So I have this uncle who runs a pub popularly known as Beer parlor here in Nigeria. Classy???….errrmmm, i wouldn’t say but such establishments surprisingly tend to reel in the men like bees to honey. On my recent visit to his beer parlor, i couldn’t help but notice that one of the meals he serves up quickly is Nkwobi. If he prepares a full gigantic pot of this meal, it gets finished within few hours. And to think it doesn’t come cheap baffles me. A plate in an average restaurant like his ranges between 600-1500 Naira and for a typical Igbo man, this is good business. What makes this dish irresistible is the sauce which could be really addictive.
As soon as i left his beer parlor, i headed straight to the market to get ingredients for Nkwobi. The first stop i made was at the slaughter house to get fresh cow leg. After Haggling the price with the butcher for about 10 mins, we came to an agreement and concluded i was going to pay N1500 for a full leg. Once the meat was paid for, the butcher scraped the skin of the leg to remove dirt and excess hair before chopping it up into smaller bits.
Now, this dish isn’t your average home cooked meal as it’s mostly sold in restaurants or bars as a special delicacy. Nkwobi is a Nigerian dish which Originates from the Eastern part on Nigeria. It’s a delicacy which delights the heart of any man i tell you. Do let me know how it goes once you try it out.
P.S: Isi ewu is also prepared the same way. The only difference is, Goat Head is used instead of cow leg
How to make Nkwobi & Ugba
• Prep Time: 40 minutes
• Cook Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
• Serves: 5-8 people
• Wash the cow leg thoroughly and place in a pot. Add some chopped onion, Seasoning cubes and cook till Soft. Make sure the liquid left in the pot is minimal and concentrated to ensure the seasoning gets into the bone meat. -Set this aside.
2. Ehuru/Ehu seeds: This is what gives the dish its authentic local flavor. It cannot be substituted for the normal Nutmeg. To make it easy to remove from the shell, it could either be pan roasted or roasted in open flame
3. Potash: This is the special ingredient that makes the palmoil Curdle and change colour. To prepare, place the powdered potash in a bowl. Add some water and stir. What you need is the liquid and not the residue. Just stir and set aside. An alternative to potash is Ngu which is more Local than potash but its quite rare and is mostly found in remote areas.
4. Utazi leaves: Utazi is Used as a garnish for this meal. It has a Bitter taste and gives the dish a wonderful Bitter flavor. It’s Used sparingly though since most people cannot stand the bitter taste. To prepare, wash and chop -Set aside
5. Ugba: Usually, Nkwobi on its own is tasty but when oil bean seed ‘Ugba’ is added, it becomes simply mouth watering due to the additional flavor it gives the dish. To prepare, wash the ugba with clean water and set aside.
6: Onions: This is Usually used as a Garnish and is eaten raw. To prepare, wash and slice the onion into rings – Set aside.
Now you are done preparing the ingredients, its time to prepare the Main Nkwobi.
Preparation of the Nkwobi sauce
Step 2: Keep stirring till the Oil Turns bright yellow and thickens.
Step 4: Gently add the Ugba, pour the cooked cowleg into the sauce (with very little meat stock). Stir Very well and place the pot on the Burner and allow the mixture to simmer for about 5-8 minutes.
Step 5: Dish Out into the traditional Nkwobi bowl and garnish with the sliced onion rings and Utazi leaves.
Serve with a Chilled drink or a glass of palmwine.