Ekpang Nkukwo

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  coco yam leaves
½ cup unshelled Periwinkle (optional)
6 crabs(dressed)
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 Peppercoco yam grating
2 cooking spoons Palm oil
2 tablets Crayfish seasoning
750ml Water
Salt to taste


lining the pot with periwinkles periwinkleslining the pot for ekpang nkukwo







  • 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

coco yam pottage


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  • Comments
  • kelly.f baby
    17 January, 2013

    food of my childhood…

    • Abasiama Obi-Chinedu
      11 September, 2013

      Food of childhood for real! My favourite dish till date.

  • Cindy
    28 July, 2013

    Aunty Iquo,

    Please what else can I use as the base in the pot? I see the periwinkle is optional (and I really can’t get it where I live).


  • 1Qfoodplatter
    29 July, 2013

    Hi Cindy, you do not have to use periwinkle. Make sure to cook on low heat though so the Ekpang does not burn. The periwinkle usually prevents burning.

  • Genny
    12 August, 2014

    In the absence of coco-yam leave, please what other leaf can I use in-place of coco yam-leaf…….Thanks,.

    • 1Qfoodplatter
      12 August, 2014

      Hi, Genny. In place of cocoyam leaves you can use lettuce leaves or ugwu leaves, but I prefer the taste of the lettuce.

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