How To

How to Cook Ekpang Nkukwo (7 easy steps)

Ekpang Nkukwo is an enjoyable meal of the Efiks (Cross River) and the Ibibios (Akwa Ibom State) people, it is cooked with cocoyam, water yam, and leaves. It is used in traditional occasions of the Efik and Ibibio people. Most people do not know to make this soup, especially people from these states who didn’t grow up there but really want to know how to cook the soup. This article is for because I will be showing you a step-by-step method on how to cook the soup.

Ingredients for Ekpang Nkukwo

These are the ingredients used for cooking ekpang nkukwo

  • 1kg Cocoyam, peeled, washed, and grated
  • 100g Water yam (optional), peeled, washed, and grated
  • Fresh Cocoyam leaves, lettuce, Spinach, or Pumpkin leaves
  • 500g Meat, Goat Meat, or Snails (optional
  • ½ cup of ground crayfish
  • ½ cup of dry shrimps (optional)
  • Chilly pepper or any hot pepper
  • 1 medium-sized cowhide (kpomo) cut into tiny pieces (optional)
  • Dry fish as much as you desire
  • 2 cups of palm oil
  • 6 cups of water 
  • 3 cups of shelled periwinkle 4 cubes of Maggi or knorr (seasoning cubes)
  • salt to taste* Basil leaves (scent leaves) to garnish

Steps to take before cooking Ekpang Nkukwo

You have to follow these steps to cook a delicious Ekpang Nkukwo

  • Peel cocoyam and water yam into a bowl and wash very well with plenty water to ensure there is no sand in it. 
  • Grate into a smooth paste, add a little salt, 2 stock cubes and palm oil to mix the paste. Adding these things are optional, the reason for adding is to make the basic ingredients enter the grated cocoyam before wrapping them. Some people don’t add because they assume ingredients can still penetrate the grated cocoyam even when wrapped.
  • Cut the periwinkle and wash very well add some salt and pour hot water on it to remove any remaining dirt and worm.
  • Wash the dry fish with warm water and salt, remove the bones and set aside.
  • Pour some of the red Palm oil into the pot you are using for cooking or you use the red oil to rub the base of the pot this is to prevent the food from getting too burnt. 
  • Remove the periwinkle from water and spread some of it on the pot, the remaining ones will be added as you put plenty of the wrapped cocoyam into the pot.
  • Boil your meat and cut into desired sizes and keep the stock for later use. For me, I don’t bother par boiling the meat i cut them into tiny sizes and add them directly to the pot as I’m adding other ingredients.
  • Wash the vegetables very well and shred them into small sizes as you desire.
  • Bring the grated mixed cocoyam, use your hand to scoop a little on one side of the bare leaves you segmented.
  • Gently wrap it up cylindrically, the edges of the cocoyam will stick out on both ends of the leaves. Place the wrapped cocoyam in the pot carefully. Keep repeating it until all the paste are exhausted. You can keep a bowl of water close to wet your fingertips so the paste won’t be sticking too much in your fingers.
  • When you are done wrapping, add crayfish, salt, pepper, fish, seasoning (Maggie or Knorr), meat if it wasn’t cooked yet and any other thing you are using.

How to cook Ekpang Nkukwo

  • Boil water and pour four cups of hot water into the pot containing the wrapped cocoyam and allow to simmer for 10 minutes before stirring.
  • When the content starts to boil, if you already boiled your meat now is the time to add it. 
  • Pour the remaining palm oil and water. All the water should not be turned in at once so the food won’t be watery do it in bits.
  • Cook on medium heat for 15-20minutes. And keep stirring it from time to time to avoid burning, although ekpang nkukwo always get burnt that is how we love it. You never know what it feels like until you taste the bottom pot of burnt ekpang nkukwo.
  • You can taste salt and seasoning cubes.
  • Add the shredded scent leaves, curry leaves or azuza leaves if you are using them or any and stir the content again to incorporate and leave to cook slowly for 3 minutes.
  • Serve warm, some people like dishing the ekpang into the tray then use their hands to eat, it is more enjoyable with bare hands.

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