How to make Ikokore: A recipe for the Ijebu staple dish….

Image ref: Sisi Jemima

Just like every other culture, the Yoruba people in (South West) Nigeria enjoy a meal that has been adopted by other tribes. Specifically, the people of Ijebu, from Ogun state Nigeria enjoy this as their staple food – Ikokore (pronounced E-cor-cor-reh), also known as Ifokore (Pronounced E-four-cor-reh).

Ikokore is almost like the savoury yam pottage, but unlike the classic Yam pottage, Ikokore is made with another specie of Yam called “Water yam”. The outter part of this yam is very hairy (full of dried small stems), and when it is cut, the surface is very slimy. The yam, because of its watery nature, is grated and cooked in a very rich and delicious pepper and fishy stock till it cooks and forms lumps. The natives enjoy this meal so much it is a must-serve meal during celebrations.

Image ref: 24hrsmarket

The way the Youruba’s rave about this dish shows it is a truly amazing and if you want something extra special, serve the dish alongside Eba or garri (dried and grated cassava flour).

So, how can this awesome meal be made?

Ingredients (To serve 2 people);

  • Water yam.
  • Smoked fish – locally known as Eja Kika.  
  • Other species of smoked fish – locally known as Eja Sawa or Eja Agbodo.
  • Locus Bean- locally referred to as Iru (If you want the flavour).
  • 2 pieces of red bell pepper – locally known as Tatashe.
  • 2 pieces of scotch bonnet or habanero pepper – locally known as Ata rodo.
  • Chicken/Beef Stock.
  • Palm OIl.
  • Crayfish.
  • Salt.
  • Seasoning cube.


Step 1: Cut, peel and blend your water yam till almost smooth.

Image ref: Donney’sKitchen

Step 2: Add Seasoning or Salt, Crayfish and mix together, then set aside.

Step 3: Blend the pepper until smooth and set aside. (If you’re using just scotch bonnet, just blend it on its own.)

Step 4: Heat your pot and add the palm oil, followed by the Locust Beans (iru).

Step 5: Add the blended pepper, then your seasoning and salt to taste.

Image ref: SisiJemimah

Step 6: Stir every now and then to prevent burning.

Step 7: Add the Chicken /Beef Stock if you’re using any. But if you haven’t got Stock, just add water, continue to cook for about two minutes.

Step 7: Now scoop the grated yam into the sauce, in both big and small lumps. These small lumps will dissolve in the stew, making it thick while the bigger lumps will create the lumpy consistency. That is the Ikokore!

Do not stir yet. Leave the contents to boil for between 8-10 minutes on low heat.

Step 8: Stir briefly and gently using a wooden spoon. As you stir, break lumps if you find them inconsistent until you’re satisfied with the look and then taste for salt and seasoning.

Step 9: Add your already cooked fish and your choice of protein.

Leave to simmer for 3 – 5 minutes and it is ready!

Serve Ikokore on its own or with Cold Eba.

This is a simple meal you can try. If you can’t find water yam in your community, visit an online raw food market and you’ll have it delivered. When you make it, do share your pictures with us on our social media platforms.

Warning: Water yam is known cause an itchy reaction if it touches any part of your body except for your hands. So, be careful when grating and don’t allow any part of it to touch the rest of your body. But should by accident it does, rub palm oil on the affected area to stop the itch. 

What nutritious dish do you enjoy in your community? Do share the recipe with us in the comment section.

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