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Wojapi, an American Indian berry sauce served at #Tocabe

Wojapi is an American Indian berry sauce that I first tried with fry bread at the restaurant, Tocabe. Think of “jam” just to get you in the frame of mind but this wojapi is not a sweet, sugary jam. You’ll taste the berries, not sugar. Adding sugar may not even be necessary, depending on the sweetness of your berries. 

wojapi in a glass jar with wojapi topped waffles in background

What is wojapi?

The definition of wojapi is an American Indian berry sauce. Traditional wojapi can be made with chokeberries, blueberries, huckleberries and/or blackberries that sometimes may be as thick as pudding or with a consistency of jam. A bit of sugar or honey may be added but the highlight of this sauce is the berries, not the sweetener.

This wojapi is made with frozen berries: cherries, blueberries, and cranberries as well as a touch of honey.

Frozen berries of cherries, blueberries and cranberries for wojai

How do you make wojapi?

  • To make wojapi, cook the berries down slowly to the point that the mixture has a thick texture.
  • Put the berries in the crock pot
  • Cook in the crock pot for 3 to 4 hours on low
  • Puree the mixture with a hand-held immersion blender.

Here are the berries — put the frozen berries directly into your Instant Pot or Crock Pot. No need to defrost.

Frozen berries are in the Instant Pot for making wojapi

After three hours the berries are cooked and ready. Juicy and fragrant. I find the Instant Pot works well on the crock pot mode. Medium heat for three hours worked well. This is a flexible recipe. Three hours on low in the crock pot is perfect too. 

Berries after three hours in crock pot for wojapi

Now you may add the honey if you wish to sweeten your berries. Puree with an immersion hand held blender. A Vitamix or other blender would work well too.

Immersion blender purees the berries for wojapi to make a Native American berry sauce from frozen berries

And there it is– the finished berry sauce. You may puree this to be completely smooth similar to this cranberry butter. Or I prefer wojapi with half to three quarters of the berries pureed and some still intact. 

Pureed wojapi American Indian Berry sauce

How do you use wojapi?

Wojapi can be used as topping for bread, waffles, pancakes, ice cream, or the way I was introduced to this sauce at Tocabe, as a topping for fry bread. Fry bread is a Native American food that is a real treat. I need to petition Tocabe to make a gluten free version so that I can enjoy it again!

Are you wondering how to pronounce wojapi? It seems that w0-za-pee is accepted as correct. 

Where is Tocabe restaurant?

Tocabe is a restaurant that serves American Indian food. It has two locations in and around Denver. I visited the Greenwood Village location with three other food bloggers and we were treated to an impressive meal and, even better, the background of how this unique restaurant concept came to be.

The restaurants are owned by Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs. Ben and his family are tribal members of the Osage Nation which is located in Oklahoma. Ben’s brother, Jon, spoke with us at length sharing the family history and the connection to the food of their tribe.

Tocabe brings the strong tradition of and the pride in their Indian culture into a modern day restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. Tocabe has been featured on the Food Network and draws both local customers and those visiting Denver. It is well worth your time to stop in for a meal.

But this is not a restaurant review (if it were, I could not say enough positive words– Tocabe is a special place to enjoy American Indian recipes!), this is a post about their American Indian berry sauce so let’s get back to it.

Do you use fresh or frozen berries to make wojapi?

My wojapi recipe uses frozen berries that are easy to find in most grocery stores– blueberries, cherries and cranberries. Ben said that fresh or frozen would be fine. He also advised against adding any water; simply allow the berries to slowly cook in their own juice. Add a touch of sweetener for taste– sugar, honey or agave would all be good choices.

Can you make wojapi with a slow cooker?

Because a long, slow cooking time was recommended, I turned to a method that obviously wasn’t the traditional one of American Indians but it worked along the same lines as cooking the sauce slowly over low heat: a crockpot. The crockpot allowed the berries to break down and simmer gently. I pureed half of the mixture after about 3-4 hours, added two tablespoons of honey and the sauce was just right. 

What should be served with wojapi?

At Tocabe, the wojapi is served with Indian Fry Bread. Oh how I enjoyed this Fry Bread in the days before I switched to a gluten free diet! It is SO good. Fry Bread is a flat dough bread that is deep fried. Yup, it is straight-forward and delicious.

Here I’ve served wojapi with these overnight yeast waffles. Of course you could make your waffles traditional, gluten free, paleo, or how ever your family enjoys them.

Toast is also an option. Rolls would welcome a dollop of wojapi too.

Even the Thanksgiving cranberry sauce could be pushed aside to make room for wojapi. Pork would pair well with wojapi too. I’m curious about other Native American cranberry recipes and will have to look into creating more food with these flavors.

Yield: 1 pint

Wojapi, an American Indian berry sauce

Wojapi, an American Indian berry sauce

Wojapi is an American Indian berry sauce. You might think “jam” just to get you in the frame of mind but this wojapi is not a sweet, sugary jam. You taste the berries, not sugar

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen sour cherries
  • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Instructions

  1. Place the frozen (or fresh) berries in a crock pot (slow cooker).
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring after each hour.
  3. Puree half of the berry mixture with a handheld blender. I like to retain the second half "as-is" to keep the texture of some of the berries.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of honey (or other sweetener of your choice). Stir gently to combine.
  5. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Notes

Experiment with fresh or frozen berries. Mix up the ratios too (more cranberries and less cherries for example).

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

32

Serving Size:

1 tablespoon

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 13Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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Wojapi, an American Indian berry sauce

Thank you, Tocabe, for the wonderful meal. Welcome to my neighborhood, so glad you have put roots down here! I was not paid to write this post, although we were treated to a great meal. All opinions are my own and in no way reflect Tocabe or its owners.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Are you looking for recipes for jams or spreads that you can make at home? Try these!

Please note that this post was first shared in 2015 and was updated in November 2018.

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Heddy

Wednesday 30th of January 2019

I Still dream about Tocabe. My first fisit was in the Fall of 2016 and I dreamt about it until my visit this past August (2018), I was taken to the south Denver location, rather than the original. A little dissappointing they did not serve the stuffed fry bread there, so when I return in May later this year you know where my 1st stop will be. Swoon. Anytime someone tells me they are going to Denver I tell them Tocabe is a MUST!!!! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I look forward to trying it out.

Holly Baker

Wednesday 30th of January 2019

yes! I agree wholeheartedly-- Tocabe has that sort of effect! Enjoy your visit in May.

Claudia Lamascolo

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Oh I would love this on top of my breakfast waffles and pancakes sure looks like a fun healthy way to eat them!

Ginny McMeans

Sunday 18th of November 2018

What an amazing recipe and information. Tocabe sounds like a wonderful place to dine too. We do get to go to Colorado to visit relatives pretty often so I'll definitely be checking them out. making this recipe too! I do have to switch the honey for maple syrup but I'm still looking forward to it.

Holly Baker

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Let me know if you visit Tocabe. They have two locations in the Denver area. It's always a treat to go there!

Mary Bostow

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Oh my goodness this is absolutely fantastic! This is awesome! Yup this looks pretty darn perfect to me. Very interesting combination of ingredients. I really like. THANK YOU!

Danielle Wolter

Sunday 18th of November 2018

This is such a great idea. I would love to have this for breakfast!

Holly Baker

Sunday 18th of November 2018

Yes, it is so good on waffles or pancakes too.