WHAT IS AN AKAMU PAP?
Pap is a popular food well known in Africa and beyond. It is a product of locally ground and processed corn seeds. Unlike custard that comes in powdered form, Pap is usually sold in a solid-block form which dissolves in water once it is soaked with water.
The word “Akamu” is used to describe Pap locally in most places in Nigeria. Irrespective of other existing local names, almost everyone in the country will recognize that you are talking about Pap once you mention the name “Akamu”.
BENEFITS OF AKAMU PAP
Pap is not popular for no reason. It is food available for both the rich and the poor. It stands as the only cheap food for raising newborn babies which the poor can afford. Unlike other option which to buy processed baby foods from supermarkets which could be costing almost N6000 or more every two weeks depending on the baby’s eating capacity.
Besides babies, Pap also serves as a family food, very good for family breakfast on a restful day. It blends well with fried beans cake (Akara), or cooked beans cake (Moi Moi), and balanced with bread. In the absence of the Akara or Moi Moi, Pap can blend well with red oil cooked beans in addition to bread. In fact, Pap is one major food that finds easy combination with proteins foods especially beans.
Pap combination with red oil beans has been found to be a natural sleeping tablet and relaxation meal for those looking for a quick way to get relaxed and possibly get some sleep. Though it may not work for everyone, the claim has been proven by many people. It is believed by most people that taking Pap and red oil beans as dinner could give out a sound and deep sleep throughout the night.
Pap also serves as a means of taking some medicines that are usually in powdered form and need to be taken orally. Such medicine or food supplement can be mixed with Pap and taken orally. An example is the consumption of Moringa powder using Pap or giving babies some medicines using Pap.
For nutritious child feeding, Pap can be mixed with powdered soya beans with other nutritious ingredients for child growth and wellbeing.
Pap serves as an option for those that cannot chew or swallow solid foods. In this case, ground nutritious foods are missed with Pap in the form of powder.
CHALLENGES IN THE PREPARATION OF AKAMU PAP
Preparation of Pap is the first thing most mothers in rural areas use to learn because it gets them equipped to be able to prepare Pap properly for the sole feeding of their babies.
Besides baby feeding, mothers teach their young ones how to prepare Pap for the purpose of making family meals. Whichever be the reason, making Pap is something everyone wants to learn because of the advantages it offers.
The major challenge in the making of Pap has been the formation of crumbs and the inability of the Pap to be well-cooked.
Another problem is making a Pap that is watery. This is simply caused by adding excess hot water or excess cold water during the dissolving of the solid Pap. It can be thickened by cooking the Pap by placing the plate on a burner and lower the heat then allow the watery Pap to steam in it for some time. Note that doing this will usually generate crumbs in Pap afterwards.
As a food similar to custard or otherwise referred to as the local custard, Pap needs to be dissolved in cold water first and then mixed with a very hot boiled water above the boiling point of water. Even when all the due process is followed you may still get such problem of crumbs in the Pap after preparation.
It takes the experience to know how to prepare a Pap that is free from crumbs and well-cooked at the same time
HOW TO MAKE A AKAMU PAP
Preparing Pap is not difficult but it requires following the right procedure. A Pap made from dried premature corns may be difficult to prepare such will need very hot water that has boiled very well.
Meanwhile, here are procedures for preparing Akamu Pap:
Empty the solid Pap on a big bow or a plate that you want the Pap to stay.
Carefully drop a small quantity of cold water in the plate it should not be up to 10% of the total volume of water that will make the Pap.
Carefully use a tablespoon to break the solid Pap and help it to dissolve in the water inside the plate.
Continue pressing the solid pap until the whole thing dissolves inside the cold water. Once it dissolves, the content in the plate will form a thick liquid of the cornflour (Pap).
Start stirring the thick liquid until no trace of crumbs can be seen. At this point, you supposed to have your boiling water ready.
Gradually pour the boiling water into the plate moving your hand evenly around the sides of the plate. While doing, use a tablespoon to be stirring the thick liquid until it changes colour to a cooked akamu Pap colour then stop adding the hot water and stir it immediately until everything becomes even.
At this stage add anything you want to be in the Pap such as sugar, etc. and serve the Pap for consumption.