Ikokore, Yes!!! What a lovely recipe to kick-start the New Year with. Happy New Year, before I forget. Trust we all had a wonderful Christmas and new Year celebrations. Mine wasn’t as exciting, been down with a really bad cold for about a week now, getting much better now though. May the New year usher in fruitfulness and glad tidings in all areas of our lives and fulfilment of all our heart desires, Amen!
I digress. Ikokore, also known as Ifokore, is a Nigerian Yam Pottage dish made with Water Yam (Isu Ewura) instead of the normal Puna/ White Yam. It is a pottage recipe from the Ijebu people of Ogun state, Nigeria. I’m yet to come across an Ijebu person who doesn’t love Ikokore, my mum is from Odogbolu, Ogun state and Ikokore remains a staple in our household. To really enjoy Ikokore, you’ll need to incorporate as much proteins as you possibly can to enrich it. Your best bets are Shaki, Ponmo, Chicken, Goat meat, Gizzard, Smoked Turkey, Smoked Fish, Eja Shawa, Panla, Eja Kika, the more the merrier..wink
The authentic Ikokore recipe requires no blended pepper, it calls for just Scotch Bonnet (Ata rodo) and in some cases, dry ground pepper (Ata gungun) but I’m not too keen on hot and spicy dishes so I settle for Shombo (Long red pepper) instead, my mum uses this as well but my grandma says they aren’t needed but we all know Mama can tolerate pepper for Africa.
Ikokore is best enjoyed with on its own or served with Cold Pap or Cold Eba. Let’s cook….
Half Tuber Water yam
2 Cooking spoons Palm Oil
3 Cups Chicken or Beef Stock/ Water
1 Shombo/Tatashe or 3 Tablespoons dry ground pepper (Atagungun)
1-2 Scotch Bonnet (Aa tRodo)
1-2 Smoked Fish (Eja Kika) or Shawa (Bonga fish)Shredded (Optional)
1-2 Pieces Dried Fish (Panla) Shredded (Optional)
2 Cups Shredded cooked Meats (I’m using Shaki and Ponmo)
3 Tablespoons Crayfish
1/2 Cup Smoked Prawns (Optional)
1 Teaspoon Ogiri Ijebu (Fermented Locust Beans)
2 Knorr Chicken Cubes of your preferred bouillon cubes
Salt to taste
Slice your water yam into small pieces. Peel each piece then grate using the smallest part of your grater…
When you’re done grating the Water Yam, add Seasoning or Salt, 1 tablespoon Crayfish and mix together, if you can tolerate hotness, you can add some Pepper as well. Then set aside…
Blend the Shombo/Tatashe and Scotch Bonnet till smooth and set aside. If you’re using just Scotch Bonnet, just blend it on it’s own…
Get a medium size pot and place on a hob on medium heat. When it’s hot, add the palm oil, then the Locust Beans, I forgot to add my Locust Beans at this stage. Sauté the Locust Beans for a minute, then add the blended Pepper, then the Knorr Cubes and Salt to taste. If you’re using Stock, do not add salt as your stock is already seasoned…
Leave to fry till oil floats to the top. This should take 10 minutes thereabouts, stir every now and then to prevent burning…
If you’re using just Dry Ground Pepper or Scotch Bonnet (Ata Rodo), add the Ground pepper or Blended Scotch Bonnet into the palm oil and continue with the other steps, skip the pepper frying process.
Now, add the Chicken /Beef Stock if you’re using any, if you haven’t got Stock, just add water, continue to cook for 2 minutes…
Add the Shredded Cooked Meats, Fish and Smoked Prawns, any other proteins you’re using, then the Ogiri, leave to cook for 10 minutes…
After 10 minutes, remove all the meat and fish from the stew, leaving just the stew in the pot.
Turn the heat down to low, now scoop the grated yam into the stew, do this in both big and small lumps. The small lumps will dissolve in the stew, forming a mushy type consistency while the bigger lumps will create the lumpy Ikokore consistency. Do not stir, leave the contents to boil for 8-10 minutes on low heat…
Then you can stir a bit using a wooden spoon. Stir and break up clumps if you find it too clumpy or leave as it is if you don’t mind, I don’t like mine too clumpy, half and half more like. Now, taste for salt and seasoning, adjust if necessary…
Transfer the cooked meats and fish back into the pot, add the rest of the crayfish and combine gently, be careful when doing this so you don’t break the clumps…
Leave to simmer for 3 – 5 minutes and it’s ready…
Serve Ikokore on its own or with Cold Eba (Eba Tutu), the typical Ijebu way….
Do check out our other Pottage/Pottage style recipes while you’re here;
Click HERE for Yam Pottage Recipe
Click HERE for Yam and Plantain pottage Recipe
Click HERE for Ripe Plantain Pottage Recipe
Click HERE for Unripe Plantain Pottage Recipe.