The Efik fattening room is one place where Ekpang Nkukwo enjoys prominence. In recent times, it has come to feature quite prominently in Efik traditional events.
I remember as a child when mum cooked this dish, it was served up in a large enamel tray , called ‘nainai‘ and we all sat down with our spoons to dig in. It was served hot so if you were not equipped with “air conditioner ” in your mouth you short changed yourself. It was fun and that was the time when mum dished out instructions on eating manners.
I am wondering what ever happened to family eating time? We all seem to be eating from trays by ourselves.
Ekpang Nkukwo is one those Nigerian dish where preparation time could be long if you are starting from scratch. To shorten preparation process you can actually grate a lot of Coco-yam, divide into zip lock bags or plastic bowls and freeze. Periwinkles, crabs and shrimps can all be dressed in advance. The aspect of preparation that could take a few minutes is the wrapping of the Cocoyam. The wraps are small cylindrical shapes.
This one pot meal which I particularly enjoy eating hot, has everything in it. This is what you will call a nutritious meal; carbohydrates, proteins , vitamins and minerals and oil which all come from the Cocoyam leaves, Cocoyam , seafoods, and oil.
Enjoy as you try out this dish
6 medium size Cocoyam
½ cup unshelled Periwinkle (optional)
1 medium size Dry fish
½ cup Fresh Shrimps
1 cup Stock fish pieces
3 tablespoons Crayfish
4 leaves utasi or 8 ntong leaves( effirin or nchawun)
Cocoyam leaves( segmented)
2 tablespoons dry Pepper
2 cooking spoons Palm oil
2 tablets Crayfish seasoning
Salt to taste
- Peel,wash and grate or blend the coco-yam.
- Cut coco-yam leaves into small segments and wash.
- Top and tail periwinkle, this can actually be done for you in the market.
- Wash periwinkle thoroughly. It carries a lot of mud and sand.
- Place periwinkle at the base of pot. Add a little palm oil ,some pepper, salt and part of the seasoning.
- Mix the grated coco-yam with about ½ cup of water to soften it further.
- Using your fingers,take about a teaspoon size of the paste at a time and wrap in the leaves placing gently in the pot. Place each wrap on the other until all the paste is wrapped.
- Place pot on the fire and allow to heat up .
- Add 2 cups of water from the edge of the pot a little at a time and allow to boil up and cook slowly until set
- Add the fish, shrimps , crabs, seasoning, pepper, utasi or ntong (scent leaves) and a little salt.
- Lower the heat and cook so that the Coco yam can through thoroughly .
- Shake the pot after about 20 minutes to loosen the food and to prevent from sticking to the base of the pot. Do not stir.
- Add remaining water and continue cooking for 10 minutes.
- Add the crayfish and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the oil ,stir (actually lifting from side to side) with wooden spoon so the Ekpang nkwukwo is not all mushy.
- Taste and correct salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Serve hot