How to process cocoyam for soup

Cocoyam is a starchy edible root of which there are several varieties. It can be boiled, fried or roasted, depending on the variety. Cocoyam is typically used as a thickener in soups like ora, bitter leaf (onugbu), ofe ukpom and ofe ugu. For this purpose, it has to be cooked and pounded into a thick paste. You can use a  mortar and pestle, blender or food processor to process cocoyam for soup. I sometimes use my cake mixer.

When cocoyam is boiled for pounding, some might never get soft, discard those hard ones if you are using mortar and pestle, the blender and food processor can handle them. Those hard ones will leave ‘seeds’ in your smooth paste which in turn can leave seeds in the soup and that is undesirable.

When cooking with newly harvested cocoyam, because of the high water content, you need more to thicken your soup, but for old cocoyam which has dried out and is thoroughly mature, a little goes a long way.

Cocoyam can also be dried and used in cooking Achicha.

To process cocoyam for soup

Wash cocoyam to remove sand and possibly mud.


Place in a pot of water and set over high heat to boil.


Boil cocoyam until a fork passes very easily through it and can be squashed with ease between the fingers. Drain into a sieve and peel while still hot.


Keep a bowl of cold water by your side where you can dunk the hot cocoyam before peeling and cool off your ‘burning’ fingertips.

  • Put cocoyam into the mortar and pound till it becomes a smooth thick paste.
  • If using a blender, put cocoyam into the blender container according to its capacity, add enough water to get the blades moving. Grind till a smooth paste is formed.
  • For the food processor, you don’t need to add water, it comes out smooth and thick like cocoyam pounded with mortar and pestle.
  • If using a cake mixer, it will take longer than the others and will make the cocoyam light and fluffy, still works though.


Use to prepare your delicious Onugbu/bitter leaf soup, oha (ora) soup, ugu soup etc.



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