This ilaje Ondo recipe was shared on our radio food programme by one of our students. It is usually relished with either pounded yam or pupuru. It is a delicacy made from cassava and relished by the Ondos with this kind of soup and other kinds of soups that are also peculiar to the people.
Pupuru, a fermented cassava meal, is not like garri, lafun or fufu which are all local meals from cassava.
The traditional processing of cassava into pupuru involves first peeling the bark of the cassava tubers and then steeping of the peeled tubers into pots partly buried in holes dug by flowing river or stream usually close to the cassava farm, for between four to six days to allow fermentation to occur. Traditionally, the people soak the peeled tubers in stream water fetched in pots to enable the easy washing of the cassava by the fifth or sixth day, and this requires abundant water for cleaning.
The fermented cassava are arranged in sacks or jute bags to drain off the water and moulded into balls ready for drying by the fire. Once dried, the cassava balls look brownish or black on the outer part, and this has to be scraped before it is pounded into flour and then sieved to remove unwanted dirt and chaff. The fine flour is added to boiled water and cooked into pupurumeal.
An internet report revealed that this local cassava meal has been scientifically proven to be rich in carbohydrate, but low in protein and other micronutrients; hence it is not recommended for diabetics.
Well, other swallows like eba, semo or amala can be served in place of pupuru.
Recipe for 4 Serving
1 medium sized bunch of African Spinach or Crain Crain
(also called yoyo locally or ewedu)
2 cups of fresh okra (grated)
2 wraps of dampened melon locally called eragiri/ogiri/iru
2 smoked fish
4 pieces of fresh red pepper (blended chilli locally called shombo)
Little palm oil
Only salt to taste, no seasoning required
Remove the Ewedu from the stalks and shred to ringlets and wash. Place water on the fire, allow to boil for three minutes, pour in the grated okra.
Cook for about three minutes before pouring in the washed shredded spinach. Simmer for two minutes, add the eragiri, blended pepper, smoked fish and then salt to taste. Cook for 60 seconds before finally adding little palm oil. Cover and simmer for few minutes, remove from the heat and serve with pounded yam or the cassava powder locally called pupuru.