How To

How to Prepare Okpa (11 Easy Steps)

Do you love Okpa and you want to prepare it yourself? then this post is for you. Use the ingredients mentioned and follow the instructions on how to make this delicious Igbo food.


  • 3 cigar cups | 450g | 1lb Okpa flour
  • 15 tablespoons red palm oil
  • 4 small stock/bouillon cubes (Maggi, Knorr etc)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Habanero pepper (to taste)
  • 1.2 litres lukewarm/tepid water

Okpa wrappers

  • Dry banana/plantain leaves
  • Tough transparent plastic bags that can withstand high heat
  • Bowls (use as a last resort)
  • Aluminium foil bag

Notes on the ingredients

  1. Okpa beans is known as Bambara groundnut or simply Bambara nut. In some parts of the world, it is known as Jugo Beans. There are different species of Okpa. It comes in small pods which you crack open to release the seeds. The seeds are very hard and only special heavy-duty industrial grinders can easily grind these seeds into powder. So, this one is not a job for your kitchen dry mill.
  2. You need enough oil to give it, popping yellow colour and to improve the taste.
  3. It does not need much seasoning so the ingredients listed above are all you need. Onions and crayfish ruin the naturally delicious flavour of this food.
  4. The Okpa mix may seem watery but 1.2 litres of water is the quantity of water you need for the perfect Okpa texture. If you add much less water, you will end up with rocky Okpa.

How to make Okpa

  1. Sift the flour into a big enough bowl. Add salt and the crushed stock cubes. Mix very well.
  2. Add the palm oil. Mix the palm oil and flour very well till the palm oil is well incorporated into the flour.
  3. Pour a generous quantity of water into a big pot and set it on the stove to boil.
  4. Start adding the lukewarm water to the Okpa flour and mix till there are no lumps. Watch the video below to see how I crush the lumps without stress bypassing the mix through a sieve with a wire mesh. You can also use a blender to get the smoothest mix. But that’s a lot of washing up to do later. 
  5. Add the sliced habanero pepper. Check for salt and add more if necessary and it’s ready to be scooped into the wrappers!
  6. Now the water in the pot should be boiling. If not, wait for it to boil and add some spare wrappers or plastic bags before moving on to the next step. These wrappers and plastic bags act as a base for the Okpa wraps.
  7. Now to a major step: 2 with the banana leaves and 1 with plastic bags. Hopefully, the images and explanations make sense but if you really want to master wrapping the Okpa, watching the video is so worth it. Go to a cyber cafe if you can’t watch it on your phone/gadget. Some things just can’t be adequately explained in writing.
  8. After tying one end of the banana leaves as shown in the video and image links below, stir and mix very well and scoop into the leaf/plastic bag. Tie the other end with a string and place the wrapped okpa in the pot of boiling water. It is important that the Okpa is completely immersed in the hot water.
  9. Repeat the above step for the rest of the mix. Make sure you stir the mix, scoop into the wrapper, tie with the string, and put in the pot of boiling water before wrapping another one.
  10. When done, cover the wraps with more leaves or plastic bags. Cover the pot and start cooking medium to high heat.
  11. Cook for at least 1 hour before checking it.

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