Genfo (ገንፎ, Ga’at, Marqaa) Recipe | Ingredient & Preparation

Genfo Recipe

March 20, 2022

Genfo recipe
  • Preparation time: 10 mins
  • Cooking time: 20 mins
  • Total time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings (easily adjustable)

Genfo is the stiff porridge of Ethiopia. It is a classic breakfast and can also be for lunch. The taste and texture vary based on the type of flour used. Ideally, you can use any kind of flour. But the most widely used are

  • Whole barley
  • All-purpose flours
  • Bula (Gluten-free option) and
  • You can also use all-purpose flour along with bula.

Genfo has a lot of health benefits. This is why Ethiopians serve Genfo to women in their postpartum period and guess what most Ethiopian runners eat? Yeah. In this article we will see different Genfo types and Recipe.

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How to Prepare Barley / All-flour Genfo?

Genfo Ingredients (Barley / All-flour)

  • 2 cups flour of your choice (or 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup bula milk)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups boiling water (don’t use cool water)
  • ½ cup boiled milk (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon kibe (2 tablespoons vegetable oil for vegan option)
  • ½ teaspoon berbere\mitmita\paprika\kochkocha
  • ½ cup Ethiopian cottage cheese (Ayib)\ unflavored yogurt for dressing (optional)

Preparation of Genfo (Barley / All-flour)

Make the Genfo

  1. Add 1 cup of boiled water (or milk) and salt in a cooking pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Add flour and mix with cooking spatula until it forms a smooth paste. It does take some elbow grease.
  3. Add 1\2 cup of boiled water and let it cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Add bula milk and mix. (optional)
  6. Repeat step 3 to 4 more times. Voila, there you have it.

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Method one
  1. Grease the serving bowl with oil.
  2. Scoop genfo to the bowl and move it in a circle.
  3. When it forms a ball, flip it on the other side.
  4. Make a depression at the center.
  5. Add kibe (oil) and berbere\mitmita\paprika\kochkocha in the depression.
  6. Dress with Ethiopian cottage cheese or yogurt (optional) and serve.
Method two
  1. Mix kibe (oil) and berbere\mitmita\paprika\kochkocha in a bowl.
  2. Add the genfo, mix, and serve.

Bula Genfo Recipe With No Flour Added

  • Preparation time: 5mins
  • Cooking time: 15mins
  • Total time: 20mins
  • Yield: 2 servings (easily adjustable)

What is Bula?

Bula is a paste extracted from the stem of Ensete ventricosum, a false banana tree endemic to Ethiopia. It is wrapped in leafs of the tree and sold in the market. Then it is processed and used in different recipes like genfo and bread. It is also available in the form of powder in supermarkets. For making genfo, the bula powder or paste is made into milk by adding water. Bula is gluten-free; however, make sure it doesn’t have additives of other crops when you purchase.

How is Bula Paste Processed & Stored?

  1. Mix the paste with copious amount of water.
  2. Let it sit for a while. The water will come to the top and bula will settle at the bottom.
  3. Discard the water.
  4. Repeat the process.
  5. Strain by using a filter spoon. Discard what remains on the filter spoon.
  6. Repeat the steps three to four more times.
  7. Add clean water and store it at room temperature.
  8. Change the water every two\three days and before using bula to make foods.

Ingredients Bula Genfo

  • 2 cups bula milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1½ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon mitmita\berbere\paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kibe (2 tablespoons oil) for dressing

Directions Bula Genfo

  1. Boil the water in a pot.
  2. Add salt and a tablespoon of oil.
  3. While adding bula milk with one hand, stir to form a smooth paste.
  4. Mix and cook for 2 mins on low heat.
  5. Put the genfo in a serving bowl and dress with kibe (oil) and mitmita\berbere\paprika.

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  • Genfo retains hot for some time. Scoop the part exposed to air and dip it in the kibe (oil) when you eat.
  • Traditionally, genfo is served in a single bowl and eaten together, but do as you prefer.
  • If you use teff flour, milk should ideally be included in the ingredients.
  • If you prefer oil to kibe for dressing, you can roast chopped garlic and ginger in the oil before using it. Olive oil is a better option. 
  • Bula genfo is better made using berbere\mitmita\paprika and is not dressed with cheese\yoghurt.

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Watch a video for more.

Did you make Genfo using our recipe? How did you like it? Please let us know in the comment section.

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Written by Typical Ethiopian Team

Typical Ethiopian Team is a team of professional authors who regularly publish 12 - 30 blog posts every month. They are doing a really good job of creating unique and reliable content about Ethiopia. If you want to contribute, contact us at [email protected].

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