How to make Boza

Boza is a fermented drink made of millet. It’s widely made in Turkey, Bulgaria, Egypt and many other countries.

In some places it’s made with other grains such as rice,bulgur and maize. But I learned that it’s essentially made with millet.


In our country (Turkey), millet is used just as bird feed. On the other hand, in India, Nepal and Africa there are many different types of millet and they’re used for making a wide range of food and drinks including baby food, soups, porridge , as well as alcoholic drinks. In all of these countries it’s a sacred grain.



In addition, unlike most types of maize, it can be grown in dry weather, without water. It’s a drought resistant, strong grain which should be grown more in this rainless climate that we came into.


I bought pearl millet online. It’s sold as bird feed, but at the end, bird feed or not, millet is millet!  I chose the hulled one (with the husk removed) . Although it seems to me that the whole one can also be used, because of the straining procedure at the end of making boza ( and also it can be malted before fermenting, so the use of added sugar will be less).  

Boza is a fermented yeasty drink and just like yoghurt, the fermentation can be started by adding a cup of previously made boza to the new one.

But when making it for the first time without a previously made boza in hand,  we have to invite wild yeasts to come and ferment our millet. Just like sourdough!  


Boza is  like liquid food.It’s full of carbohydrates,vitamins (especially B), minerals and probiotic bacteria. 

I drink 1 cup after working in the garden and I feel refreshed, energetic and full. Amazing!  

When I was little I read that in the making of pyramids in Egypt, the workers were given beer as lunch. Beer in those times were much more different than what we know now. It was a dense drink and it was consumed as a meal.  

The millet beers, boumkaye and nieniebane (more on this here) made in  Congo and Senegal are also dense and thanks to the fermentation process they contain more vitamins than just boiled millet.


BOZA recipe


  • 1 cup hulled pearl millet

  • 6 cups water

  • 1 cup sugar or molasses or honey (the bacteria will consume most of the sugar )


  • Soak 1 cup of millet overnight

  • Next day drain it,wash it and boil it with 6 cups of water until it softens, while stirring from time to time. The texture will become very dense, just like porridge.

  • Transfer the cooked millet in a wide mouthed (preferably glass) container.

  • Blend it with a stick blender (if you don't have one you can ski this step.At the end it will be strained anyway)

  • Add 1 cup of sugar/molasses /honey and stir it well 

  • Cover the container with a piece of cloth

  • Stir it 2-3 times a day (to avoid molding and to aid bacteria to be evenly distributed) 

  • Depending on the temperature, in 3-5 days, bubbles will appear on the surface ( the result of bacteria eating the sugar and producing carbondioxide) . This means the yeast is active! 

    You can fermented more depending on your preferred taste.The more you'll ferment, the less sweet it will become.

  • Once it has the taste you like, strain it with a small holed sieve, by pressing with a wooden spoon. Then you can bottle it. Since the yeast in boza is active, make sure to use a sturdy glass bottle or plastic bottle and keep it in fridge. Otherwise it can explode!

    Drink it in 1 week.


  • If you'd like to make boza again, after step 5, you can just put 1 cup of the previous batch and ferment it 1-2 days.


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