Akamu (Ogi) is a delicious fermented cereal that is prepared with yellow maize, sorghum, pearl millet, and soybeans.
It is a healthy cereal and is recommended as the first weaning food for babies from 6 months of age.
Akamu is a good gluten-free alternative for toddlers, growing children, the elderly, lactating mothers, and convalescents.
The cereal is a rich source of energy, protein, minerals, vitamins. And also acts as a probiotic that help ease diarrhea and stomach upset in children (or adults).
In Nigeria and other parts of Africa, they are two popular methods of preparing akamu. It is either prepared into a smooth porridge called pap or cooked until it is solid to make eko (agidi). To improve taste, spices like ginger, garlic, cloves, or turmeric are also added.
When it comes to taste, cooked ogi has a rich smooth custard-like taste while the uncooked ogi is slightly sour in taste.
Sadly, nutrients are lost when processing ogi traditionally. To correct this, ogi should be fortified with high-protein legumes like soybeans or cowpeas.
10 Health benefits of Akamu (Ogi)
The possible health benefits of Ogi includes:
1. Boosts immune system
Akamu (Ogi) provides all the essential nutrients required in the body.
It is rich in protein, carbohydrate, fats, B-vitamins (vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5), iron, zinc, and other minerals needed for the proper functioning of your immune system.
2. Strong bones and teeth
Calcium is an important mineral for bone and teeth formation. Its deficiency can cause osteomalacia in adults and lead to rickets in infants and children.
3. Prevents diarrhea
Akamu is good probiotic food for babies, children, and even adults.
Probiotics are foods that help keep your gut healthy. They help treat diarrhea, stomach upset, and dysentery.
The fermented uncooked ogi can be used to quickly relieve stomach upset in older children and adults.
Note: Give only cooked ogi to babies.
4. Great Energy boost
Ogi is a great breakfast meal. It is quick to prepare and provides enough calories to keep you energized throughout the day.
5. Boosts Lactation
Most importantly, lactating mothers need food that is rich in water and other essential nutrients.
Ogi is a rich source of water and contains all the essential nutrients in one serving. It is a potent galactagogue.
6. Prevents anemia
Infants, children, adults, and pregnant women require iron to synthesize red blood cells and prevent iron-deficiency anemia.
Ogi made with fermented sorghum, pearl millet and soybeans provide the daily requirements of iron per serving.
7. Protects heart health
Akamu is a good source of potassium, especially when made with fermented sorghum and soybeans.
It contains a zero amount of sodium, making it an ideal food for people with hypertension and other metabolic disorders.
8. Prevents obesity
Ogi is a healthy food option for anyone trying to stay fit and healthy.
It contains about 50% water per serving, it keeps you hydrated, gives you a feeling of “fullness”, and prevents overeating.
9. Aids digestive regularity
Akamu prevents constipation and other digestive irregularities because it is easily digested.
It is ideal for the elderly and convalescents.
10. Boosts male fertility
Zinc is an essential mineral that is needed to boost sperm quality and motility in men.
Akamu (ogi) is a good example of natural food that contains high levels of zinc.
Secondly, it is also a good energy boost and reduces recovery time.
How to Prepare Akamu (Ogi)
To make approx. 1 kg of Akamu you will need;
- 4 cups guinea corn (sorghum)
- 4 cups pearl millet
- 1 cup of maize (corn)
- 2 cups dry soybeans
- Ginger, garlic, or cloves to your taste (optional)
- Large chiffon cloth or cheesecloth
- Thick cotton bag
1. Wash the grains and soybeans separately to remove stones and dirt. Then put them together in a bowl and add enough water for full coverage. Leave to ferment for 2-3 days, but ensure to change the water every day.
2. Blend the grains and spices (if any) together in a blender or grinding machine to form a paste. (Use enough water)
3. To start the sieving process, tie the cheesecloth to a large bowl and scoop small amounts of the blended paste on top. Then using your hands and a cup of water, sieve each batch until you get chaff. Remove the chaff and repeat the process to sieve all the mixture.
4. Once you’ve finished sieving the mixture, gently untie the cheesecloth from the bowl. Cover the bowl for about 5 hours to allow the mixture to sediment. After 5 hours, you should have a clear top and the pap sediment on the bottom. Gently drain off the water.
5. Pour your pap sediment into a clean cotton bag (wash well to remove salt). Squeeze and tie tightly to remove excess water. Place the pap bag on a flat elevated surface or your sink (anywhere that water can drain away from it) and place a heavy object on it to help it drain off the water completely. Leave overnight if need be.
Note: Avoid salt. Salt prevents Ogi from thickening.
6. Once the water is drained, untie your bag. Congrats!!! Your pap is ready to be preserved in the freezer for future use.
7. To make Akamu (Ogi) for yourself or your baby, dissolve some paste in a clean bowl with lukewarm water and mix to form a slightly thick paste. Then pour boiling water gradually into the paste and stir until it thickens. You can also heat the thickened mixture on low heat for about a minute.
8. Add baby’s milk and feed your baby.
The bottom line
Akamu (ogi) is a highly nutritious fermented cereal that is good for you and your family.
For babies, ensure to fortify your Akamu with a high protein legume like soybean, to provide your baby with all the essential nutrients, and keep your baby healthy.
I hope you found this article on Akamu (Ogi) helpful. Let me know how you prepare yours. Do you add soybeans or would you rather leave it plain?