Experience the delightful flavors of akamu, a staple in most Nigerian homes. This nutritious and flavorful fermented porridge is perfect for breakfast, or even as a wholesome snack!
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This is one of those recipes that I always come back to! Mostly because of how delicious, nutritious, and easy to prepare it is! If you have had akamu before, then you probably know what I am talking about!
what is akamu (ogi)
Akamu is a popular Nigerian cornmeal porridge that has a similar appearance to British custard. It is made from fermented maize (corn), sorghum, or millet grains and goes by many names, such as pap, akamu (for the Igbos), koko (Hausa), or ogi (for the Yorubas). The process of making akamu involves soaking the maize or sorghum grains and allowing them to ferment for a couple of days. These are then ground and sieved into a fine paste. The resulting mixture is cooked to a desired porridge-like consistency and enjoyed as breakfast or a light meal.
Nowadays, many people in Nigeria opt to purchase the pre-made starch to simplify and speed up the preparation. This starch is then used to make the ogi (akamu) at home. Outside of Nigeria, you can get it in most online shops.
benefits of akamu
Just like me, you're probably aware of the many benefits that akamu has. Along with African corn-based dishes such as ugali and sadza, it's one of those dishes ingrained in your upbringing, with your mother and aunties emphasizing its goodness for your growth and overall health.
And yes, they were right, it is good for you, especially the akamu made using biofortified cereal! Akamu offers a range of benefits worth exploring:-
- Nutritional value: it is a good source of nutrients such as carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and protein. It also contains vitamins and minerals like niacin, thiamine, and iron.
- Energy: Pap is an excellent source of carbohydrate, one of nutrients that the body strongly relies on for adequate energy.
- Digestive health: The fermentation process involved in making akamu can increase its probiotic content. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support gut health and aid in digestion.
- Improved nutrient absorption: Fermentation breaks down complex compounds in akamu, making nutrients more easily absorbable by the body. This can enhance the bioavailability of certain vitamins and minerals.
- Easy to digest: It is a soft and easily digestible food, making it suitable for individuals with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues.
- Weaning: due to its light consistency, it is perfect as a weaning food. With this said, it is important to ensure the akamu has been prepared under hygenic standards to prevent it developing harmful pathogens that could cause illness in babies.
- Phytochemicals: maize has been shown to have antioxidant properties demonstrating significant beneficial contribution in reducing the risk of many diseases.
Related recipes: For more tasty African dishes, don't forget to check out our samaki wa kupaka (fish in coconut sauce) and omena recipes! Interested in useful reads? Then refer to our guides on the health benefits of omena as well as the health benefits of saluyot (ewedu)
This is a summary of the ingredients you will need to make ogi (pap), as well as possible options for substitution. See the full measurements in the recipe card provided below.
- raw akamu paste - feel free to use white or yellow maize, millet, or even sorghum! The colour of your pap will then vary, depending on the cereal you choose to use. You can use ready-made ogi from the market, or simply make your own akamu from scratch as shown in this video.
- water - here, you will need some room-temparature water to mix the raw pap, as well as some hot boiling water for cooking it.
- sugar (optional) - to sweeten the porridge. You can also top your akamu with evaporated or condensed milk when serving, but this is also optional.
how to make akamu
This is a summary of how to make akamu. You will find the detailed recipe with the time and temperature in the recipe card below.
- Mix raw pap with cold water to achieve a smooth consistency.
- Gradually add hot water while stirring until you obtain a smooth ribbon-like consistency.
- Pour the akamu in a bowl, optionally adding sugar and (or) condensed or evaporated milk.
- Serve it with accompaniments like akara, moi moi, or plantains.
- Use more water if you desire your ogi to have a lighter consistency.
- Infuse your akamu with warm and aromatic flavors by adding a quarter of a teaspoon of ginger, nutmeg, or cinnamon.
- Add mashed fruits like bananas, mangoes, or berries or simply add ¼ cup of zobo for exrtra vitamins, as well as a refreshing and fruity twist.
- If you prefer, drizzle a little milk or condensed milk on top of your pap, before serving!
- Serve akamu with some sugar and condensed or evaporated milk, akara, moi moi, fried plantain, and so much more!
refrigeration and freezing
- I do not recommend keeping the cooked akamu in the fridge, as this tends to alter the taste. I instead recommend storing the raw ogi cornstarch in the fridge or freezer as follows:-
- In the fridge - wrap your uncooked ogi in clingfilm (nylon wrap), submerge it completely in water, and keep it in the fridge for 3-5 days.
- In the freezer - similarly, wrap the cornstarch akamu in plastic wrap, and keep it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
more African recipes
Don't just stop here, explore more of our African recipes!
- Try our dawa cocktail! It is so refreshing and delicious, it is no wonder that it's one of Kenya's most favorite cocktails!
- Spice up your dishes with this Moroccan Chermoula spice.
- Enjoy some mandazi for your next breakfast or brunch!
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Ogi - Akamu
- ½ cup raw akamu (ogi/pap) paste
- ¼ cup room temperature water (for mixing the raw pap)
- 3-4 cups boiling water (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (or more, to taste - optional)
- a splash of condensed or evaporated milk (optional)
- Place the raw pap inside a bowl or pot. Add the cold water, a little at a time, and combine until it has no lumps and obtains a smooth consistency.
- Add hot water in circular motions, a little at a time, and continue to stir until you obtain a smooth, ribbon-like consistency. Use more or less water, depending on the consistency you would like your ogi to have.
- Transfer to a bowl, top with some sugar (optional) and evaporated milk (optional), and serve with akara, moi moi, plantain, or your favourite dishes.
- Use more water if you desire your ogi to have a lighter consistency.
- If you prefer, you can drizzle a little milk or condensed milk on top of your pap, before serving!