Zoom Koom is a cool, refreshing drink from Burkina Faso, West Africa. Zoom means flour. Koom means water.
According to Emmanuelle Boco, who submitted the recipe, zoom koom is a drink for welcoming newcomers and is served on special occasions. On Saturday night, when you welcome the new year, be sure to provide your guests with some zoom koom deliciousness. It’s easy.
Emmanuelle’s recipe isn’t as complete as it should be; some key steps are missing. But years of watching the Food Network helped me make numerous executive chef-like decisions throughout the process.
Before I was able to make the first one, I had to figure out what a tamarind decoction is.
Decoction is not a misspelling or a made-up word. It’s the end result of extracting the flavor from something by boiling it.
A tamarind is the pod of a large, tropical tree in the legume family. It contains sour, acidic seeds and is an important ingredient in Worcestershire sauce. It can be found in Indian and Asian markets.
I didn’t go the tamarind decoction route. I opted for the lemon juice and water mix, even though Emmanuelle didn’t specify how much water and lemon juice to mix together. That became executive chef decision one.
Executive chef decisions two and three were determining how much ginger to use and whether I really needed two-thirds of a pound (300 grams) of sugar.
This is how it played out.
My wife prepped the pineapple while I skinned the ginger. Skinning ginger is the testosterone-laced version of peeling it.
As I began to channel my masculinity into the ginger skinning, I had to decide how much ginger to skin. The verdict: one whole root. My wife was frightened, but it turned out to be a good amount … if you like ginger.
I pureed the pineapple and ginger, then mixed it with the 300 grams (2/3 pound) of millet flour for 10 minutes.
I had to help things along initially by using a spatula to ferret out the flour that didn’t want to play with the wet ingredients.
Since the recipe called for one liter of tamarind decoction, I decided to use one liter of water in my lemon juice mix.
I juiced five lemons and added that to the Kitchen Aid.
Then I overruled myself and added only six ounces of water because step two of the recipe called for a “little water.” A liter is more than a little, although they sound the same.
I never added more water because I was happy with the smoothie-like consistency; however, in hindsight, if I had added more water it probably would have been easier to strain out the flour.
Emmanuelle’s recipe didn’t call for straining the mix, but I found a different zoom koom recipe on the Web that did. Before I strained the mix I rebelled one more time and put the kibosh on adding 300 grams (2/3 pound) of sugar to the drink. I added only two ounces of sugar.
I opted to strain the mixture because two-thirds of a pound of flour made zoom koom sound more like a meal than a drink.
After pouring the mix into the strainer I expedited the extraction (of the liquid) with some pestle action, which left this behind.
Then I forgot to add the vanilla, which was probably a subliminal thing since the recipe doesn’t specify how much to add.
By this time, I’m not sure you could call what I made authentic zoom koom. But my wife and I called it yummy.
When I make my next batch of zoom koom for our New Year’s party, to supplement our homemade egg nog, I’ll add more water to help filter the flour better. This first attempt tasted gritty. Not bad, just gritty. Like when you add lots of wheat germ to a smoothie.
I expect to sweeten the sequel to make it more appealing to our guests and to balance the power of the ginger. What I originally made was quite strong; 10 ounces was all I drank before calling it a day.
Let me know what you think.