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Ekpang Nkukwo (Cocoyam and wateryam porridge)

Ekpang nkukwo is a native Nigerian dish which originates from the South South Eastern Nigeria i.e Cross River and Akwa Ibom States of Nigeria. It's a one pot meal made from either grated Cocoyams, Water yams or a mixture of both, rolled in pumpkin(Ugwu) or Cocoyam leaves and cooked with different assorted meat or fish such as Chicken, beef, periwinkles, dried fish, stock fish e.t.c. with palmoil as a base.
The Original recipe calls for just cocoyam (The hairy type usually eaten locally with palmoil and not the type used in thickening soups known as "ede ofe") but other alternatives include the use of just Wateryam or a mixture of both. Also, since the original vegetable used for this dish "The young unsprouted cocoyam leaf" is hard to come across in the cities, vegetables such as Ugwu or spinach are used as alternatives.

How to make Ekpang Nkukwo
• Prep time:   20 mins
• Cook time: Over 1 hour

• 1/3 Water yam tuber
• 5 tubers of Cocoyam
• A bunch of Ugwu leaves or young cocoyam leaves for wrapping
• 2 cups Palmoil
• 3 cups of Shelled periwinkles
• 2 Dry fish /Smoked fish
• 500g Chicken/ Beef
• 200g Pomo (Cut into bits) - Optional
• 1 cup Crayfish, Ground
• 4 Scotch Bonnets (Red "ata rodo" or yellow pepper "Nsukka pepper"),ground
• 1 Medium sized red onion, ground
• A handful of Scent leaves "Nchuawun", chopped - Optional

Preparation/ Directions:::
For this recipe, i used Shelled periwinkles "Isam/mfi". To prepare,
Step 1: Wash the periwinkles severally to remove the dirt and sand. After washing, Chop off the sharp end of the periwinkles with a knife. This is to make sucking out the periwinkles easier - Set aside.

Step 2: To prepare the pot, add a little palmoil into an empty dry pot and rub the oil all around the corners of the pot. This is to prevent it from burning at the bottom (Local style :D). Another way to prevent the bottom from burning is to pour in some of the periwinkles before putting in the wrapped yam. This acts as a base due to its hard shell and also to prevent it from burning at the bottom. For me, i like mine on top so i can always "Taste" while cooking :D- Set aside

For this recipe, i used both water and cocoyams and this is because i like the porridge-like soft texture of the yams when cooked.
Step 3: Slice and peel the wateryam and cocoyam tuber. Wash with clean water and grate into a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle some salt to taste and mix the grated yams thoroughly with washed hands or a spatula then set aside.

For this recipe, i used pumpkin leaves"Ugu" since it's quite rare to find young cocoyam leaves in the market.
Step 4: Soak the Pumpkin leaves in salt water for 5mins to remove the germs and dirt then rinse severally with clean water.
To prepare, get one pumpkin leaf and spread the grated yam mixture over the surface. Roll up and place within the oiled pot. Repeat till all the grated yam has been used up. Arrange everything line by line within the pot.

Since this is a one pot meal, the meats and fish are usually added on top of the whole ingredients in the pot but to make it easier, i like preparing the stock separately.

Step 5: To prepare the Stock, Soak the dry fish in Hot water for about 3mins to soften and remove whatever dirt is within. Rinse and place in a small pot. Wash the chicken and kpomo and also place in the pot. Sprinkle some salt and cook for about 12mins- Set aside

Step 6: Place the pot with the arranged yam wraps on the burner, pour in the rest of the periwinkles, add the Crushed seasoning cubes, pepper, crayfish, onion,1 cup of palm oil, pour in the stock with the chicken and fish included.

Step 7: Cook on medium heat for about 25mins till it starts to boil. While it cooks, please note that it shouldn't be stirred....you don't want it looking like potty once done trust me :D. After this time, you can now stir gently.

Step 8: Add the rest of the palmoil, leave to cook for about 10mins.

Step 9: Add the scent leaves and leave to simmer for about 5mins more

Turn off the burner and serve hot.

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  1. Ekpang Nkukwo is my favourite dish. Nothing even compares. I can be obese for this dish lol thats how much I love it.

    1. you should have seen the way the fam devoured the whole pot...i totally agree with you, lovely dish :)

  2. Now i'm hungry......Dobby i'm coming for my share.#wink#
    The Beautiful Eagle

    1. would reserve some specially for you ;)

  3. me toooo afrolems we are in it together esp the mfi sucking part

  4. wowza........................yummy!

  5. Hmmm... dobby.... u aff done it again. *mouth watering*

  6. Hmm! Chicken in ekpang? My people would be shocked!!! Dobby u can also add spice too either Scent leaf or Uyayak(Google it). it tastes realy nice in ekpang! Nice one dear

    1. :D there was no beef. i use uyayak for banga and peppersoup most times but never for Ekpang. Would try adding Uyayak next time i prepare it. Thanks Tokoni :)

  7. Dobby this is great, thank U 4 this recipe.

    1. you are welcome Anon

    2. Dobby, I too was shocked like Tokoni to see chicken added to the meal. I'm Ibibio from Akwa Ibom State. While chicken may add a modern touch to it, our people use more of smoked fish, sea food like crabs and prawns. Also bushmeat, kpomo and beef. I agree with Tokoni on enhancing the aroma and flavour with Uyayak. It's a 'boat shaped' hard shelled spice. Its aroma is woonderful. We also add it to our afia efere (white soup), pepper soup and efere abak (banga or atama soup). All in all, I score you 100% for tutorials and presentation. So on point. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Gush! I love me some of this! I am not Calabar but this has got my mouth watery. I will try it out. I hope I get it right. Thanks @ Dobby.

    1. with the steps above, i'm sure you'd get it right. Do keep me posted k :)

  9. queen obiaga6/07/2014 12:07 pm

    Wow! Dobby nice one I sch in calabar and is one of my best meal nd I enjoy it more wen scent leave is added plus while washing the mfi boil it for abt 2mins wit salt to remove d bitter taste nd make it neater

  10. Please what is this scotch bonnet Or ato rodo, that's always in ur recipe?. I am lost and not sure what it is.

  11. Hi miss Gee,
    Scotch bonnets are the normal small peppers sold in the Nigerian market. The yorubas call the red type "Ata rodo". You could view more HERE

  12. Cutting the curved top makes sucking a lot easier.

  13. Thanks for that

  14. Will def try dis out! Can't wait oh...m.

  15. Please do u remove it from the leaves before serving? Ama

    1. No you don't remove the leaves before serving. The leaves are meant to be eaten up.

  16. I just discovered your blog and wondered why i havn't come across it before. Am based in the UK and craving for this dish. My mum makes this dish for us and i can rememeber all the ingredients she uses and you nailed it except the chick doh, it's all stock fish and dry fish based but hey, i love yours and will request for it on my next visit to Nigeria. Also was telling my hubby about it just last night and today i came across your blog, what a coincedence. Lovely work you doing and I love FOODD as well, the price i have to pay is to hit the gym constantly...LOL. Nice work keep it up dear. Cheers, Ne Lo


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