Corn Moi moi or Corn pudding or also Ellile Oka as it is popularly called is a great dish accessory that is commonly seen in Nigeria, specifically in the Southeastern part of the country. Corn pudding/Corn Moi moi is a Nigerian type of “Tamales” which is also known locally as Nni Oka, Ekusu, Igbankwu Oka, Ekoki, Ukpo Oka Or Sapala. The dish, however, can be very tricky and challenging to prepare and ones you get the mixing wrong, there’s no second chance to that. Hence, once you start cooking, there is no going back. There is no room to add more salt or any other ingredient afterward, so, getting it right at the mixing stage is very important. In summary, if you mixed it wrongly it will definitely come out wrong.
Ellile Oka is peculiar and popular in the southeastern part of the country, especially in Imo state. It’s a dish that is delicious and yummy when prepared correctly. In addition to its use, it is also used in occasions for distinguishing personalities. Although, like I initially stated, the process of making Ellile Oka can be very tricky and challenging but I will still try to explain it as detailed as possible.
Ingredients for Preparing Ellile Oka
The followings are the list of ingredients used in making Ellile Oka, however, you are free to increase or decrease the quantity to suit your preference.
- Oka (Corn)
- Maggi (seasoning)
- Salt to taste
- Pepper (Possibly Tatashe to add to its colour)
- Fish/Meat/ half cooked Egg/Bone marrow stock
In the fish/meat/half-cooked egg section, one of them is required, but the one to be use is based on the cook’s choice. When using fish, it’s advisable to parboil the fish, remove the center bones and split into smaller pieces based on the size of your preference. If you are using egg, cook the egg till it’s half done and then take the shell off, while the meat is to be sliced to small sizes based on choice.
Process of Preparing Corn Moi moi (Ellile Oka)
In preparing Ellile Oka; wash the corn with salt and water to remove any dirt or germs, and then sieve to get clean corn. Then add some water and cook the corn until it boils and afterward, sieve out the water and prepare for the grinding part. There are people in Nigeria that renders the service of grinding foodstuffs like tomatoes, beans, and corns in large quantity. After grinding the corn, with a little water in it (like in Moi-moi) then it’s time to add your ingredients.
Some people tend to add the ingredients aside from the meat, egg, et cetera part before grinding, but I prefer to bled my ingredients and add them afterward.
For two (4) to four (5) cups of corn
1) For those using Tatashe, wash and pluck off the green stem at the top before splitting it into two halves and then, remove the seed at the center. This is because it adds bitter and not so good taste to the Ellile Oka.
2) Tasteless and odorless oil is the right oil to use in preparing Corn Moi moi. And also make sure to use the right amount of oil in the preparation of Corn Moi moi to ensure sure that the texture is in good state.
3) Use 2 liters of cold or warm water. Please note that the water includes the water that is used in grinding the corn. I strongly advise you use warm or cold water when mixing, so as to prevent the mixture from being lumpy or too thick.
4) For those using bone marrow, the quantity of stock should be part of the two liters of liquid you will use in mixing the Corn Moi moi.
5) Grind the crayfish with a dry mill. And Slice into pieces one relative big sized onion, and add a small piece of garlic, ginger, and nutmeg. The nutmeg gives it a distinctive exclusive taste which make it stand out among regular ones.
6) Add at least two cubes of Maggi seasoning and also add a little of garlic and ginger (though not compulsory), then salt.
When you are through adding your blended ingredients to the already ground Corn Moi moi, mix it with little oil and then taste it to ensure that everything is in the right portion. The next step is to start putting them in the local leave, leather or containers based on choice and add either your half-cooked egg, fish, bone marrow stock, meat among others. Note, you are only to use just one of the fish, egg, meat or bone marrow stock, and not all. Then add some water in the pot and put your already mixed packaged Corn Moi moi into the pot too, making sure that the water is not completely covering it.
However, the length of time needed to cook the Corn Moi moi depends on the quantity of Corn Moi moi being cooked. Cooking a large pot of Corn Moi moi will definitely take up to one hour, while cooking a few wraps in a small pot in high heat will might not take more than 35 minutes. To confirm that it’s done, try putting a knife inside the Corn Moi moi (Ellile Oka) and if it comes out without a stain of Corn Moi moi then it’s done. But if it does come out with a stain, then it’s not done yet.
Corn Moi moi (Ellile Oka) out look
Corn Moi moi, comes in different shapes based on the cook’s preference. Some cook might prefer to use the local leave while some prefer to use plastics and other forms of containers or plates with their different shapes. The outlook, however, adds up in the beautification of the Corn Moi moi and makes it look yummy and great when garnished properly.
Finally, Corn Moi moi when done, can serve as snacks and can also be served with so many things. Corn Moi moi (Ellile Oka) can be eaten as breakfast, or a side dish to launch brunch or dinner. For breakfast, it can be taken with pap, custard, fried plantain among others, based on the cook’s preference. It can also be taken with a chilled bottle of soft drink to “wash it down”.