Rice Balls (Omotuo)

    Rice balls or Omotuo is a traditional Ghanaian staple food made with rice. The rice is typically cooked with more water than normal to make it softer.

    It is then pounded to make it smooth, after which it is rolled into sizable sticky balls. Hence, its English name is thus “Rice Balls”.

    What is Omo Tuo?

    Omo tuo is a Ghanaian rice side dish with Hausa origins that is popular throughout the country. It’s created by cooking glutinous rice until it’s very mushy, then pounding or rolling it into sticky balls.

    Some people refer to it as “rice fufu” or “rice balls.” It’s usually served with groundnut (peanut) soup, but it’s also good with palm nut soup. It’s served with a baobab leaf and dried okra soup called miyan kuka in Nigeria’s northern Hausa-Fulani areas.

    History Of Omo Tuo

    Omo tuo, as it is known in Ghana, has its roots from the Hausa people in the Northern region but is widely enjoyed throughout the country. They refer to it as tuwo shinkafa.

    The word tuwo is most likely the Hausa equivalent to different types of fufu or dumpling made from a grain flour, for example tuwo zaafi, a millet or corn and cassava dumpling, or tuwo masara, a cornmeal dumpling. The Northern Nigerian tuwo shinkafa is usually made from ground rice as opposed to soft then pounded whole rice.

    Different Versions Of Rice Balls

    Asia comes to mind when thinking about sticky rice dishes as they have a wide variety of sweet and savory types. Indonesian lemper ayam (sticky chicken rice), Vietnamese fried sticky rice cakes (xoi chien phong), Japanese sweet rice balls (ohagi botamochi) and onigiri (rice ball snack).

    One dish in the French quarter of New Orleans, thought to have African origins, is calas, fried rice fritters. However this seems to be more of a distant cousin to puff puff or beignets, known as kala in Liberia.

    How To Prepare Rice Balls (Omotuo)

    It is best to use long or short grain varieties of rice which have not been par-boiled. Thai jasmine rice, long or short-grain white rice, or glutinous rice with high levels of amylopectin (Asian sticky rice) are the best varieties to use for this. Par-boiled rice and basmati rice are not suitable as the cooked grains normally separate easily and lack a sticky consistency.

    To prepare the rice, simply boil it with a little salt and water until it is mushy. Depending on the type of rice used, the amount of water required will vary. It is not required to soak the rice in water; nevertheless, a small amount of extra water should be added to create a very soft, sticky outcome. With a wooden spoon, mash the rice and stir it like banku or fufu. Then, in a wet round basin, stir the rice to make rice balls. To keep the rice from adhering to the bowl’s surface, a drop of oil can be added.


    • You might require only 3 cups of water for the 1 cup of rice subject on the variety of rice.
    • Nevertheless, if the rice is not soft after all the water has been absorbed from cooking, add a half or more cup as necessary.
    • Rice balls can be prepared ahead of time and warmed in the oven or microwave just before serving.

    What To Serve Omo tuo With

    Omo tuo may be served with any type of soup, but traditionally you can serve your delicious omo tuo or rice ball with:


    Thanks for reading this recipe, if you made this recipe, don’t forget to leave me feedback. Enjoy!

    Omo Tuo/ Rice Balls

    Omo tuo is a Ghanaian side dish originating from the Hausa people, made by cooking very soft rice, then pounding or rolling the rice into sticky balls.
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 25 minutes
    Course Side Dish
    Cuisine African, Ghanaian
    Servings 4


    • 2 cups of rice long grain rice
    • 3 cups of water
    • 1 teaspoon salt


    • Rinse the rice to remove excess starch. This is optional as the starch encourages the stickiness of the rice.
    • Place the rice, salt and water in a pot and bring to a boil.
    • Turn the heat down to medium and allow the rice to steam in the pot until most of the water is absorbed.
    • Using a sturdy wooden spoon, pound the rice using a mash and fold method. Bring the rice toward the side of the pot, then turn over. Repeat until the rice is mushy and glutinous.
    • To serve, scoop the desired amount into a wet bowl and swirl around until balls are formed.
    • Serve the Omo tuo with any type of soup but is it traditional to serve it on a Sunday with peanut soup stew or palm nut soup.
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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