A Hot and Spicy Breakfast in a Cold City

Ogundeko Toluwanimi Alexis
May 31, 2023

Right at the heart of Plateau State, which is located in the North-Central part of Nigeria lies it's capital, Jos. Jos City is one of the coldest, yet most vibrant cities in Nigeria. Popularly known for its favourable climate and hospitable residents, it is also notable for the production of the freshest and biggest vegetables as well as large and juicy plum tomatoes. Due to the availability of these fresh, organic vegetables, a wide array of dishes are loved and prepared in this city.

A 'Welcome to Jos' Sign

Because of the high altitude, the weather in Jos is conspicuously cold, particular in the morning and at night and as a result of this, a typical breakfast or dinner has to be served sizzling hot.

On a cold morning in Jos, the first place you'd want to have your breakfast is at a Mai Masa. This is Hausa for someone who sells Masa, a local rice cake. A majority of the residents in Jos are from the Hausa tribe of Northern Nigeria and Masa is a specialty dish indigenous to them.

Masa is It is a flavourful  cake with a crunchy exterior and a soft sponge like interior. It is fried in a special locally made aluminum pan called Kasko, which contains deep round wells that give the cake it's distinct spherical shape.

A plate of Masa with Yaji

As Masa is usually made early in the morning, the preparation has to be done the evening before. First, short grain rice is soaked in water overnight in order to make the grains soft enough to blend. Yeast is then added and blended with the rice. After the mixture has been blended to a thick consistently, it is covered and kept in a warm place. Doing this causes the mixture to rise because of the yeast. Immediately the mixture rises, it is then opened and allowed to collapse. Fermentation ensues and salt and sugar are subsequently added. The fermentation gives the mixture a distinct smell, like beer.

Each well in the Kasko is then greased with oil and the batter is poured into them, flipping each cake until they have a golden-brown colour on the outside and have solidified on the inside.

Masa is usually served with a special type of spice blend called Yaji. It is a rich blend of Kuli -Kuli (a snack made out of roasted peanuts), ginger, garlic and onion powder, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika and salt. It has a distinct rich, nutty and smoky yet subtle flavour which makes it go perfectly well with the Masa. The Masa is therefore eaten by tearing off a piece of the cake and dipping it into the Yaji blend.

Yaji blend

Masa can also be served and enjoyed with Miyan Taushe, a delicious pumpkin stew.

Miyan Taushe (Pumpkin Stew) surrounded by Masa

However, your breakfast of Masa and Yaji can never be complete without a cup of hot tea, a perfect way to bring a perfect meal together.

As you enjoy the cold weather in Jos, do well to enjoy this hot meal with your friends, your loved ones or even by yourself.

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