Ikokore (Water Yam Porridge), also called Ifokore, is a mouth-watering delicacy common among the Ijebu part of the Yoruba tribe, stemming from Ogun State, Nigeria. It is made wholly from water yam and when cooked, looks like a stew. The Ijebus love to gobble it down hot or pair it with cold pap (eko) or Eba.
To cook this meal, all you need is water yam and every other ingredient necessary to cook your porridge (palm oil, seasoning and salt, fish, beef, shrimps, cow skin, locust beans, etc). Peel the water yam, cut it into medium chunks, wash thoroughly, grate and then set aside. Boil your dried pepper, dried fish already boiled beef, shrimps and cowskin all together, adding desired seasoning cubes and locust beans (or ogiri).
Now, reduce the intensity of the fire, add some salt to the grated water yam and beat thoroughly, then scoop the yam in lumps to the boiling soup. Add palm oil and salt to taste and leave to cook for up to 10 minutes. Stir a bit using a wooden spoon to break up clumps if you find it too clumpy or leave as it is and yay, your tasty Ikokore is ready.
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Now you need to preach the Ikokore gospel to the people you know who do not eat this nourishing food because they surely are missing a lot, ranging from the taste to the health benefits they can derive from the meal. Let’s examine below 5 of the benefits derived from eating the local dish.
- Blood sugar regulation: Water yam isdigested and absorbed slowly by the body and so does not cause blood sugar spikes. By this, it helps to regulate the sugar level in the body and makes the meal a recommendable diet for the diabetic.
- Weight Management: Ikokore is low in calories, making it a perfect food for weight reduction and management.
- Bone Growth: Vitamin C in water yam plays many roles in bone growth and immune function. Vitamin C appears to stimulate the cells that build bone, enhance calcium absorption, and enhance vitamin D’s effect on bone metabolism
- Aid Digestion and Bowel: the rich content of Fibre in the delicacy helps to improve digestive health and metabolism, working constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Body detoxification: the meal is also rich in antioxidants that help to flush out toxins in the body. They reduce damage by free radicals in the body and slowing down the effects of aging. They also have anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In folk medicine, water yam has been used as a laxative and worm expeller, and as a treatment for fever, gonorrhea, leprosy, tumours, and inflamed hemorrhoids.