Monday, 6 February 2012

Chadian Millet Balls with 3 Dipping Sauces (Peanut Sauce, Saka Saka Sauce & Harissa Lime Sauce)

So... let's continue to explore Chad shall we? As I mentioned in our first post about Chadian food, millet is a staple grain in Chad. Whilst trawling through websites for precious mentions of any form of Chadian food I cam across a lot of websites with the same regurgitated piece of information: in Chad they often eat millet balls which are dipped in sauces (if you want to see what I mean see these websites here, here and here). Yet, despite this piece of information being repeated on many different websites I couldn't find any recipes for this, pictures of this dish or any description of all of what these 'sauces' might be. So, essentially I was left to my own imagination in creating this dish. As a result I am sure that it isn't very authentic Chadian fare, however, it was most certainly inspired by my efforts to find a recipe or description of the elusive Chadian millet balls with 'sauces'.

This recipe uses whole hulled organic millet from my local co-cop, however, I gather that the more traditional Chadian millet balls would most likely be made of millet flour made into a paste. I like to keep my grains whole where possible, though, so I decided to make mine with whole millet. I also chose to bake them to make it more healthy, instead of frying them in oil. For my sauces I decided to go with: Chadian Peanut Sauce, Saka Saka Sauce (Spinach and Okra) and a Harissa Sauce with corriander and lime.


250g millet
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
5 tbsp millet flour
1/2 tsp salt
100g silken tofu
Olive oil spray

To Make
1. Cover the millet in plenty of boiling water and bring to the boil. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until cooked. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside to cool.
2. Toast the sunflower seeds in a frypan or oven for 1-2 minutes or until slightly browned (keep your eye on them as they burn really fast!).
3. Mix the millet, flour, sunflower seeds, salt, tofu and 1 tbsp water. Mix well into a thick pasty mix.
4. Take a bit of mix about the size of a walnut and press it gently into a ball (don't roll them too firmly or they will break up). Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Continue until all the mix is done.
5. Spray the millet balls with a bit of olive oil and bake at 180 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. (Every oven is different, so you might want to taste one when they come out to make sure they're not too doughy on the inside - if they are give them another 5 minutes).
6. Serve immediately with sauces (below).


Peanut Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup shelled unsalted peanuts
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water

To Make
1. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan. Saute the onion and garlic until softened. Add the chilli.
2. Chop the peanuts very finely.
3. Add the nutmeg and peanuts to the onion and garlic. Sauté for a further few minutes.
4. Add the tomato paste and water. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.

Saka Saka Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 green chilli, chopped
4-5 okra, chopped
5-6 leaves of spinach (silverbeet)
Salt to taste
2 cups water

To Make
1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onion, garlic and chilli until the onion is softened.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. Process with a hand held blender or in a food processor until smooth.

Harissa sauce with Coriander and Lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 tbsp Harissa spice mix (available in most health food or you can buy it online at Herbie's Spices)
1 tsp soy sauce
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
The juice of 1 lime

To Make
1. Heat the olive oil in a small pan and sauté the onion until softened. Add the harissa spice mix and saute a further 2-3 minutes.
2. Stir in the soy sauce and water. Bring to a simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the stove.
3. Add the coriander and lime juice. Serve.

Check out our other Chadian recipes as well: 

Chadian Irio (Mashed beans, potatoes and vegetables)
African Loz (Almond and Pistachio Bites of Amazingness)


  1. You didn't describe the taste. How are they?

    1. Haha, you're right! They were quite delicious. I deliberately made the millet balls quite bland and the flavours of the sauces quite strong - so eating the balls by themselves wouldn't be very exciting but with the sauces was delicious. My favourite was the peanut sauce, but the Harissa sauce went down a real treat with all my guests!

  2. Hi, Keely.

    I've been a fan of your blog for several years now, and enjoy returning every few months to find new inspiration. Although I'm not vegan - lacto-ovo vegetarian, with limited dairy and some fish, but I haven't touched meat in over a decade now! - I am always so inspired by your ability to take traditional recipes and adapt them to a healthier, cruelty-free diet, opening them up to an entirely new population. I'm usually not too fussed with vegan adaptions (American vegan food can be a bit... icky), but yours are spot on! A big surprise, for me, was your vegan feta cheese. Not the same thing, but... reminiscent, yummy, and just perfect once it's inside the dish!

    This isn't actually my first comment on your blog, I'd like you to know that you've also inspired me to start my own little at-home project to cook dishes from around the world. I hope to share the experience with my partner's family.

    Anyhow, I found this photo of a Chadian millet ball, and it's quite different to yours, so I thought you might be interested in it. I've eaten Chadian food at a restaurant in Dandenong, Melbourne, where there is a large African/refugee population, and I believe this very similar to what I was served. The ball, or dome, is actually quite hard, and is softened by/in a wet vegetable dish. The balls I ate were sized like kofta and added to the vegetable. Ingredients often include sorghum, ground rice/rice flour, yam, and even plantain - but most importantly, the millet is worked into a flour, and boiled. I've heard something about frying, too, but I don't know for sure.

    Here is the aforementioned photo:

    I hope some of my comment might be of interest/help.

    I also hope some blog activity might inspire you to start posting again. I think you're an absolutely lovely lady and a genuinely talented cook. What you do is not easy! Not many people are up for - and actually meet - so many challenges. It takes a lot to carve out a cuisine from scratch. I miss your posts; I miss you! :)

    I hope all is well and that you're just busy.

    - Michaela xx

    1. Hey Michaela, firstly - wow, thanks for such a wonderful and supportive comment, you really made my day! I've been meaning to get back to the blog and you've inspired me to get on with it.

      Secondly, thanks for the pic of the Chadian millet ball. When I was d doing this recipe I couldn't find any pictures or recipes or anything, so I was really flying blind with this recipe. That picture looks much more authentic!

      Hope you enjoy the new post I put up too :)

    2. Hi Michaela - what was the name of the Chadian restaurant that you visited. I'm keen to try it out.