The Ebira are one of the three major ethnic groups in Kogi State. Ebiraland is bounded in the north by Lokoja; in the west by Owe speaking people of Kabba; in the east by River Niger and by extension, the Igala; and in the south by Edo State.
The Ebira are a people with deep regard for their culture and traditions. Apapa is the ceremonial food of the Ebira. At the annual Ohueje Ohinoyi cultural festival of the people, women of the community dance with a trayful of this food on their heads. Apapa is also prepared during the Ekuechi festival; Ekuechi is a night masquerade festival. Dead ancestors are believed to visit the community during this festival. Even though women, with the exception of the Onoku, are banned from watching or participating in this festival, they prepare delicious apapa for these annual august visitors.
The best beans for apapa is brown beans or black eyed beans. Apapa can be cooked plain, with no ingredient at all. When it is prepared like this, it is usually eaten with any soup or stew of choice. It can also be prepared like moi moi, with exactly the same ingredients. Like moi moi, the shape of apapa is primarily determined by the shape of its container. However, even though apapa can be packaged in aluminum foil, recycled tin, plastic plates or aluminium plates popularly called moi moi plates, the Ebira believe it is safer and more nutritious to use the local apapa leaves in packaging. Please note that the leaves are given a good rinse before use.
Interestingly, there are a number of differences between apapa and moi moi as well. While the beans coat is removed while washing the beans in preparation for moi moi, beans for apapa is cleaned without removing the beans coat. Again, while moi moi usually has a smooth texture, the texture of the other is a bit coarse.
Finally, this protein-rich meal can be enjoyed as a complete meal or snack.
A. A. Okene and O. A. Suberu “The British Conquest of Ebiraland, North Central Nigeria 1886-1917: A Military Interpretation of Sources,” American International Journal of Contemporary Research, Vol. 6, No. 3, 2013.
Naija Green “Five Indigenous Ebira Food you should know- With Pictures,” https://a.9jagreentv.com/nigerian-food/5-indigenous-ebira-foods-know-pictures-delicious/
Featured image source: Steem It
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