Ekpang Nkukwo is a lovable meal of the Efiks (Cross River) and the Ibibios (Akwa Ibom State), it is prepared from a combination of cocoyam, water yam and leaves. This food must not be missing in some occasions or ceremonies such as christening, meetings and especially traditional marriage if it does that means that occasion is not complete. It may interest you to know also that it is a diet that is used in fattening, that is why it is highly consumed by almost all new mums or someone who is preparing for marriage in Cross River especially. Although that was before this age, I’m not sure people bother themselves with such activities again.
The process of preparing expang nkukwuo is very tedious, if you want to eat the food in the afternoon it will be ideal to start preparation four hours before the time except you have many hands assisting. Grating of the cocoyam and water yam takes a long time but not as much as when wrapping the grated substance, they are wrapped into small cylindrical shapes you have to be very technical in doing that if not they will all loosen when cooking them. To reduce the time for the preparation of ekpang nkukwo you have to prepare some things down like the fish and periwinkle. Just like yam flour we now have cocoyam and water yam flour for ekpang.
The Nutritional Value Of Ekpang Nkukwo
The nutritional value of ekpang nkukwuo is indeed something to behold, cocoyam has low carbohydrate content. Other additives such as seafoods, leaves, oil etc makes the food a balanced diet. We have in it; mineral, vitamins, proteins, carbohydrate, water, fat and oil. Ekpang nkukwo has the same recipe as ikokori the Yoruba version. I will advice the meal should be served during the day because it is a very heavy meal. If you are a slim person that wants to gain fat after eating to your full, drink plenty water after relaxing enough take some sleep trust me within a month your size would have increased.
Today, I will be telling you some of the things nobody has told you on how to,prepare ekpang nkukwo or let me say I will be differing from some of the things you have been taught. Just like in the preparation of afang soup you shouldn’t add onions to ekpang, it ca be used for stock but not in the main cooking. You may say well I have been doing that and the meal has been great fine also try not using it come back here and tell us what you noticed. It may look great the moment you finished cooking how about later.
It is called ekpang nkukwo and nkukwo means cocoyam leave but you can use ugu leaves, lettuce and spinach in fact I deliberately avoid using cocoyam leaves because some of them can be itchy even after cooking on fire. Also you can use only water yam to prepare ekpang.Don’t use fresh fish, dry fish is the best to use, it will give a better taste to the food than the fresh.
Important Things To Note About The Preparation Of Ekpang Nkukwu
There are some things that shouldn’t be missing in this food although you can do without them;
Perewinkle. This is what makes this meal unique in Akwa/Cross you can do without any other ingredients but not periwinkle. Some people can refuse to eat the delicacy just because of the absence of periwinkle.
Red palm oil. The beauty of ekpang is in the amount of oil you used, a generous amount will make the food inviting if not you will not want to taste because it will appear like p… I don’t want to complete the word.
Crayfish. If you don’t have enough fish or none at all don’t bother cooking ekpang nkukwo because the taste comes out more when you use plenty crayfish to cook the food.Now that we are done with don’t and other important facts, it is time to go into the real business which is the procedure. You are about to learn how to prepare ekpang nkukwo in Ibibio, let’s take a ride.
Ingredients/Recipe for 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 cow hides (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
Procedure for Preparing 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.
- Boil water and Pour four cups of hot water to 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 for 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 warmSome people like dishing the ekpang into tray then use their hands to eat, it is more enjoyable with bare hands.
There are different ways of cooking ekpang and they still come out very well at the end. That is recipe may be the same but the procedure for preparation differs.This is how I cook my ekpang nkukwo and it works perfectly fine for me, you can’t eat it and wouldn’t want more.
You probably might have heard of ayang ekpang, it is the same as ekpang nkukwo. The only difference is that the wrapping is long and big, after cooking knife is used to reduce the sizes.
Ekpang Nkukwo is one of the most sought after delicacies from Akwa Ibom. Now that you know how to cook expang go ahead and try it.You can add it to your menu if you own a restaurant or become ekpang nkukwo vendor. A plate of ekpang nkukwo in Abuja is price as much as #3,500 you can imagine how much you will make if you start it as a business. The same thing is applicable for ekpang nkukwo in Lagos there are many mouths waiting to consume tasty ekpang why not satisfy them.
Employ my services to cook ekpang for you either for occasion or family meal, my prices are moderate. It is for only those residing in Abuja
You can call for a one on one teaching of Ekpang nkukwu preparation. 08035965405
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