Ikokore, also known as water yam porridge, is a delicious meal that normally makes the menu at parties across the south-west part of Nigeria. And why not? This Ijebu delicacy is not just finger-licking good; it is also very nutritious and healthy.

Its primary ingredient, water yam, is cultivated for food and medicine.

How easy is Ikokore recipe?

Ikokore (sometimes referred to as ifokore) is quite easy to prepare. Adding a lot of protein is one key trick to making a tasty ikokore dish. Yes, every animal-sourced protein is on the list of ingredients—beef, chicken, crayfish, smoked catfish, periwinkles, crabs, lobster, goat meat, kpomo and so on.

Ingredients for ikokore recipe

  • Water yam
  • Palm oil
  • Beef, fish or chicken stock/sauce
  • Any pepper of your choice (Nsukka peppers, shombo, tatashi, chilli and/or dried peppers)
  • Dried or smoked fish (bonga fish, stockfish and/or wild catfish)
  • Chopped fresh panla fish or scumbia fish (optional)
  • Kpomo
  • Periwinkles
  • Ground crayfish
  • Lobsters and prawns (optional)
  • Local seasoning—iru or ogiri Ijebu or okpei. (They are made from fermented locust beans)
  • Any seasoning cubes of your choice
  • Salt.

A step-by-step guide on how to prepare ikokore

Step 1

Peel the water yam. Wash the yam properly and grind into a pulp. Alternatively, you can use the tiniest section of your grater.

The pulp is often very slimy. Take care to ensure that the bowl doesn’t slip off your hands.

Step 2

Place a clean pot on the fire. Add two to three glasses of water, if you are using up to half a tuber of water yam.

Allow the water to boil before you add a drizzle of palm oil. Do not use too much oil. Allow the oil to simmer properly,

Step 3

Pour in your steamed beef or chicken. De-bone your fish and pour in as well. Sprinkle generous quantities of crayfish into the cooking pot. Add your pepper and chicken/beef stock sauce and allow to cook for twelve to fifteen minutes.

Step 4 (Optional)

You can choose to scoop out your meat and fish from the pot to be readied when the meal is almost completely cooked. If, however, you choose to leave your meat or fish in the pot, don’t be surprised to find them half-burned and stuck to the bottom of the pot. Ikokore isn’t the kind of dish you stir as it cooks.

Step 5

Sprinkle salt and seasoning cubes into the bowl of grated water yams. Mix the seasoning into the pulp.

Step 6
Spoon lumps of water yam into the pot. Keep adding the water yam in lumps, so that they can simmer as separate balls.

Replace the lid of the pot. Let it cook for ten minutes.

Step 7

Pour in your chopped fish, kpomo, shaki, periwinkle and more ground crayfish. Taste the mixture and decide whether you want to add more pepper and salt.

If you took out your meat/fish/innards, now is the time to put them back.

Reset the cooker so that the flamer is lower. The ikokore should be cooking at a lower temperature at this point. Cover the lid of the pot and allow to cook for five more minutes.

Serve while steaming hot.


Whatever you do, resist the temptation to stir the porridge. The most important tip to note when learning how to prepare Ikokore is this: Water yam porridge cooks itself. Your porridge will come out well if you follow the tips in our ikokore recipe.

Now we have learned this simple ikokore recipe, It is time to figure out how best to plate and serve it.

It is important to note that ikokore is best served:

  • With corn pap
  • With oatmeal porridge
  • With eba or garri
  • With oats fufu

This simple ikokore recipe should make for a great weekend lunch! Have fun learning how to cook this delicious porridge.

This article was first published on AfricaParent.com

Photo credit: Sisi Jemimah

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