Pap is light cornmeal prepared from wet cornstarch. In Africa and specifically Nigeria, it’s referred to as Akamu by some tribes (the Igbos, especially) while other tribes such as the Yorubas call it Ogi.
The simplicity of this meal makes it the people’s choice. For some, however, preparing Nigerian Pap can be a hit-or-miss, especially for those new to the process. In fact, some individuals find it hard to get a thick mix.
Ever had problems with making your Pap thicker? If so, you may want to ask:
How can I make my Pap thicker? To make your Pap thicker, you’ll need to add the right quantity of cold and hot water to your lump of Akamu. Otherwise, the cornmeal will become watery.
After you’ve mastered the art of making Ogi, every bit of the process will become a breeze for you.
Whether you are new to making Ogi or you just want a recipe that works well, this article will serve as a useful resource to you—it explains in details how to prepare the Nigerian Pap the right way and also covers the health benefits and FAQs.
The Best Way to Prepare and Make Your Ogi Thicker
The core ingredient required is wet and processed cornstarch. Other ingredients such as evaporated milk and sugar are add-ons for making the meal sweet and more nutritious. You’ll need hot and cold water too.
You can buy the processed cornstarch in any Nigerian open markets or from those selling from house-to-house. With your wet cornstarch in place, then follow the below instructions.
- Set a kettle filled with water on the heat. It’s better for the water to remain than not being enough.
- Put some lumps of Ogi in a cup or bowl. Make sure the container is way bigger than the lumps. This is because hot water will cause the Pap to rise during the preparation.
- Crush the lumps with a spoon, add cold water, then keep stirring until consistency is achieved. You have two goals here. First, make sure the texture is as thick as possible. The number one reason Ogi gets watery is because of adding too much water at this stage. Also, mix everything well so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the mixing cup or bowl. This will help prevent your Pap from having lumps.
- After the water boils, start pouring the hot water into the bowl in a circular manner and at the same time, keep stirring the mixture in a clockwise manner. This is also essential to prevent lumps.
- When the mixture starts to set, remove your spoon, and reduce the rate at which the hot water flows to the Pap. Once the mixture comes together completely, leave it for a couple of minutes.
- Now, stir the Pap very well. Then you can add any evaporated milk of your choice and sugar to taste for more nutrition, taste, and thickness. Your Pap is ready to serve. Of course, the thicker one.
While Ogi is easy to prepare, getting it right can be hard, especially for beginners. But once you get a hang on it, making the Nigerian Pap will become a breeze.
The Nutritional and Health Benefits of Pap
Though Pap is less nutritious, it has some commendable health benefits. We’ll consider some of these benefits below.
A Good Bedtime Meal
Eating healthy light food before sleeping has been found to contribute to deep and restorative sleep. Meals such as Pap are super light. This means your body wouldn’t require much energy for digestion.
Taking easy to digest meals such as Pap before going to bed is also important for toddlers. The carbs in Pap will ensure they don’t get woke up by pangs of hunger in the middle of the night. The light nature of the food will also let them sleep well. Just make sure you don’t add sugar to their bedtime meal.
Cornstarch, in its pure form, is gluten-free. This can serve as an alternative to wheat flour. This is especially useful for those with celiac disease or any other gluten intolerance.
ALSO READ: Are Nigerian Meat Pies Healthy?
What to Eat with Pap?
Pap can be taken with many Nigerian dishes. Some of the foods that go well with Pap are Nigeria Moi Moi, Akara, Beans, Bread, and Fried Yam. Some might take their Pap with Fried plantain, Nigerian Okpa, or even Nigerian Puff puff.
Ogi alone or with any of the above foods can be served as breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Because of its light nature, however, Nigerian Pap can cause frequent urination. This makes people avoid it for breakfast.
Whether you’re looking for a bedtime meal or just want some good foods to add to your diet regimen, Pap would make an excellent addition.
Next, we will consider some questions people often raised when it comes to preparing Pap.
My Pap is Not Giving me the Distinctive Sour Taste, what to do?
There is a unique sour taste synonymous with Ogi that makes people love it. The tartness also complements the taste of evaporative milk.
One reason you might not get this sour taste is if you buy the “wrong” type of Ogi.
Ideally, the corn used in making the wet cornstarch must be soaked in water for about 3 to 4 days. This helps the corn to ferment properly, in turn, providing the sour taste.
If the seller didn’t allow the corn to soak thoroughly, you won’t get the tartness. One way to avoid this in the future is to ask others where to get the “right” type of Akamu.
Alternatively, you can learn how to make your wet cornstarch from scratch. This way, you will have more control over the fermentation process.
Is It Good to Take Pap at Night?
This is another question often raised about this cornmeal. Earlier mentioned, Pap is a light and easy to digest meal. Therefore, taking it as a bedtime meal won’t disturb your sleep.
The energy content in Papa can also supply enough energy that can sustain your body throughout the entire night.
Does Pap Help in Weight Loss?
There is no scientific data on whether Pap helps one to lose weight or not. However, based on the experience of regular intake, it’s safe to say, adding it to your diet won’t lead to weight gain, nor would it make you lose more pounds. However, when taken with other balanced diets, it can reduce the impact of its high-calorie content on your body.
And also, since Pap can be paired with other foods, it may lead to weight loss or weight gain. The bottom line on this is to avoid eating much of it and also watch the foods you pair with your Pap.
To ensure your Pap does not get watery, you should mix your wet cornstarch correctly, add cold water and hot water in the right proportions.
When paired with the right food, Ogi can be tasty, healthy, and nutritious. And we hope you’ll become a professional Akamu maker one day if you don’t quit trying.