How to prepare Ekpang Nkukwo (Pictures included)

This time on ‘Food Adventures’, we travel down Southern Nigeria, where I come from, to learn how to make ‘Ekpang Nkukwo’, one of the most famous traditional delicacies among the Efiks and Ibibios. It is a pottage dish made with coco-yam and water yam wrapped with leaves.

Ekpang Nkukwo is usually nicknamed ‘love portion’ due to the time and patience involved in making it. What this means is, if she took the pains to prepare this dish for you… brother, she is in love with you. Lol


What you need to prepare Ekpang Nkukwo:

  1. Cocoyam
  2. Water yam
  3. Cocoyam leaf (can be substituted with spinach and pumpkin leaf)
  4. Smoked fish
  5. Stock fish, assorted meat (optional)
  6. Shelled periwinkle (optional)
  7. Cray fish
  8. Scent leaf
  9. Pepper
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Seasoning cubes
  12. Palm oil


What I did:

I got up early Saturday morning to prepare this dish. Prepping time for me was 4 hours and cooking time 30 mins.

I prepared my coco-yam leaf and set it aside


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I peeled the coco-yam and water yam, washed and grated it the traditional way.



Now, this is the ‘not so pleasant’ part of making this dish. Because I am a traditional babe, I grated my yam. I have never tried blending this and do not know anyone who has tried it. If you have, please leave a comment and tell us how (include the brand of your blender please). 🙂

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I mixed the coco-yam and water yam evenly and wrapped it in coco-yam leaf. This takes a lot of patience to do. Ensure you grease the base of your pot with palm oil (this should prevent the food from sticking to the pot). Most people prefer to line the bottom of the pot with periwinkles for the same reason. I’m not really a fan of shelled periwinkles so I left that out.

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I parboiled my fish, stock fish and cow leg to extract the juices and added them to my pot. I added pepper (I used Cameroon pepper because of the unique flavor), crayfish, salt, and seasoning cubes. Then I added a generous amount of boiling water to my pot and cooked for about 15-20 mins. Like my mum taught me, you do not stir the pot until you are sure it’s been properly cooked. This will prevent the wrapped ‘ekpang’ from falling apart.




I added palm oil and scent leaf and stirred evenly. I tasted to ensure my spices were adequate.


And there you have it.


This was so delicious I did a second round with equal portion. “Ekpang Nkukwo Calories Don’t Count…” Lol

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For more on our Food Adventures, read here.

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    1. Sure, i will. 🙂 Can you see the veins on the leaf, in the first picture? The trick is to cut out the rectangular part (between the veins), which can be done with your hands. This makes it easy to wrap because if you include the veins, it will be difficult for it stay wrapped and maybe tough to eat. Note that you can still split each one again into smaller pieces, but you should maintain the rectangular shape for ease of wrapping. Then you wash thoroughly and it’s ready for use.

  1. Thanks for this. Pls what happens to the cocoyam leaves, is it edible too cos it’s like you cooked everything together. Is it compulsory to put the scent leave. I think scent leaf changes the taste of the what it’s added to completely.

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