Ojojo (Wateryam Fritters)

Ijebu omo alare e we so! Shout out to Ijebu people all over the world.

This is a tribute to Ijebu cuisine. When you think food native to the peoples of the vast Ijebu kingdom, you think, Ifokore, Ojojo , Ebiripo , Ijebu Garri etc.

Ojojo is wateryam fritters and its native to the Ijebu people of the south west of Nigeria. It can be eaten anytime of the day as a meal or a snack. As a meal it’s popularly either served with Eko/Agidi (roughly translated as white corn jello) or Garri Ijebu.


Recipe

(Serves 2 or 3)

Ingredients

  • 3 slices Wateryam (grated it comes to 1 cup and half)
  • 1 tbsp of roughly chopped pepper mix (1 Ata rodo (Scotch bonnet), 1 Bawa/long tatashe/Sombo , Onion (about a quarter of a medium onion)
  • 1/2 of a bouillon cube (i used Knorr
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

  • Slice and peel water yam.

  • Using a grater, choose the smallest perforation to grate the yam to a paste. To avoid nicking off your fingers while grating, you can use the grating disc of your food processor. The one with the smallest holes. This would give you about 1 cup and half of wateryam paste.
Food processor disc and Grater
Grated wateryam
  • Add your roughly chopped pepper mix, your salt and seasoning .
  • Mix till when incorporated.

  • Heat your oil up till very hot.

Hot oil Tip
Since we don’t use thermometers in cooking here, i learnt to know when oil is hot enough for frying from Sister Som, my friend’s sister. She taught me to put a drop of water in oil while bringing up the heat. As the oil heats up , it would start to make popping sounds to get rid of the water. When the sounds stops, you know your oil is hot enough.

  • Scoop the paste using a spoon or your hands into the oil.
  • Fry on medium heat till its golden ans crisp on both sides.

Traditionally, Ojojo is served with Eko or Garri Ijebu. I tried this with Ghanaian Shitto and its amazeballs.

Ojojo with Eko and shitto

Ebiripo 


I made Ebiripo today and I shared pictures on my Facebook wall, I had even written that I was channeling my imaginary Ijebu side, little did I know I did indeed have Ijebu Remo roots, royal roots as a matter of fact, LOL! My dad saw my post and sent me this message on WhatsApp.

Dad: “‚ÄčLabake you made Ebiripo. You don’t know what you’re reminding the Bolumoles of. It used to be brought for the family from Sagamu, the native home of my father’s mother.” 

“Baskets of Ebiripo wrapped in banana leaves. You brought back my childhood  memory”.

“That food is  native to Remo people of Ogun State. Not very popular amongst the Yorubas”.

“I’m surprised that you’re eating. Who taught you to eat it?”

Me: The things I have learnt to eat in my quest for food, they are plenty

Dad: “You know my father’s mum was from the Royal family of Sagamu and her only son my Dad were treated with great respect.”

And that is how I found out I have an Ijebu side!

I’ve been meaning to try my hands on making Ebiripo, so I reach out to a friend Funmilayo Ademoye and she showed me how incredibly easy it was to make.  It’s so easy. 

Typically Ebiripo is eaten with Egusi soup, or pepper sauce, but it is acceptable to eat it with any soup of your choice. 
I made mine with Smoked Fish Pepper Sauce  and it was legit delicious!
How to make Ebiripo

  • Cocoyam
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Moinmoin leaves (to wrap the Cocoyam paste)
Cocoyam , Moinmoin leaves

*I didn’t include the measurements as you can make work with whatever quantity works for you. 

Procedure 

  • Peel and cut the Cocoyam 
  • Grate or blend into a paste. 
  • Peeled and cut Cocoyam, Cocoyam paste

    Add salt to taste and mix well. 
  • Place a pot on medium heat, if you have a steaming pot you can use it or place a barrier at the base of the pot, locally the stalks on the moinmoin leaves is placed inside the pot at the base before adding a little way.
  • Scoop the paste into the leaves and wrap. Place the wrapped leaves in a pot and steam till it is cooked

Serve with your soup of choice.

Ebiripo

To make the pepper sauce, I used the recipe I use for making sauce for Ekuru.I only added Smoked Cod fish (panla), Smoked Tilapia (Bonga fish), powdered crayfish. 

You can learn how to make the sauce here: Sauce 

Ikokore / Ifokore

An Ijebu pottage delicacy made with grated Wateryam. Typically it is eaten with Eba (cold eba preferrably)


I’ve been craving Ikokore for weeks but I’ve been unable to cook because I’ve been convalescent. Now that I’m back on my feet, I cooked the first thing I’ve been craving. Ikokore Ijebu. I have a staff who is Ijebu, she ate it with left over Eba from the previous day. I’m  yet to try that though. 

This Ikokore is “Ikokore elemi meje” (Ikokore with Seven Lives). A joke we crack when there is a lot of protein going on in a dish. I only cook small portions of Ikokore because neither my husband nor my son eat it, I cook just enough to share with my Ijebu staff, my help, and any other person. I eat very small portions.
Recipe 

(Serves 3)

Ingredients 

  • 5 slices Wateryam 
  • 1/2 cup Palm oil 
  • 1 cup blended pepper mix  (tatashe/bawa/jalepeno pepper + Atarodo/Scotch bonnet + Onions, Ratio 4:1:1)
  • 2 cups rich stock 
  • Assorted Meats (about 100g or 1.5cups) (beef, offals, ponmo, cow foot)
  • 2 Medium sized smoked tilapia  (shredded)
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Stock fish 
  • 1 small smoked catfish  (shredded)
  • 1/4 cup powdered crayfish
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Bouillon Cubes  (eg Knorr)


Procedure 

  • Using the small grit of your grater, grate your slices of yam. If you have a food processor you can use the similar attachment on your processor to grate the yam.

A tuber of water yam, slices of water yam, the grater used to grate the yams, grated yam.

Shredded Bonga Fish (smoked tilapia), shredded stock fish, powdered crayfish, blended pepper mix, smoked catfish, assorted meats

  • If you don’t have your stock ready, boil your meats, season with salt, seasoning cubes and one onion. Cook till done. 
  • Then add your pepper blend, and palm oil, allow it cook for ten minutes then add the all the fish and  crayfish. If you had your stock ready, cook pepper first with palm oil, then add the stock, fish and meat. Taste for seasoning. 
  • When all these are well incorporated, spoon the grated Wateryam in small portions into the broth. If the fluid is too little add some more water and allow it to cook till the yam is well cooked. Stir with a wooden spoon or ladle. 

  • Your Ikokore should be ready within 10 minutes of adding the grated Wateryam and cooking on medium heat.