On our menu today is pap. This meal is called akamu by the Igbo and ogi by the Yoruba. Pap is a simple but tricky food to prepare. Any little mistake and you’ll end up with a bowl of watery or lumpy substance. Believe me, either one is unpalatable.
Pap making was one of the biggest challenges I encountered in cooking. My Dad and cousin, Chichi showed me how to make it a couple of times but each time I tried, I messed things up. So, for years, my heart skipped anytime my name and pap was mentioned in the same sentence. There were days when I hid in the bathroom because hot water for pap was almost ready and I didn’t think I could do a good job of making it.
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One day, I decided to heed my Dad’s words and confront my fears head on. I was home alone on that fateful day. I bought a hundred and fifty naira worth of pap and started to practice. After several failed attempts, I got it right. I tried a few more times; when all turned out fine, I did a victory dance. I had won. Now, the reason I’m telling this story is to encourage anyone with a cooking challenge. You won’t win if you stop trying. So, keep at it; one day, you’ll fail your way to success.
Today’s recipe is an easy guide to pap making. The quantity of ingredients listed here will be just enough to make a bowl for one person. So, feel free to increase the quantity of ingredients to accommodate the number of persons you want to prepare it for.
50g of pap paste
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon of water to mix
How to Prepare
Put one cup of water in a kettle and set it to boil. Put the pap paste in a clean bowl. Add the water for mixing and mix till you have a smooth, medium consistency.
Stir the mixture again before the water boils to ensure there are no lumps.
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When the hot water is ready, pour it directly into the mixture while stirring in circular motion with a table spoon. Please note that you cannot brush off the aspect of stirring in circular motion while pouring in boiled hot water. I’ll tell you why. It prevents lumps from forming and it sometimes prevents one from flooding the pap.
Anyways, as you’re pouring and stirring, you’d notice the mixture start to thicken. Stop stirring the pap and keep pouring the water but reduce the water flow from the kettle.
When the pap thickens completely, stir properly. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. But if it’s watery, transfer the pap to a clean pot. Set the gas on medium heat and stir till the pap thickens, announcing its readiness.
Transfer it to a clean soup bowl. Add sugar and milk, if you like. You can either enjoy pap alone or you can pair it with akara, fried plantain, moi moi or bread.
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