 2 minutes, or pour into 150 to 200ml boiling water and stir until thick, then pour into a bowl then leave to cool and set into asida.
  • The flours that can be used to make asida including: wheat flour, millet flour, cassava powder, rice flour, corn flour. These flours do not require fermentation to make asida. 
  • Thick set yoghurt can also be used to make asida. Simply warm 1kg set yoghurt, season with salt to taste and add 2 to 3 tablespoons corn flour until thick while heated. Pour into greased bowls and leave to cool as instructed. The yoghurt asida is much lighter and easier to digest.


  • Once the first batch of asida has been made, ½ cup of the uncooked fermented batter can be stored and used as the fermenting agent for the next batch. Store in a sealed container and refrigerate or a semi-covered container placed in a warm dark area. If unrefrigerated, ensure the batter does not dry and harden by adding a 100 to 200ml warm water once weekly. When ready to make a new batch, mix ½ to 1 cup of uncooked fermented batter into the new batter and leave to ferment for 5 to 6 hours, or overnight. 
  • Cereal bowls are useful for setting the asida due to their depth in relation to their diameter. Bowl should ideally be quite deep with a small diameter so that the high dome shape can be achieved when set. Since these bowls determine the size of the asida, use larger bowls for sharing and smaller bowls for a personal/individual asida.
  • Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of any oil while the batter is cooking to give the asida a smooth and shiny texture. 2 to 3 tablespoons plain flour added to the fermented batter before cooking is said to stabilise the asida and give it a smooth texture.

Did you make this recipe?

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