Flour in Africa (with poll)

I bought an apron this summer. It was time to face facts. I’m 31 years old, I’m a mess in the kitchen, and I’m not getting any cleaner.

Flour is probably my only regular fashion accessory (although I do love necklaces). In addition, flour is almost always my only chance at “makeup.”

As I twirl through the kitchen, I regularly dust flour on my nose, through my hair, and – yes – even on poor little Ava.

She’s really a good sport though – she hardly ever notices.

So, in honor of flour’s persistent role in my life, let’s talk … flour.

This photo shows millet and all-purpose, wheat flour.

Around the world, people use all sorts of flour in their food, depending on access to native plants, special diets, and basic needs.

In Africa, the most common are flours are Millet, Cassava, Tapioca, Teff, and wheat.

In day to day life, flour is typically used to make one of the following items:

  • porridge
  • thick and starchy fufu
  • dumplings
  • fried beignets/doughnuts

About flour in this week’s countries:

  • Central African Republic utilizes mostly cassava.
  • Chad utilizes mostly millet.


  1. Lentil four is used to thicken sauces or in the spicy batter of vegetable fritters. You can also make pappadoms, but that’s very technical ( like flaky pastry ) and I haven’t tried yet… and probably won’t, since they are very cheap and easily available…

    And I don’t believe in using lentil flour for sweets… ( they do in India ! )

    • globaltable says

      Good question…. I thought it was a different level of refinement, like our all purpose vs pastry flour, but I could be wrong.

    • globaltable says

      Hi Celia, They make Fufu out of different flours/ingredients, depending on the region in Africa. My Larousse Gastronomique says: cassava, yam, sweet potato, and/or plantain, a flour or meal ground from root vegetables or corn or rice.

      There are so many variables – really the only constant is that it is made *either* into a porridge or thick doughy mixture, used for scooping up sauces.

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