Saturday, March 07, 2015

Weekend Kitchen: Ekpang Nkwukwo

I have fond memories of Ekpang Nkwukwo.  This is a delicious and legendary Calabar delicacy made from grated cocoyam and water yam wrapped in cocoyam leaves.  Ekpang Nkwukwo used to be the constant Saturday lunch when I was growing up and if we had our way, would have had Ekpang Nkwukwo everyday of the year.  I want to share with you and open your eyes to the delightful delicacy that is called "Ekpang Nkwukwo".

Queensley Bassey 
Our Guest in the Calabar Kitchen today is Queensley and she is going to take us step by step on how to prepare Ekpang Nkwukwo (also referred to as Ekpang).

Ekpang Nkwukwo Ingredients:
1 medium sized Water yam
4 = 5 medium sized Coco yams
Pepper, Salt, Maggi (Any other Seasoning will do the trick)
Coco yam Leaves (This is used to wrap the Ekpang - Spinach or Pumpkin leaf (Ugwu) can be used as an alternative if you cant find Coco yam leaves in your vicinity)
Palm Oil
Shaki, Ponmo, Goat Meat, Snails, Beef, Fish (You can add what ever you want to your Ekpang - the possibilities are endless)
Periwinkle (This is optional and those who do not like it can leave it out.  However for us in Calabar, Ekpang Nkwukwo with periwinkle is non negotiable)
Scent Leaves: Ntung or Etinkeni  (Someone please help with the English names)

Step 1:  Get your water yam (huge yam tuber lookalike on the right) and your cocoyam (tinier tubers on the left) and take a picture for keepsakes.  (That was a joke).  :)

Cocoyam and Water yam

Step 2:  Peel your Water yam and Cocoyam and grate together in a mixing bowl or pot.  Now, when I was younger, we all hated this bit because our knuckles would suffer from grinding against the handheld manual grater.  We don't have to suffer any more!  These are modern times and technology has evolved to save our knuckles.  You can now cut your cocoyam and water yam in small pieces and blend in a blender or food processor.  Dooney shows us how - HERE.
Grated Cocoyam and Water yam Mix
Step 3:  After grating or blending your cocoyam, add a little salt and seasoning to your mix and stir/mix it all together.

Step 4:  Wash your washed cocoyam leaves and cut into moderate sizes.  This will be used to wrap the cocoyam and water yam mix. 
Cocoyam Leaves

Step 5:  Wash your periwinkles and add to the base of a clean pot which will be used to do the cooking.  Add some palm oil to the pot and make sure the palm oil covers the base of the pot and the sides.  This will prevent the cocoyam (Ekpang) from sticking to the pot or burning during  the cooking process.

Palm Oil added to Periwinkle

Step 6:  Tear a moderate or medium sized cocoyam leaf, cut a little bit of the mix and wrap in the mix completely in the cocoyam leaf as shown below.  After wrapping, drop the wrapped leaf /mix into the pot (on top of the periwinkles).  Repeat this process until the cocoyam leaf and mixture has been exhausted.

Step 7:  Your meat, fish, shaki, ponmo etcetera would have been seasoned and cooked in readiness for it to be added to your Ekpang.  Add your meat, dry fish, shaki, gizzard and any obstruction you may want to include in your Ekpang.  Another trick would be to cut your ponmo or shaki in little (extremely tiny) bits and pieces - this way, you have some ponmo or shaki in every spoon of Ekpang you eat. 

Shaki, Dry Fish
Step 8:  Add your pepper, salt , seasoning (Maggi or Knorr) to taste.  Add your Ground Crayfish as well.
Ground Crayfish, Pepper, Knorr and Salt

Step 9:  When your Ekpang is boiling and almost ready, add your scent leaves to give it a lovely aroma.  Stir from bottom of the pot upwards so you wont smash your Ekpang or cause the wrapped leaves to disintegrate.
Ekpang Nkwukwo 
Step 10:  When your Ekpang is ready, remove from the heat and serve with fried meat or smoked barbecued mackerel.

Barbecued Mackerel
Smoked Mackerel
Final Step:  Dish your Ekpang Nkwukwo into a plate and tuck in.  Enjoy!!

Delicious Ekpang Nkwukwo

Ekpang Nkwukwo
 When we were younger, we used to derive pleasure in eating Ekpang with our hands.  Our mum used to serve us the steaming Ekpang in trays and we would all gather around the tray and dig in.  This is one meal that is nicer eaten communally rather than individually.  

Please try this meal at home over the weekend and let me know how it went.  If on the other hand you are in Calabar and too lazy busy to make this at home, Queensley will happily throw down for you at Queenieez Restaurant, 102 Yellow Duke Street, Opposite Church of Latter Saint Days, Calabar.  Remember to tell her your got a wonderful reference and she just might throw in a couple of freebies.  Thank you Queensley!!

Have a lovely weekend!!

Disclaimer:  This is not a sponsored post.  This is me sharing Ekpang Nkwukwo love to the entire world.


  1. I love me some ekpang, I don't see me preparing it but I can totally see me eating lots of it.

  2. It's fun preparing it you know....

  3. I love this article not because it features me but because it showcases the efik cuisine. Beautiful piece.


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