Ikokore (Ikókóré) – Water Yam Porridge

Ikókóré: This dish is popular in western Nigeria with the Yoruba (Ijebu-Ode). This is a hearty meal and is usually eaten in the afternoon or early in the evening (4pm – 7pm). The main ingredient in this dish is “Water Yam”. The final texture of this dish is similar to a pudding or porridge. So why did I attempt this dish, well, I had embarked on a journey to Atlanta to spend the weekend with my family (or was it a journey of the soul). So, I am at my sister’s place and someone had brought some mackerel to the house; the first thing that came to my mind was home (home sweet home) and the Ikokore my mom used to make. That said, my journey of the soul now became an adventure. I dashed off to the farmers market and low and behold they had water yam (praise the almighty God… LOL). I was also able to get mackerel from the seafood department (I could not use the ones in the house because its purpose in life had been chosen from when they were just fish eggs. In short, I was under special mandate from the president not to touch them). I am finally home, where do I start…

Type: Regular Meal.

Ingredients: Here is what you need: serves 6 – 10

  • Water Yam (3 yams) (see picture below)
  • Any (edible) Vegetable Leaf (I used spinach – at least 1/2 a bunch)
  • Meat (fish is preferred but you can use chicken or beef)
  • Water (5 cups)
  • Palm Oil (1/2 cup. You can substitute with Vegetable oil)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • Spices (curry, garlic, seasoning cubes)

Special Utensils:

  • Grater or food processor


Before we start cooking we need to do the following.

  • Clean and cut the fish (meat) and put it aside.
  • Also, clean the vegetable, chop it into tiny chunks and put it aside for later.
  • Using a knife, peel the skin off the yams and wash them afterwards.
  • Using the grater or food processor, grate the yams into a mush (see picture below).

Now let the cooking begin…

  • Cook the fish (meat) in a pot of boiling water. Add salt and seasoning cubes.
  • Note: if you are using palm oil, add it to the step above (the longer palm oil cooks along with food the better the taste).
  • Once the fish (meat) is about 3/4 done, add the remaining ingredients like pepper, curry and any other spices you choose to use. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the processed yams to the pot stirring the mix every 2 minutes. This process should take about 20 minutes on semi-high heat or until the yam is fully cooked.
  • Now add the chopped vegetables, reduce the heat an allow to to simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, allow to sit for a few minutes and then serve.

Thats it. Serve while hot/warm. This is probably my Nigerian side talking but I personally prefer to eat the part that is almost burnt. This is the part of the meal that is in direct contact with the pot surface.


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