foods and cuisines

Tuwo Shinkafa (Rice Meal Swallow) | The Comfort Food of the North

Tuwo Shinkafa is a popular northern “swallow” made from soft mashed rice.It’s usually made with a locally grown short grain rice popularly known as tuwo rice. This is the preferred choice because tuwo rice tends to get soft quickly which makes it easier to mash up. It can be served with soups such as; Miyan taushe, Miyan kuka, Miyan wake e.t.c.

uwo shinkafa is a rice dish originating from the Hausas, which is popular in Northern Nigeria and Ghana. Ghanaians call it omo tuo . This rice, cooked until very soft, followed by mashing and rolling into balls is eaten with stew as a “swallow”. It is one of the easier swallows to prepare as there is little effort required to make cooked rice into sticky dough and there is no chance for lumps to develop like they would when making swallow with powder like amala, etc.

Tuwo is a Hausa word which means stiff porridge or swallow. There are different types of tuwo, depending on the ingredient used. Some examples are tuwo masara (from corn), tuwo dawa (from guinea corn) and tuwo alkama (from wheat).

In Nigeria, tuwo shinkafa is eaten with different soups, with gbegiri/ miyan wake (bean soup), a favourite. Miyan taushe (pumpkin soup), miyan kuka (baobab leaves soup), egusi and okra soup all go well with these rice balls. In Ghana, omo tuo is preferred with groundnut soup or palm nut soup.

Tuwo Shinkafa Recipe

Here are the ingredients you need

  • Arborio rice
  • Water

A few notes about the ingredients

Rice: The rice traditionally used for tuwo shinkafa is a local short-grain rice which becomes sticky after cooking. For people who do not have access to tuwo rice, you can substitute it with any short-grain or medium-grain rice with similar characteristics. For example, I used arborio rice, which is traditionally used for risotto. Sushi rice and Asian sticky rice (glutinous rice) are all good for Tuwo shinkafa. You can find these in the rice section of supermarkets or on Amazon.

How to make it Tuwo Shinkafa

  • Wash the rice.
  • Add the rice into a big pan with enough water to cover the rice grains, then place on medium heat. Ensure ample space in the pot, so the rice does not boil over and make a mess.
  • As the liquid is absorbed, reduce the heat to low and test by pressing between your fingers; you want the rice to be very soft. If it is not that soft yet, add more water in small quantities. Repeat this until the rice is soft and soggy.
  • Reduce the heat to the lowest possible and use a wooden ladle to mash and fold the rice against the sides of the pot repeatedly until grains come together to form a stiff dough. Remove from heat.
  • Serve by scooping with a spoon or taking bits of the dough with a wet hand and rolling between your palms to form balls. Serve with your favourite soup.
  • Tuwo becomes hard when it is cold. Some people like to eat it this way. If you are not one of those people, pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and you’re good to go.

What does Tuwo Shinkafa do to the body?

Tuwo Shinkafa is a food item that is a rich source of carbohydrates because of the presence of rice. Carbohydrates are the main energy foods for the body. Foods rich in carbohydrates like tuwo shinkafa can help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system to function properly.

Which people eat tuwo shinkafa?

Tuwo is a Northern Nigerian meal which is best enjoyed with gbegiri soup. These days, it is not only the Northerners’ favorite but of people down South too. One interesting thing about the preparation of this meal is that it is easy and stress free


Calories: 128kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 2gFat: 0.2gSaturated Fat: 0.1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.1gPotassium: 26mgCalcium: 1mgIron: 1mg