Hoche is a popular fast food among residents of Zamfara State and some parts of Sokoto. The local delicacy is being considered by many households as the most cherished in the area.
It is a kind of simple food made from maize eaten either with soup or munch with powdered groundnut cake, depending on the choice of consumers.
Like Gurasa, a Kano popular fast food, Hoche can also be preserved between two and five days, depending on how it was processed. If the quantity of potash in the mixture is high, it would last for only one to two days, but if the quantity is moderate, it can last for five days.
The basic ingredients for making this simple delicacy include maize powder, potash, yeast and water. Other items are local container (kasko) and local oven (tanda). Both kasko and tanda are made from clay. While kasko is made to contain the hoche liquid mixture, tanda, on the other hand, is meant for baking it.
Unlike many other local trades, hoche doesn’t require more hands to be processed. A woman can handle its processes from the beginning to the end without assistance.
Daily Trust Saturday observed that every household, especially in rural areas, belongs to the consumer class, processor, or both. The business of hoche is largely dominated by women, who process and sell it from their matrimonial homes.
It was further observed that consumers of this local food cut across all ages and genders, as women, men, young and old can eat it whenever they desire.
It has become a norm in Bungudu town that every blessed day, children between the ages of 10 and15 would be seen lining up along major streets within the town hawking hoche.
Nazifah Abubakar is one of the women that have been processing hoche in Bungudu town, Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfra State. She has been into the business, which she learnt from her grandmother for five years.
“You will first have your maize, wash it and then grind it. After removing the unwanted component you will mix half of the maize powder yeast, potash and water and keep in warm place till the next day.
“The following day, you will prepare talge with half of your maize powder and pour the other half kept in a warm place and mix them very it well.
“You will then put the liquid mixture in local containers (kasko) and arrange them in the local oven (tanda) and allow it to bake between 15 and 20 minutes, depending on the level of heat in the oven.
“The business of hoche has done everything to me. We feed and dress ourselves with little earnings from this business. We sell each loaf of hoche at N100. In a day, we can process 10 measures of maize, five in the morning and five in the evening. I can earn between N1,500 and N2,500 as my profit,” she said.
Maryam Musa is also a hoche processor in Bungudu who learnt the business from her mother. She processes 10 measures of maize every day.
Tumba Sani, who said she had spent 30 years in the business of hoche, added that on a daily basis she processes seven measures of maize powder.
Tumba also said she married off 9 of her daughters from the proceeds of hoche.
Hafsa Sani said she had bought several plots and houses from the proceeds of hoche and she would soon marry off her daughters.
“The business of hoche means everything to me. I have acquired so many things from the little earnings of this business. I am now about to marry off my daughters.
“The business is profitable. We feed our families from it and even help others. Although it is a small business, it always pays,” she said.
Malam Aminu Musa, a resident of Bungusdu, told Daily Trust Saturday that hoche is considered a favourite delicacy by many residents in Zamfara. He said, “We cherish it the way Kano people cherish Gurasa. It is a simple food that everyone likes in this community.
“It is very delicious and can be eaten by men, women, young and adult. It is a kind of food that everyone is enjoying. Traditionally, every farmer that is set should at least get some pieces of hoche. Most farmers eat it at home and go to their farms with some pieces. This is to tell you how we cherish it.”
Another resident, Auwalu Shehu said, “Hoche is a type of food that takes someone for so many hours without one feeling hungry. In this area, we do celebrate annual festivities like Sallah and Maulud with the delicacy. This is a kind of food that one can make with little money. With two measures of maize, you can feed your family on any festive day.
“The delicacy needs few things to process. Many households in this area have their breakfast with hoche because you can even eat it with tea in the morning. Many residents patronise the delicacy because of its sweetness.
When contacted, the secretary-general of the Nutritious Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Auwal Musa Umar, said hoche alone would not give the body the needed nutrient because it is made from maize, which contributes only low chlorine to the body.
Umar, who is also a lecturer in the School of Hygiene, Kano, however said,“Baked food is one of the best foods the body needs. But the way it is being eaten, hoche is adding value to the body because it contains three things: carbohydrate, which makes the body strong; oil, which helps in warming the body, and vegetable, which gives body vitamin, minerals such as iron, calcium and potassium.
“So, in a nutshell, the combination of hoche and either soup or groundnut cake is good for the body because it will give both macro-nutrients, which comprises carbohydrate, potassium and fat and oil. It also contributes micro-nutrients to the body. So, if properly processed and combined with something that would add value to the body, such as vegetable, I can confidently recommend for its consumption.”