Water Yam Recipe: How to cook water yam porridge- ikokore, otoh

Photo of Water Yam Recipe: How to cook water yam porridge- ikokore, otoh

Water yam is a different specie of yam from dioscorea alata family; it tastes almost similar like the common white yam and has a watery slimy texture when peeled. Water yam is a tuberous vegetable which is also known for its many uses, it can be used as a thickener in other dishes like ekpang- nkukwo, soups, boiled and eaten with stew or sauce, made into chips, pottage, cupcakes, water yam flour, it can beprepared as yam fritters(ojojo) and it can also be prepared as otoh (water yam porridge).

Water yam porridge (otoh ebere, ikokore) is a native delicacy often prepared by Calabar or Akwa ibom people, it is a simple rich porridge with a savoury texture similar to ekpang nkukwo. The Calabar or akwa Ibom native name for water yam porridge is otoh ebere, however, the south western parts of Nigeria also prepare similar water yam porridge and they call it Ikokore. The only difference between water yam porridge (otoh ebere, Ikokore) and ekpang nkukwo is that, only water yam is used to prepare otoh or ikokore while both water yam and cocoyam corms are used together to prepare Ekpang nkukwo, and this water yam porridge can be prepared in two different ways- 1, using the banana porridge (ekpang nkukwo mboro) method.

The banana porridge method of preparing water yam porridge is a straight forward method, as you only need to grate the water yam and season it with salt and stock cube, then cut the grated paste into beef or fish stock and allow it to boil and become a lumpy porridge; while the porridge is boiling, it can be further seasoned with crayfish, knorr cubes, pepper, onions, and salt among other things.

The 2nd method is the cocoyam porridge method (ekpang- knukwo), this particular method takes a little time as you have grate and wrap the grated water yam paste with spinach, lettuce or with fluted pumpkin leaves (ugwu) and it is further cooked in meat or fish broth and then seasoned with different condiment including fish until the grated yam is well cooked.

Picture of water yam
Picture of water yam

 

One major thing you shouldnt forget while cooking water yam porridge (otoh, ikokore) is to add periwinkles, periwinkles are my best ingredients to porridges like banana porridge, plantain porridge and cocoyam porridge, because they add a lot of volumes to these porridges including the water yam porridge, you tend to enjoy and eat itmore when you use shelled periwinkles to make these porridges. You can also include periwinkles in many African soups like Afang soupEditan soupAtama- abakEdikaikong soup and the likes.

Picture showing cut water yam
Picture showing cut water yam

 

Ingredients for preparing water yam porridge (otoh ebere or ikokore

  1. 1 medium size water yam tuber
  2. 2 cups shelled periwinkles, dressed and washed in salted water
  3. 1 cup crayfish, blended
  4. 1 medium onions, chopped
  5. 4 scotch bonnet peppers, blended
  6. 3 chicken stock cubes, crushed
  7. 3 cloves garlic, blended (optional)
  8. 3 pieces of African nutmeg, blended (optional)
  9. 3 cooking spoons palm oil
  10. 1 medium size kpomo/ cows hide, cut into thin sizes
  11. Assorted fish, or beef, I used both iced and dried fish (use as you want)
  12. 1 handful uziza leaves or basil (scent leaves for garnishing), chopped
  13. bunch of green lettuce for wrapping the grated water yam
  14. 2 cups of hot water or meat stock
  15. Salt to taste.
Ingredients for cooking water yam porridge
Ingredients for cooking water yam porridge

 

Steps on how to make water yam porridge

  1. Peel water yam, cut into smaller chunks and rinse with water
  2. Using a hand grater, grate the cut water yam into a smooth paste into a large bowl
  3. Sprinkle the water yam paste with salt and 1 seasoning cube, mix and set aside.
  4. Rinse the lettuce or any vegetable you are using and remove the stalks
  5. Tear the lettuce leaves into smaller strips (the size of basil leaves will do)
  6. Scope a table spoon of grated water yam into the striped leaf and wrap it cylindrically like a mat and drop into a large pot.
  7. Repeat the process until you have use up all the grated water yam paste. Place the pot on a stove pour hot water over it or if you have meat broth you can replace it with hot water and do not stir yet. When the content starts to boil, add periwinkles, fish, crayfish, 2 stock cubes, pepper, garlic, nutmeg and cover the lid to boil properly for 5 minutes.
  8. Add 3 cooking spoons of palm oil and let it cook for 3 minutes, after 3 minutes stir the porridge with a wooden spoon and let it cook for 15 minutes on a medium heat. The water yam porridge should not be too thick, make sure you add more hot water if you notice it very thick.
  9. Come back to the porridge and stir it thoroughly, add chopped basil or uzuza leaves, stir and taste for salt, cover the lid and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  10. Put off heat and serve your water yam (otoh ebere) on its own while it is hot.

Simple steps to cook water yam porridge

  1. Peel water yam, cut into smaller chunks and rinse with clean water
Rinse the water yam before grating
Rinse the water yam before grating

 

2. Using a hand grater, grate the entire cut water yam into a smooth paste in a large, you can use a food processor to achieve this, it will make it simple and faster.

Grating of water yam
Grating of water yam

 

3. Sprinkle the water yam paste with salt and 1 seasoning cube, mix and set aside.

Grated water yam
Grated water yam

 

Lettuce for wrapping water yam paste
Lettuce for wrapping water yam paste

 

4. Rinse the lettuce or any vegetable you are using and remove the stalks. Tear the lettuce leaves into smaller sizes (the size of basil leaves will do).

Process of wrapping water yam paste with lettuce
Process of wrapping water yam paste with lettuce

 

5. Scope a table spoon of grated water yam into the leaf and wrap it cylindrically and drop into a large pot, just fold it the way you would have folded a mat; the water yam paste may stick out at both ends of the leaf, but no worries; that is how it is supposed to be.

6. Repeat the process until you have use up all the grated water yam paste. Place the pot on a stove and pour hot water over it or if you have meat broth you can replace it with the hot water. When the content starts to boil, add periwinkles, fish, crayfish, 2 stock cubes, pepper, garlic, nutmeg and cover the lid to boil properly for 5 minutes.

Water Yam Recipe: How to cook water yam porridge- ikokore, otoh

 

Once you are done wrapping the water yam paste, place the pot on a stove add hot water or meat stock and bring to a boil
Once you are done wrapping the water yam paste, place the pot on a stove add hot water or meat stock and bring to a boil

 

7. Add 3 cooking spoons of palm oil and let it cook for 3 minutes, after 3 minutes stir the porridge with a wooden spoon and let it cook for 15 minutes on a medium heat. The water yam porridge should not be too thick, make sure you add more hot water if you notice it becoming very thick.

Add all the necessary ingredients to the water yam porridge
Add all the necessary ingredients to the water yam porridge

 

8. Come back to the porridge and stir it thoroughly, add chopped basil or uzuza leaves, stir and taste for salt, cover the lid and let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir porridge thoroughly to combine and taste for salt and adjust if it is necessary
Stir porridge thoroughly to combine and taste for salt and adjust if it is necessary

 

After adding the chopped vegetable to the water yam porridge, stir to spread the vegetable
After adding the chopped vegetable to the water yam porridge, stir to spread the vegetable

 

9. Put off heat and serve your water yam (otoh ebere or ikokore) with spoon on its own while it is hot.

Get your spoon ready to enjoy your water yam porridge
Get your spoon ready to enjoy your water yam porridge

 

Tasty water yam porridge. Bonapptit!
Tasty water yam porridge. Bonapptit!

 

For water yam nutritional value see here and to know more about health benefits of water yam click here read more.

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