Ikokore or Ifokore is a sumptuous yam pottage delicacy mostly eaten by the Ijebu of Ogun State. Even though I am a proud Ijebu girl there is no bias when I say iIkokore is one of the most exquisite native dishes in Nigeria.
My first ikokore experience was delightfully blissful.
My caterer mum, one day, brought home tubers of yam. As you may already know, I don’t like yam, so I was slightly miffed that we were going to be having it for dinner. She later explained to me the tubers were actually water yam , not regular ones but I was still not interested. Then she prepared a mean pot of water yam pottage , which she told me was called ikokore, and the sight of the food only further discouraged me from eating it. After watching my mum and sisters gobble down the meal with so much ardour , I couldn’t help but give in to curiosity. So I decided to have a taste.
I served myself a small portion and the very first bite of ikokore left me shocked at how delicious the dish was. Not only is Ikokore very yummy, it is also rich in taste and quite satisfying.
Ikokore is quite akin to Ekpang Nkukwo, a native dish which originates from Cross River and Akwa Ibom States of Nigeria. The difference is Ekpang Nkukwo is made from grated coco yams or water yams or a mixture of both, and then rolled in ugwu or coco yam leaves.
- 1 tuber of Water yam
- A cup of Red Crayfish
- Smoked/dry fish
- Palm oil
- Ground/ Cameroun pepper
- Seasoning and Salt to taste
First step is to slice and peel the skin of the yam and cut into a big pot of water.
Then use a grater to grate the yam into a separate bowl. Water yam is slimy in nature, so there might be some discomfort when grating. N.B Water Yam tends to cause an itchy reaction on the skin except the hands, so ensure to grate with caution. If it happens to touch any part of your body, rub palm oil to stop the itch.
When you are done grating , you may notice some discolouration in your water yam. Do not fret, this is the nature of water yam and it doesn’t affect its taste. I was lucky to get really good yam, so my grated paste was white.
Now wash the smoked fish and red crayfish, cut to pieces and set aside.
Put some water in a big pot on fire ( the amount of water should be in proportion with the quantity of the grated water yam), add salt , seasoning, ground pepper and the crayfish, smoked fish , then allow to boil.
- Once it has boiled for some minutes, pour some palm oil in the water and allow to boil again.
Also add some salt and seasoning to the grated water yam to ensure it has some taste since it’s going to be in lumps.
Start adding scoops of the water yam paste shaped like balls into the boiling water. You can use the hollow of your washed hand for this or a spoon to achieve this. The bigger the balls, the chunkier your Ikokore
The water yam paste will float to the top once you add it to the water, cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
Stir with wooden spoon so the balls don’t scatter and add some more crayfish.
Allow to simmer and voila! your mouthwatering Ikokore is ready to be served.
The Ijebu folks usually eat ikokore with cold eba but that is when it’s in its more liquid form.
Would you try some ikokore today?