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Recipe for Ekpang Nkukwo

Amongst the Efik-Ibibio people of the Niger-Delta region, Ekpang Nkukwo is a ceremonial food. This meal is highly nutritive and delicious. The chief ingredients for this delicacy are cocoyam and water yam. Before we go on this cooking adventure to the South-South, let me quickly say this (at least for the benefit of those who have not prepared this meal before), ekpang nkukwo is not a sharp sharp food. Preparing it requires patience, so if you are a member of the fast food club, you might want to try something else. Having said that, please note that nkukwo is the cocoyam leaf. However, in its absence, vegetables like ugu (pumpkin) and nchanwu (scent leaf) can be used.


5 tubers of cocoyam

I small tuber of water yam

Palm oil

Cocoyam leaves, ugu or scent leaves




1 medium size dry fish

1/2 cup of unshelled periwinkle (piom piom)

Stock cubes


How to Cook

Peel the cocoyam, rinse and grate it into a clean bowl using a grater. Peel the water yam. Rinse and also grate it into a bowl. Use a spatula to thoroughly mix the grated cocoyam and water yam with a little palm oil into a paste. Set aside for later use.

Remove the veins from the cocoyam leaves. Rinse the leaves thoroughly to eliminate sand then set aside for later use. Use warm water and salt to rinse the periwinkle thoroughly. Add water in a kettle and allow it to boil. Blend the crayfish, onions and pepper. Get a cooking pot and pour the rinsed periwinkle into the pot. This serves as a foundation on which the ekpang nkukwo is set.

Using your fingers or a teaspoon, scoop a little cocoyam paste onto a cocoyam leaf. Wrap carefully and set inside the pot. Repeat the process till the last paste is wrapped and set in the pot. Add your stock fish, dry fish and the blended ingredients into the pot. Pour palm oil and add stock cubes and salt to taste. Set the pot on the cooker and pour the boiled water into the pot from the side. The water should slightly cover the wrapped leaves. Allow to cook for twenty five minutes. Stir the food and turn off the heat. Food is ready.


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Featured image source: Trybbbe

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Obiamaka Angela Udevi

Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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