Pap is one of the first weaning meals introduced to babies in Nigeria. It is quite popular and generally known in all parts of the country.
Pap is like our own version of the English custard. It is made with dry corn soaked in water to ferment and then ground and sieved to get the starch-like paste that is made just like custard. Being a first food offered to babies especially as it is economical, a lot has been done to make pap more nutritious and that is how the brown baby pap came to stay. Brown pap is one made not only with yellow or white corn but three different grains…corn, millet and guinea corn and these are nutrient rich grains.
This trio combination makes pap a more nutritious meal for baby. While corn is mainly a good source of carbohydrate, millet and guinea corn offers some proteins, vitamins and minerals that are very essential for baby’s growth and development. Feedback from mums that fed their babies with brown pap, as against some commercial over the counter cereals were all positive. This is contrary to some views portraying pap as malnourishing for kids. As with other cereals, pap is all the time not taken alone but fortified with other things like milk, soya milk, fruit purees and even ground fish and crayfish which i’m personally not a fan of. All these shoot up the nutritional value of this our homemade and traditional baby saver.
Now the process of making pap is tedious but no labour is too much for the love of your baby. Making it at home, i believe, is more hygienic than buying the ones sold in the open markets unless you are sure of your source. If you are not cut out to try this DIY labour of love or when you run out of your homemade pap, then buying from a hygienic source is always the best.
STEPS TO MAKING BABY’S PAP/AKAMU/OGI/KOKO
Ingredients and items you will need:
- 1 cup dry yellow or white corn
- 2 cups guinea corn
- 2 cups millet
- Ginger, Cloves, Cinnamon Stick, Vanilla Pods or other natural flavouring of choice (optional)
- Water + water + water
- Large chiffon cloth
- Thick cotton bag (normally salt bags washed thoroughly with no trace of salt)
- Big bowl
Don’t forget you can add other baby purees to your baby’s pap after making it for extra nutrition.
www.motherhoodng.com present easy steps to make Brown pap for babies:
Step 1: Wash the corn, guinea corn and millet separately to remove the bad grains, sand, stones and chaff. Pour all into a bowl and add enough water to cover it. Leave it for 2-3 days ensuring you rinse and change the water everyday.
Step 2: Blend the grains together with any of your flavourings and sufficient water in a blender if you have a powerful one, otherwise you go to the commercial grinding mills to do so, as it needs to be blended into a paste. If you don’t have a powerful blender, you may need to repeat the grinding process once more after taking step 4 below.
Step 3: Tie the large cheese cloth tightly round your big bowl making sure the bowl can still balance on a flat surface to enable you start the main task. Scoop small amounts of the blended mixture into the cheese cloth. Using your hands and little amount of water, start sieving to get the corn paste pass through the cheesecloth into the bowl. Keep sieving until the leftover is completely a dry chaff.
Step 4: If you used a blender that didn’t blend the mixture very smoothly, the chaff may not be dry at this time and will contain some more paste. Put it back in the blender, add a little water to blend more and then continue with step 3.
Steps 5: Once you’ve finished sieving all the mixture, gently untie the cheese cloth from the bowl. Cover and leave the bowl for about 3 hours to allow the mixture settle. After that, you will see that the water above is completely clear and ready to be gently drained and you have your Pap at the bottom.
Step 6: After draining off the water, stir the pap well and pour it into the clean cotton bag. Squeeze it tightly to remove excess water and using a rope or the end of the bag, tie it up in a way that it can squeeze more water out. 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 of the water completely. Leave overnight if need be.
Step 7: Once the water is drained, untie your bag and you have your pap. It is best to cut into small quantities that can be served at a go, tie in transparent small bags and then preserved in the freezer.
Now to make Baby’s Pap, dissolve some paste in a clean bowl with a little cold water first to form a smooth not too thick or too watery paste. Pour boiling water into the paste, while stirring until it thickens. You can heat the thickened mixture a bit on low heat for ½ a minute. Fortify with your choice of milk, soyabeans, fruit puree etc to the pap.
Pap is well known food across Nigeria, Igbos call it Akamu; Yorubas call it Ogi and Hausas call it Koko…what do you call it in your language? I will update as i get more names.