On our history segment today is ukwa, a delicacy that hails from Igboland. Ukwa is called African breadfruit in English because it is similar to the breadfruit eaten in the Caribbean and South Pacific. The African breadfruit is eaten by people of different ethnic groups in Nigeria. These ethnic groups not only have different ways of preparing it but they also have native names for this food. It is called Afon in Yoruba, Ize in Benin, Jekri/Sobo in Ijaw, Ediang in Efik and Bafafuta in Hausa. Also, the botanical name for this food is Treculia africana.
The ukwa tree is of the
Ukwa is a versatile, nutritious meal with a natural taste. The seeds can be roasted, fried and even boiled before consumption. It can also be ground to flour, pressed for oil and used as a flavouring in alcoholic drinks. In Igboland, when it is roasted and eaten with coconut or palm kernel, it is called aki
Ukwa porridge which is a ceremonial food in some parts of Igboland can be served as breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are different methods of preparing the porridge. It can be cooked plain without seasoning because fresh ukwa has a naturally delicious taste even without salt. It can also be prepared with dry fish, palm oil, fresh pepper, crayfish and salt. While some people add sweet corn to their porridge, others prefer to stir bitter leaf into it.
Regardless of the method of preparation used, it is a tough food to cook. It is either cooked with pressure pot or with the addition of certain ingredients like edible potash (
The Guardian Online
V.N. Osabor, D.A. Ogar, P.C. Okafor and G.E. Egbung, “Profile of the African Bread Fruit (Treculia africana),” Pakistan Journal of Nutrition 8 (7), 2009.
Featured image source: guardian.ng