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Coconut Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Milk)

Coconut Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Milk)

Let’s make East African Coconut Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Milk), or Muhogo wa Nazi in Swahili. This is an East African stew of tender mogo (cassava) in a delicious and creamy coconut sauce.

It’s delicious when you top it with raw mango chutney, dry coconut chutney, daal bhajia and crushed up salted crisps (potato chips) – yes really!

coconut bowl cassava mogo

This coconut mogo recipe is…

  • Vegan
  • Gluten free
  • Easy
  • Great for a crowd

Where does Coconut Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Milk) come from?

I come from a family of East African Indians and since we have coconut milk running through our veins, this is a dish I like to make often.

Variations of this dish is popular in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi and Rwanda.

I had my first taste of it here in the UK, but the most unforgettable memory of it was when my aunt prepared it in Mombasa, Kenya. It was creamy, dreamy and so hearty.

What does mogo taste like?

Cassava, also known as yuca, is a starchy root vegetable native to South America and is an important crop in tropical and subtropical regions around the world.

It tastes like a firm, starchy potato. Every bite is earthy and satisfying.

Cassava is treasured for its affordability and versatility. The starchy root can be boiled, mashed, stewed, roasted, barbecued and even pounded into flour for various cooking uses.

Cassava can be used in many traditional dishes such as cassava fries, cassava cakes, and cassava bread.

You can even turn it into sweet Halwa! This Malindi Halwa is a popular Kenyan dessert with almonds.

A popular vegetarian stew with cassava

Coconut Mogo recipe east african

Simmer this stew of cassava, coconut, chilli and ginger until the cassava becomes tender and thickens the pearly white broth.

You can use either fresh cassava or frozen cassava. I always have frozen to hand.

If you prefer to use fresh, peel off the tough and crinkly outer skin with a vegetable peeler and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

More East African recipes to try

How to serve East African Coconut Mogo (tui varo mogo)

It’s topped off crispy daal na bhajia, a type of lentil fritter and spicy, sour chutneys – one made with fresh coconut and lemon, and the other with sharp raw mango, chilli powder and salt.

They’re like rocket fuel for this mild and creamy cassava. Serve it steaming hot with raw mango chutney and dry coconut chutney.

You also have a free pass to crush up a bag of salted crisps and sprinkle that on top too.

Are you gluten free?

Omit the asafoetida or choose a brand without anti-caking agents like wheat flour.

If you don’t have daal bhajia…

This Coconut Mogo tastes best when it’s topped with Daal Bhajia (lentil fritters) but in a pinch, you can use cooked falafel (shop-bought is fine).

While the falafel do not have the exact same flavours, they do offer a similar texture to bhajia.

Step-by-step method for Coconut Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Milk)

Ingredients in recipe card below.

1. Boil the mogo

yuca cassava cooked

It’s important to season the boiling water with plenty of salt. Bring the mogo to the boil and cook for around 25 minutes until it is fork tender. Drain, remove woody fibres and cut into bite-sized chunks.

2. Make the coconut sauce

coconut milk

Sauté the aromatics in oil and add coconut milk and water. Season generously with salt and lemon juice.

3. Simmer the stew

Add the mogo pieces and simmer with a lid on for at least 25 minutes, or up to 45 minutes. Stir often.

4. Make the chutneys

These chutneys are so simple. All you need to do is mix together the ingredients listed in the recipe card below for each one.

5. Assemble the Coconut Mogo bowls

Add fresh coriander to the stew and stir. Ladle into bowls and top with chutneys, bhajia, crisps and lemon wedges.

Coconut Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Milk) Recipe | How to make East African Muhogo wa Nazi

Yield: 4-6 servings

Coconut Mogo (Cassava in Coconut Milk)

Coconut Mogo recipe east african

Learn how to make Coconut Mogo (East African Cassava in Coconut Milk), known in Swahili as Muhogo wa Nazi. You'll need a handful of store cupboard ingredients to make the tender cassava in spicy coconut sauce. The chutneys are optional but bring this aromatic coconut stew to life.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 L hot water
  • 2 tsp salt for boiling the mogo
  • 1kg frozen mogo (cassava)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 5-6 green chillies, minced
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida (optional, omit if gluten free)
  • 2x 400ml cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 800ml hot water
  • 2 tsp salt, or to your taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp chopped coriander, to garnish

For the chilli mango chutney

  • 200g raw mango
  • 2 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder or sweet paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the fresh coconut chutney

  • 100g fresh coconut, grated
  • 1 small red chilli, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

To sprinkle on top of the coconut mogo

  • 4-6 bags plain salted crisps
  • Lemon wedges
  • Daal bhajia (lentil fritters), or use shop-bought falafel, optional


  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Season with around 2 teaspoons salt. Add the frozen mogo and bring to the boil once more. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a medium heat until the mogo is fork tender, about 25 minutes.
  2. Drain the mogo into a colander and allow the steam to subside. Remove any tough, woody fibres from the mogo and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat the oil in the large cooking pot you used for boiling the mogo. Add the ginger, chillies and asafoetida if using. Sauté for 30 seconds and then pour in the coconut milk and 800ml hot water. Season with salt and lemon juice. Bring to the boil and then add the cooked mogo.
  4. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a medium heat until the mogo softens more and the sauce turns a little thicker, a minimum of 25 minutes or up to 45 minutes. Stir often.
  5. While the mogo simmers, prepare the dry coconut chutney by mixing together the coconut, chilli, salt, sugar and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, stir together the grated raw mango, chilli powder and salt. Refrigerate the chutneys until required.
  6. Garnish with fresh coriander and ladle into bowls. Top with the chutneys, daal bhajia and crushed crisps.


  • This Coconut Mogo tastes best when it's topped with Daal Bhajia (lentil fritters) but in a pinch, you can use cooked falafel (shop-bought is fine). While the falafel do not have the exact same flavours, they do offer a similar texture to bhajia.
  • Make this stew up to 3 days ahead and store in the fridge. Reheat until piping hot before serving.
  • Suitable for home freezing. Defrost at room temperature or in the microwave. Ensure food is piping hot before serving.

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Coconut mogo recipe swahili cassava coconut milk

If you like this, you’ll love my recipe for Mandazi (cardamom doughnuts)

Love Sanjana

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Friday 29th of March 2024

Beautifully done. I would also sprinkle some roasted crushed peanuts.

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