Ikokore-Ifokore (Ekpang of The Southwest)

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I can boldly say this is the biggest hack since Ekpang. Ekpang to the Efiks, is Ikokore or Ifokore (depending on the dialect) to the Yoruba’s(the Ijebu people to be precise)Ikokore; one of the cuilinary jewels of southwestern Nigeria, is a water yam pottage minus the cocoyam, water leaves/spinach and periwinkles.

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This is water yam

I have to say I really like Ikokore. it is a one pot meal that just melts in your mouth and is  heavenly delicious

Way before I started blogging, I used to hear about Ikokore and I would turn up my nose and ask myself “who is doing this?” I made up my mind that I was not grating yam for any reason 🙂 I used to be scared of raw yam; still am. My oh my, once it touches my skin, it itches. Until the day I heard that I can actually use my blender/food processor to break down the yam, I never fancied making Ikokore or yam fritters  . Well, one day I had spoken to Sisi Kemi about her Egusi Ijebu recipe as well as Ikokore. She talked me through it and I put my spin on it and made my first plate and I fell in love with Ikokore since then. It was the mix of the dry fish, fresh peppers and crayfish that did some kind of magic to the meal. Kai! 🙂

I am  fascinated with local Nigerian dishes. I have now moved from cooking simply “rice and stew” to having simple varieties weekly.

Anyway, I decided to make Ikokore for the second time in order to share it with you guys, but there I was in the kitchen yapping away with mommy and I mistakenly pureed the yam instead of simply blending it. I was so angry with myself because I know that with Ikokore, you do not want to smoothly blend the yam. It should be in a thick and viscos paste. You may use the small side of a grater or a food processor. Not only was I mad at myself for the pureed yam, I was also upset that I would not be eating any Ikokore that evening 🙂 *rolls eyes

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Properly blended water yam


Grated water yam. Image, courtesy of Remmy

Like I earlier said, I  mistakenly pureed my yam; which I could not use. I had to get another small tuber and do it the right way and from there, everything was fine. I guess I was over thinking the whole thing, but it took this mistake to perfect my recipe. Not only did my guest love it, but the kids and I also did. I have been on team #fitfam with my friend Zita of inspiring healthy lifestyles  for the past week, so I was sure to have a small portion which I ate pretty slowly, because as good as the yam tasted, I would have had seconds on a normal day 🙂

You may check Zita out. She does a great job with the take ya shape crew. And for the next week, I will be taking my shape! For now I shall keep dreaming and reminiscing about my pot of Ikokore 🙂

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And back to the recipe

Ikokore-Ifokore (Ekpang of The Southwest)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • I medium sized water yam(peeled, cut and soaked in cold water)
  • ½ lb goat meat
  • A handful of shaki (beef tripe)
  • (any kind of meat works)
  • 1 large dry or smoked fish(soaked and washed)
  • 4 Habanero peppers or ata-rodo(crushed)
  • 1 tbsp. of dry pepper
  • 2 tbsps. dry grounded crayfish
  • 100mls of palm oil
  • Bouillon (optional)
  • salt to taste
  1. Grate the yam with the small side of a grater or use a blender. Stir some salt into the yam to season and set aside.
  2. Chop the meats into bite sizes and place in a pot. Season with the dry pepper, 1 tbsp. of the grounded crayfish, salt, and a bouillon if you want. Pour water to the level of the meats and cook until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meats from the pot, add some more water if needed; along with the oil and habanero peppers. boil for 2-3 minutes; then using a tbsp. or your hand, add the grated yam into the boiling water in dollops. Once you add the yam, each dollop should float to the top(do not stir). Reduce the heat and let the yam cook for about 5 minutes; then add the meats, dry fish and the remaining crayfish(do not stir). Cook for another 5 minutes and set aside
When cooking this meal, you do not stir the pot. If you wish, you could shake it a bit to distribute the ingredients



  1. Zita Bernice Tiena says:

    Chai Nma, you have watered my mouth with this food dioooo diarisGod ooo. It actually got me thinking of how to cook pottage without the red oil or so not so much. I want to try out yam pottage and was thinking of using a lot of fresh tomatoes and red tatashe…I hope it will work ooo. Any advice before I go and mess up the only yam I have at home?

    • Nma Okpara says:

      Hi Zita. I use coconut oil; about a tbsp. or you may use red bell peppers. If you are making the regular yam pottage, tomatoes would work too. just keep stirring when you add it into the pot. I hope this helps

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