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
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.