How to Make Akamu/Ogi from Scratch

Cooked Pap

Akamu is that breakfast porridge with a distinctive sour taste. It is made from dried corn, sorghum or millet, it is a very popular breakfast in Nigeria and I'm yet to learn of a tribe here that doesn't drink akamu. The different names this popular porridge is called include ogi, koko and akamu.

This popular Nigerian breakfast is so great for cold days and usually goes with either akara or moimoi. It's the rainy season and I know the demand for pap usually increases around this time. The process for making babies' brown pap (oka baba) is no different from this, only that the red variety of sorghum is substituted for corn. I for one don't mind oka baba, it's not like there's a law that says it's strictly for babies. I usually just change between corn, millet and sorghum every month. For my pap, I used one paint plastic of dried white corn. That's 4 or 5 litres depending on the type of measuring plastic being used.

Soaked Corn

Remove stones and blow off chaff from the corn. Some people just pour the corn right into water; the chaff immediately floats to the top of the water which can easily be removed. The stones (if any) settle beneath the corn, you can easily sort this when washing.

Pour the corn in a large bowl of water and let it soak for 3-4 days. You may change the water every other day to prevent it from giving off some offensive smell.

By day 3, you can check to see if the corn is soft enough to be taken to the mill. The grains should break easily when you either bite on it or by simply cutting with the finger nails.

Making sure the corn softens really well is important to achieve a smooth puree when blended.

Now drain off some water from the soaked corn and scoop out the corn from the remaining water. You should wash at this time if you haven't already done so.

Ready for the mill
Finely blended corn

Pour the corn into a bucket big enough to contain the puree after blending. You may add ginger and cloves if you desire. Cover and take to mill for grinding in a heavy duty blender. The consistency should be smooth.

At home, pour the puree in a large basin, add about 10 litres of water and mix with your hand. Make sure to dissolve the thick paste in the water, add more water if it's still thick. You want to achieve a thin consistency.

I have added more water here to make it thin

Get cheesecloth (which you must have washed before now) and another basin or large bucket. Begin to scoop the blended corn in small batches into the cheesecloth. Sieve until the content of the cheesecloth hardens, squeeze to extract more filtrate. You may still rinse the cheesecloth in another clean water to extract more corn meal. Remove the chaff and repeat the process until you're done.

Almost immediately after sieving, you will notice the content begin to congeal. It starts to come together like Ogi but the process isn't complete yet.

If you have Ogi in other containers from rinsing a second time, turn everything into one large bowl and cover. Let that sit for 24 hours. I usually leave for two days, this helps to achieve the distinctive sour taste associated with pap.
Some people even let it sit for much longer so it gets really tangy and tart.

 It is normal to find bubbles when you open the bowl after a few days, you will also perceive that smell of fermentation.

Here's my pap, settling nicely
Carefully drain the water on the Ogi and what you have is very thick pap. At this point the pap is ready to be used. If you insert a finger at this time, it should resist it.
Excess  water all gone

You may further drain the akamu of excess water by using a cheesecloth, but I usually just turn the paste into a storage plastic and more water settles on it until it hardens.
I store my Ogi in the freezer and it lasts for over one month.You may share the Ogi into sizable portions for easy use.

Pap, turned into a storage plastic

If you are thinking that this is a lot of work, it's not. Maybe I should say I don't see it that way, plus I don't get to do this all the time. The only part I find that a lot of people complain about is sieving, but I really don't mind because I get so much and I'm sure of what's going into my stomach. Another thing is that it gets really annoying on days when you've planned to buy akamu from mama who hawks every morning, only for her not to show up on the exact day you need it. Besides, I know how much it will cost to buy in bits, so this is cost effective.
If you want to be like me, save cost and be in control of what you eat, I wrote this recipe for you. Try this and make sure you share your results with me.

More pap! Everything couldn't fit into the first plastic. Look at how thick that is.

How to Make Akamu/Ogi from Scratch How to Make Akamu/Ogi from Scratch Reviewed by Remi on 00:03 Rating: 5

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