Ikokore -Water Yam Pottage

There's no way I'm starting this blog without Ikokore being one of the recipes I share with you first. As an Ijebu girl, I have eaten Ikokore all my life. Even when my family was far away from home, mum made sure to take us home. Preparing and eating Ikokore means going home for us. Ikokore is such a delight. I am yet to see a ceremony organised by the Ijebu people where this dish isn't served first thing in the morning.

Ikokore, also called Ifokore, is a Nigerian Yam Pottage dish made with Water Yam, it's usual accompaniment are dry or smoked fish, ponmo and other proteins of choice. Oh I love to debone fish for Ikokore; especially dry shawa fish. That one with the thick skin, I get to throw some in my mouth and I like how the taste lingers in my mouth for some time. That fish, sincerely takes Ikokore to a whole new level. Though expensive, a little goes a long way. Correct Ikokore only needs just Scotch Bonnet (Ata rodo) or dry ground pepper (Ata gigun).

At home, we always made sure to have cold eba ready before Ikokore is done; if there was no leftover from the night before, we quickly made some before the preparation of Ikokore starts. This is to allow the eba get cold before eating. Cold eba compliments Ikokore perfectly.

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes


Medium-sized tuber water yam
4 cooking spoons palm oil
2 cups of meat broth (if available)
3 Tablespoons dry ground pepper
1 cup of smoked mackerel or any smoked fish of choice (shredded)
1 cup of diced beef or offal
2 tablespoons of crayfish
1/2 cup of dried prawns (Optional)
Half cup of brown ponmo (cow skin)
1 teaspoon Ogiri Ijebu (Fermented Locust Beans) for extra flavour
2 cubes of your preferred stock cubes
Salt- to taste

First, cut the water yam into smaller pieces, a size you can hold easily. Peel and grate using a grater with the smallest holes. Once you're done with grating, add a few pinches of salt and mix. Be careful, just a little salt.

Now add some 3 cups of water in a large pot, (reduce water if you're using broth so your food doesn't get watery). In it, add the dry ground pepper. If you’re using scotch bonnet, simple blend it and add to water.

Add stock cubes, salt to taste. You want to reduce the quantity of stock cubes and salt if you’re using broth from your meat to avoid over seasoning your food. Add fish, meat, ponmo, prawns and any other proteins you’re using; add the ogiri and leave to boil for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, remove all the meat and fish from the broth and set aside.
Turn down the heat of your stove now.  Begin to scoop the grated yam in big lumps into the broth as some of the lumps get dissolved in the broth during the cooking process. Return your proteins into the pot, spread evenly on top.

Try not to stir to avoid your Ikokore burning before it gets done. Leave to cook on low heat for another 10 minutes.

Using a wooden spoon, stir gently and check if lumps are all done.  Check for salt as well and adjust if need be. Break lumps if they appear too big.

Now add the palm oil on top and leave to simmer 5 minutes. Gently incorporate the oil afterwards. Ikokore is now ready. Now is a good time to reveal that cold eba if you'll be using it or you can just serve Ikokore on its own.
Are you going to try out this recipe? Do let me know how it turns out. Also share your Ikokore experience with me in the comment section.

Ikokore -Water Yam Pottage Ikokore -Water Yam Pottage Reviewed by Remi on 16:08 Rating: 5

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