Like the title says, Ikokore is a water yam dish, almost like a porridge. It’s origins are amongst the Ijebus of the Southwestern part of Nigeria. In Nigeria, water yam has its season when it’s usually more available and this is around September.
Here, water yam is also known as ‘Puerto Rico yam,’ and if you can’t find it in the African stores, head on over to the Asian or Hispanic stores. Water yam is of a gummy consistency; it draws, kinda like Okra.
How to make, here’s what you’ll need:
2 s water yams OR 1 m water yam
1 m red bell pepper
2 m tomatoes
2 scotch bonnet peppers/ habaneros
1 s red onion
1/2 cup canola+palm oil
2 knorr cubes
1 tbsp Goya Adobo seasoning w/ cumin
1 cup dried fish/ shawa
1.5 cups water
(I used the 2 yams on the left, had some left over and made Ojojo)
1. Peel skin off water yam. Cut into large chunks.
2. Grate using the smallest side of a grater.
3. Beat/mix with your hands and set aside.
4. Blend your red bell pepper, tomatoes, habanero and onions. Add 1/2 cup water (you want a watery mix); blend thoroughly.
5. Heat oil mix in pot over medium heat. Add blended mix. Let cook over medium heat for 15 minutes.
6. While pepper is cooking, pour hot water over dried fish. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drain water and remove as many bones as you can.
7. Tear into smaller pieces with your fingers and add to boiling pepper, stir. Add seasonings to boiling pepper, stir.
(At this point, if your pepper mix is too thick, add one cup water). Let cook another 5 minutes still over medium heat. Reduce heat to low.
8. With a tablespoon or your hands (I used my hands), add scoops of the grated yam to the boiling pepper. At this point, DO NOT mix so the yam can set.
9. Increase heat to medium-low and let cook another 15 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to stir gently so fish and yam mix evenly. (If you made the scoops too big, get a tad rough with it and lightly mash the yams to get it to cook evenly.) Let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Turn off heat, let stand a few minutes before serving.
Ikokore can be eaten alone as it usually is, but I have to have my meat, so I served it with fried chicken stew.
If you’re not a fish fan, omit it and add something you prefer, you could boil some shaki/meat/chicken separately and add it to the boiling pepper (replacing the fish in the recipe steps), so that way you have kinda like a one-pot meal with no need for sides.