Ọkpa is a staple food very popular in Enugu, Nigeria. It was many years ago I learnt that the nuts of the ọkpa powder are in English called Bambara beans. But if you want the seeds or powder, and you go about local Nigerian markets in search of Bambara nuts, I’m afraid you’ll find nothing even though they might be sitting right under your searching eyes.
Here’s how to make ọkpa:
- Ọkpa powder
- Red peppers
- Palm oil
- Measure out the powder and sieve through a strainer to break up balls. Depending on how much you want to make, 5 milk cups can make about 15 wraps measured by the same milk cup.
- Pour palm oil into the powder and mix thoroughly till all the oil and powder get mixed.
- Pour in a little warm water and continue mixing till you get a thick consistent paste.
- Add pepper and salt then mix.
- Add more water and stir. The perfect mixture will run smoothly (neither thick nor watery).
- Wrap in cellophane bags or banana leaves and place in already boiling water.
- Check if it’s done in an hour’s time. Cooked ọkpa is thick and non-sticky when you cut through.