Ji Mmiri Oku is a yam and dried fish pepper soup porridge native to the Igbos in Nigeria.
It is a traditional meal that is usually prepared for new moms, right after putting to bed(traditionally known as the Omugwo time)
It is often loaded with hot pepper, which is said to help the new mom heal faster and also helps to contract the uterus.
For this meal to be effective, new moms are always adviced to indulge more in the fish(protein) and hot soup, because the yams are only there to serve as a filling, so that you don’t get hungry in a short time.
Ji Mmiri Oku is not only for new moms. It can also be be enjoyed by all and is a popular meal during the new yam festival in August.
During this festival, many homes prepare this meal with a combination of goat meat, beef and chicken.
The urhobo people also have a similar meal known as Ukodo(recipe coming soon)
Ok enough of the info, here’s the recipe, just as my mama does it.
++ see video recipe here++
– 1 small sized tuber of Yam
– Dried fish(usually dried catfish or Mangala)(as much as you like)
– 2 scotch bonnet peppers/ 1 tablespooful ground chili pepper(or as much as you can bear)
– 2 tablespoonful ground Crayfish (or 1 handful whole crayfish)
– 1 medium sized Onion(chopped)
– 2 tablespoonful Nigerian Pepper soup spice mix(click this link for homemade peppersoup spice mix)
– 3 pieces Scent leaves(nchawun or efirin)
– 3 pieces Uziza leaves (hot leaves)(use half teaspoon ground uziza seeds as a substitute)
– 3 tablespoonful Palm oil
– 2 large stock cube/ seasoning cube
– Salt to taste
* Uziza is optional but it gives extra nutrient and flavor to Ji Mmiri Oku.
*If you are not a big fan of yams, substitute the yams for unripe plantains or sweet potatoes
Before cooking the pepper soup start by prepping the ingredients
– First clean the fish with hot water, to remove dirt and sand. Then take out bones and set the fish aside for later use.
If you are using mangala fish, you’ll have to parboil it a little with 1 cup of water, 1 stock cube and quarter teaspoon salt until tender because it is a tough fish.
– Slice the scent leaves and uziza leaves and also set aside
– Grind or pound the pepper and onion together. You can also grind the crayfish together if you are using whole crayfish.
– Also cut the yams, peel off the skin and wash thoroughly in clean water, then place in a bowl of clean water and set aside.
Tip: putting the yams in water prevents them from changing color.
Now to cook the Ji Mmiri Oku
1. If you are using mangala fish, strain the yams and add to the pot of parboiled mangala fish.
But if you are using dried catfish, put the yams into a pot, add enough water to cover the yams add 1/2 teaspoon salt and set to a boil.
2. Then add the onions, blended peppers and cleaned dried catfish.
Also add the crayfish, the pepper soup spice mix , seasoning cube and palm oil.
Leave to cook until the yam slices are tender.
3. Finally, add the sliced leaves, simmer for 2 minutes and put off the heat. Serve hot and enjoy.
Tip: to serve this dish, you can choose to serve it in a single bowl, or alternatively separate the yam from the soup and serve in two bowls.