When it comes to food, Nigeria stands out as a country with a variety of mouthwatering dishes. Among these, Ekpang Nkukwo holds a place, as a Nigerian recipe that is not only known for its flavourful taste but also its cultural significance. Ekpang Nkukwo originates from the Efik and Ibibio tribes. They call it 'Ekpang Nkukwo' because traditionally it's made using Nkukwo(cocoyam) leaves. However, these days, many opt for Ugu leaves instead because it is easily seen in the market. This dish is renowned for its cooking method where grated cocoyam, an assortment of vegetables aromatic spices, and proteins, like fish or crayfish are combined in a single pot preparation.
Cocoyam (6 large pieces)
Palm Oil (200ml)
Crayfish (1 tbs)
Pepper (1 tbs-chopped)
Dry fish (1 cup- pieces)
Stockfish (1 cup pieces)
Ponmo (cooked and soft)
Larsor Fish Seasonings (2x10g)
Cocoyam leaves (or Ugu leave) for wrapping
Scent leaves (chopped)
Periwinkles (Cleaned and Deshelled)
STEP 1: First, let's get started by peeling and grating the cocoyam. Now, truthfully, this step can be a bit of work, but it's necessary to get that special, one-of-a-kind texture for Ekpang Nkukwo. If you've got a food processor, it's your best friend for making this part a whole lot easier. Just toss the cocoyam in there, and it'll do the heavy lifting for you.
STEP 2: Mix your grated cocoyam with a little water and a pinch of salt. Give that mixture a good stir or beat it, and the goal here is to add some air into it to make it nice and fluffy.
STEP 3: Now, let's focus on the cocoyam leaves. Pick them apart, one by one, removing any sand or unwanted guests along the way. Then set aside.
STEP 4: In a clean pot, add a sparing amount of palm oil to coat the base, and then create a lovely periwinkle layer. It's the foundation for your Ekpang Nkukwo.
STEP 5: Scoop small portions of the cocoyam paste with your fingers and with the cocoyam leave wrap them a little at a time. Carefully place them in the pot.
STEP 6: Next, add the pepper, dried fish, stock fish, ponmo, crayfish, Larsor fish seasoning, and scent leaves. Pour in 1 cup of hot water or water from the edge of the pot and let it cook slowly over low heat until it sets. This might take about 40 to 45 minutes.
STEP 7: After that, use a wooden spoon to stir gently, ensuring your Ekpang Nkukwo stays in one piece. Taste for salt and make any necessary adjustments. Let it simmer for an extra 2 minutes.
Now you're all set to enjoy your delicious Ekpang Nkukwo!
Beyond being a tantalizing delicacy, Ekpang Nkukwo represents the richness of traditions and flavors that define cuisine. Preparing Ekpang Nkukwo in your kitchen not only offers an exciting culinary experience but also provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in Nigeria’s diverse culture and time-honored customs. So why not embark on this adventure? Savour the delightful flavours of Ekpang Nkukwo and your taste buds will certainly appreciate it!