OGI is a cereal pudding from Nigeria, typically made from maize, sorghum, or millet. Ogi is household meal mainly for breakfast but few people take it anytime of the day. It is also one of the recommended meals that growing children graduate to from breast milk. Despite the love for ogi, many homemakers do not know how to prepare it and many who are interested, cannot go through the process of making it. They forget that the process of whatever we take in matters for our well-being.
Processing ogi takes a lot of water and one should be careful on the source. That is why buying ogi outside can be dangerous to health. Traditionally, the grains are soaked in water for up to three days, before wet milling and sieving to remove the husks. The filtered cereal is then allowed to ferment for up to three days until it sours. It is then boiled into a pap, or cooked to make a creamy pudding. It can be taken with Moin Moin or Akara.
You will need:
1.5kg dry corn
Lots of water
Chiffon cloth: for separating the wet corn starch (akamu/ogi/pap) from the shaft.
Big and small bowls.
- Wash the dry corn thoroughly and soak in a generous quantity of cold water for three to four days. Do not refrigerate it because it is important that some kind of fermentation takes place.
- Wash the corn and change the water daily.
- On the third or fourth day, wash and mill. I suggest, the third or fourth day because some corns become soft enough to be milled by the third day. Bite into it to check if it is soft enough. If not, allow to soak for one more day. Add a generous quantity of water to help your blender. In Nigeria, heavy duty grinders are used for this purpose.
- Drape the chiffon cloth over a big bowl and tie it up. The bowl should be big enough to accommodate the ogi and the water you’ll use to rinse it and then some.
- Sieve the milled corn, rinsing as necessary untill you are left with only the shaft. It is advisable to rinse small quantities of the corn at a time so that you will not be overwhelmed.
- When you’ve rinsed all the milled corn, blend the shaft and rinse again if you think you can get more akamu from it. This may be the case if you used a kitchen blender. This won’t be necessary if you used the heavy duty grinders in Nigerian markets.
- When done, take off the chiffon cloth and set the mixture of water and akamu aside to settle for at least three hours.
- After about three hours or when you notice that the water is clear, decant the clear water and pour the rest of the mixture into the muslin bag.
- Tie the bag and keep it in such a way as to let the water drain from the ogi.
- When you notice that the water has drained off, tie the bag tighter and leave to continue to drain the water. Repeat the process as the water drains till no more water drains off.
- Tie the bag for the last time and place some weights on it to squeeze out the last trace of water.
- Leave it like this overnight so that the akamu will have the classic sour taste. Again, do not refrigerate it.
- The next day, bring out the akamu from the bag, cut it up into single-use chunks, place in containers (bowls or plastic bags) and put in your freezer till you are ready to use it. If you don’t have freezer, keep in bucket with tight lock and add water to cover the ogi but the water should be changed regularly to avoid being spoilt.
Your ogi is ready for preparation! Just boil water, mix the quantity you want to drink with ordinary water and make sure you get a smooth paste before you add boiled water. Just go on to set the table and place a plate of Akara (beans balls) beside it for breakfast. You can add sugar and milk just like the way you take custard.