Ojojo - Water Yam Thingz....

Funke Koleosho's Ojojo - Water Yam Thingz

I suddenly developed cravings for Ojojo the other day and, yep, went out shopping for some water yam, the core ingredient for making this very popular (at least in Lagos where I grew up) night time street food...

On many corners of busy Lagos streets, you are bound to find an ojojo vendor/seller, with their typical, characteristic lanterns flickering to the sway of the evening breeze.

Ojojo is the Yoruba word which refers to the outcome of grated, spiced-up and deep fried water yam. When this same grated water yam is cooked as a pottage rather than deep fried, then it is referred to as ifokore or ikokore. Aside from these two dishes, water yam (locally called isu ewura or isu ehura) is suitable for nothing else. Baking, boiling, frying or pounding the yam do not produce good results.

Water yam is a variety of yam, as with other varieties of yams, is rich in complex carbohydrates, fibre, minerals and vitamins. It is particularly high in calcium and copper.

So to quench my cravings, I bought some water yam (sometimes referred to as cous-cous yam in some Afro-Caribbean food stores). As a reminder of some of those wonderful textures and tastes of ojojo as I used to eat them many years ago, I made some, but this time, with added grated okra, dried cooked shrimps and red onions. This is in an attempt to balance my ojojo out nutritionally, a little.

Ojojo - Water yam Thingz

Adding chopped okra may be new to some, but when my mother made ojojo back then, she used newly harvested yam (not necessarily water yam). To achieve the characteristic mucilaginous texture of water yam, some grated okra is added to the grated yam.

Ojojo is traditionally served with eko tutu. Some people also serve it with soaked gari. With whatever you prefer to serve ojojo, I testify to you that a moderate serving turns out to be really filling and satisfying. Excellent choice for dinner. Ojojo also makes excellent starters or finger foods too. Try it...

What you need
  • Water yam (peeled, washed and grated using the fine mesh of a cheese grater). Newly harvested yam can be used as an alternative to water yam.
  • 2-3 okra fingers (finely chopped)
  • Some finely chopped red onions
  • 1-2 handfuls of oven dried cooked shrimps. (You can make this by placing some cooked shrimps on an oven tray and dry bake at about 100C for about 40 minutes)
  • Some salt

What to do
  1. Add the chopped onions, chopped okra and dried shrimps to the grated water yam. With your bare hands, thoroughly mix all ingredients together. 
  2. Add a small quantity of salt and mix again. Heat some oil in a deep base pot or pan because the ojojo has to be deep fried. 
  3. Check the oil is hot enough by dropping a small portion of the grated yam into the oil. If it rises to the top almost immediately, then its ready.
  4. First, fry a taster to check the salt. Adjust if necessary. 
  5. Scoop dollops of the graded yam into the hot oil and fry for about 4 minutes (depending on the size of the dollop) or until golden brown. 
  6. Remove fried ojojo from the oil and allow to drain over some kitchen towel. 
  7. Best served hot.

Ojojo - Water Yam Thingz


  1. Thanks Funke, this helps a lot. will send a pix to you but am not going to add okra in mine.

Previous Post Next Post