Ogi: The Local Custard of Many Colours

Ogi, a traditionally processed pudding, is a great accompaniment to akara, moi-moi, fried plantain and many more.

By The Centenary Project

White corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu'. (2019)The Centenary Project

Soft, smooth and simple

Ogi, a local name for pap among the Yoruba and popularly called "akamu" by the Igbo, is a simple Nigerian breakfast meal made from fermented corn. Three types of corn are used to make ogi in Nigeria: white corn, yellow corn and guinea corn.

Yellow dry corn (2019)The Centenary Project

Yellow corn

Yellow ogi is made from yellow corn. It involves soaking the corn for a number of days and blending it into a thick paste. It is rich in carbohydrates.

White dry corn (2019)The Centenary Project

White corn

White ogi is made from white corn. It involves soaking the corn for a number of days and blending it into a thick paste. It is rich in carbohydrates as well.

Millet (2019)The Centenary Project

Guinea corn

Sorghum is popularly called guinea corn in Nigeria. It is the main ingredient in the brown ogi. Guinea corn is a nutrient-rich grain that is often ground into flour to make different types of meals.

Pap (also known as 'ogi or akamu'). (2019)The Centenary Project

Variants of ogi

The different grains are soaked and blended into thick pastes, rolled into balls and sold in markets. These balls come in different sizes and colours and are usually not expensive.

White corn meal (also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu') is pre-mixed. (2019)The Centenary Project

Preparing ogi right

Ogi is probably the simplest meal to cook, but it needs to be done right. Many people like their ogi completely smooth (without lumps), and to do this, the right amount of water needs to go with the right amount of stirring.

White corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu'. (2019)The Centenary Project

Cold water is added

When the pap is about to be prepared, the balls are crushed into a bowl with a spoon, and cold water is added.

White corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu'. (2019)The Centenary Project

Stir till smooth

The pap is then stirred into a thick paste after the cold water had been added. It is stirred till it is smooth and without lumps.

White corn meal (also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu') is pre-mixed. (2019)The Centenary Project

Boiling hot water is added

Boiling hot water is added to the mixture and it is thoroughly stirred.

White corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu', final hot water mix. (2019)The Centenary Project

The stirring process

The hot water is gently poured in and the mixture is continuously stirred.

White corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu', final hot water mix. (2019)The Centenary Project

Stir till cooked

The mixture is continuously stirred as the pap continues to cook. The hot water is still added until it reaches the desired consistency.

White corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu'. (2019)The Centenary Project

Ogi is ready!

The ogi is now cooked and ready. It has the consistency of custard.

Sugar is added to white corn meal. (2019)The Centenary Project

Sweeten with sugar

Ogi is commonly sweetened with sugar, though for health reasons some people use alternative sweeteners like honey and powdered dates.

Milk is added to white corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu'. (2019)The Centenary Project

Milky delight

Ogi is also enjoyed with milk. Milk is generously added based on preference.

Yellow corn meal also known as 'pap', 'ogi' or 'akamu'. (2019)The Centenary Project

Yellow pap is ready

Yellow pap/ogi is another variant within the local custard family. It is also enjoyed with sugar and milk.

Brown corn, millet and guinea corn meal also known as 'ogi baba'. (2019)The Centenary Project

Brown pap is ready

Brown pap/ogi is another variant within the local custard family. It is also enjoyed with sugar and milk. The brown pap is mostly made for infants as it contains a lot of nutrients that help with their growth.

Corn meal variations. (2019)The Centenary Project

Choose your delight

The three variants of ogi are enjoyed in many Nigerian homes especially on a Saturday morning and during the rainy season when the weather has become cooler. It is best eaten hot.

Akara served with yellow corn meal. (2019)The Centenary Project

Best enjoyed with hot akara

One of the best ways to enjoy ogi is with hot akara. Dipping the hot akara into the hot pap is simply delicious.

Credits: Story

Curator: Patrick Enaholo
Research: Emem Akpabio / Omotunde Omojola
Photography Supervisor: Omotunde Omojola
Photography: Ibukun Akinjobi
Text: Emem Akpabio
Text Editing: Patrick Enaholo / Munachim Amah

Special thanks to:
Mary Ihama (chef)

© The Centenary Project

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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