How To Cook Ekpang Nkukwo – The Native Food Of Efik & Ibibio

recipe for ekpang nkukwo
Ekpang Nkukwo - © @clicknchop/instagram

Ekpang Nkukwo is one of the special native meals that originate from the south-south eastern part of Nigeria. It is commonly eaten by the people of Cross river and Akwa ibom states. This mouthwatering local delicacy is made with grated cocoyam or water yam – wrapped in cocoyam leaves and cooked with periwinkles and palm oil. The cocoyam leaves are sometimes alternated with pumpkin leaves commonly known as ‘ugwu’. This local Nigerian food is cooked with assorted meat, chicken, fish, periwinkles, pomo, etc. using palm oil as the base. Who wouldn’t want to eat a meal with so much party going on in it? Definitely not us! It is originally cooked with cocoyam leaves, however, this can be very hard to come by in the markets, and that is why the pumpkin leaves or spinach is mostly used as alternatives.

Remember we said it was a very special meal? Yes it is, to the extent that it is mostly reserved for very special occasions – one of the exotic African dishes.


  • 5 Tubers of cocoyam
  • 1/3 water yam tuber (optional)
  • A bunch of pumpkin leaves or young cocoyam leaves for wrapping
  • A generous amount of palm oil
  • 1 cup of crayfish
  • 2 cups of shelled or unshelled periwinkles (as desired)
  • Assorted beef and offal
  • ½ kilo of chicken
  • Dried fish
  • 200g of pomo (processed cow skin)
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • Ground pepper & salt to taste
  • 3 seasoning cubes
  • A handful of scent leaves ‘Nchuawun’ ‘Efirin’

Preparation of Ingredients

  1. Rinse and cook the beef, chicken, offal and dry fish until it is done.
  2. Peel, wash and grate the cocoyam and water yam (that is if you are using it). Mix them together and set aside, otherwise just grate your cocoyam and set aside.
  3. Prepare the pot by rubbing the insides generously with the palm oil, so that the food doesn’t burn at the bottom.
  4. Rinse the tender cocoyam leaves and tear into medium pieces. If it is pumpkin leaves that are being used, wash them and set aside.
  5. Wash the shelled or unshelled periwinkles to remove dirt or sand.
  6. Blend the pepper and crayfish and set aside.
  7. Rinse and slice the scent leaves into small pieces.


If you will be using unshelled periwinkles, put them at the base of the oiled-pot.

Take a small quantity of the grated cocoyam and/or water yam into a piece of the torn cocoyam leaf or pumpkin leaf till the whole mixture is finished.

Add the pepper, crayfish, onions, shelled periwinkles and assorted beef

Add some hot water to the level of the contents of the pot and set to cook on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes till it starts to boil. It should not be stirred while it cooks, so that it does not end up looking all messy and irritating. After this stipulated time, you can then stir gently.

Add the scent leaves for about 5 minutes, a generous amount of palm and salt to taste. Leave for an extra 5 minutes, after which you can turn it off and serve.

Best served HOT!

These are the simple steps required for cooking the special African Cuisine ‘Ekpang nkukwo’.

Follow these steps and let us know how it goes! Enjoy.

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