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I know some people are already stressed up when they have to cook Ekwang, but do not worry because this recipe is very easy to follow and stress free. Ekwang is a traditional meal of some tribes in the South west Region of Cameroon and enjoyed by many, especially me. Ekwang is also known as Ekpang Nkukwo in Nigeria and a native dish of the South Eastern part of Nigeria particularly the people of Akwa Ibom.
What is Ekwang?
Ekwang is made from grated fresh cocoyams and wrapped in green leaves. Traditionally, cocoyam leaves and sweet bitterleaves are used to wrap the grated cocoyams, but nowadays, many types of green leaves can be used. Cooked with perfect spices which emits that savory aroma. When my mom wants to cook ekwang, everyone in the household joins because the process isn’t easy for just one person. Ekwang is time consuming but read along because I have tips for you.
How can I ease the Ekwang Process?
- First off, to skip all the grating and wrapping process, buy frozen wrapped ekwang. Here is a video of how to cook Frozen ekwang.
- Use a juicer or food processor. This will avoid the grating process and yes it’s more faster.
- Also it can be a plan ahead recipe. Prep and grate cocoyams, preserve in the refrigerator. Can stay for up to 2 days.
What Ingredients to use?
Ekwang has many ingredients but I will pick out the most important.
- Cocoyams: There is a particular cocoyam to use for ekwang. The red cocoyam is the best and in Cameroon it’s called Macabo cocoyams. Cocoyams have to be dry, so you can buy and dry (just let it rest for some few days). Sometimes, in diaspora, the cocoyams tend to have just too much water, I usually transfer the grated cocoyams into a squeeze bag and squeeze out some water. Be careful not to over squeeze like it will be very hard.
- Green leaves: Traditionally Cocoyam leaves and sweet bitterleaves are used. If you are in diapora, use spinach, collard greens, Yu Choy (my favourite chinese leaf, the best so far), and lettuce. Avoid holes or tear on the leaves.
- Palm Oil: Only palm oil to be used. No vegetable oil.
- Proteins: Beef, fish, cow skin, smoked chicken can be used or any proteins of your choice.
- Grater or Juicer, Food processor
- 3-4 lb Large cocoyams can be about 5-7 cocoyams
- 4 Bunch Leafy greens Cocoyam leaves, spinah, yu choy, collard greens, sweet bitterleaves.
- 2 Cups Palm oil
- ½ kg Smoked Beef can use fresh beef
- ½ Cup Crayfish ground
- 1 Cup Smoked Fish or smoked shrimps
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Contry Onion ground, Optional
- ½ large Onion Chopped
- ½ tsp Whitepepper
- ½ tbsp Bouillon powder maggi, or ½ tbsp seasoning powder
- 2 Scotch bonnets adjust according to spicy level
- 1 tsp Blackpepper
- 7-8 Cups Water or broth.
- Slice beef into chunks, season with salt and seasoning powder, boil on high heat until tender with about 3 cups of water. Save Beef broth.
- Peel cocoyams with a knife or vegetable peeler and wash with water till clean. Cocoyams can be itchy, so wash with gloves if you cannot handle the itch. Leave cocoyams inside water till ready to use so it dosen't discolor.
- Using a grater, grate the cocoyams or if using a food processor, process until puree. Add 1 tsp of salt to pureed cocoyams and set aside.
- Tear leaves into pieces and wash perfectly.
- Oil the cooking pot with 1 cup of oil and save the rest for later.
- Scoop about 1 tbsp of the grated cocoyams and place horizontally on the leaf and wrap tightly so it dosen't loosen while cooking.
- Transfer wrapped cocoyams into the greased pot with the end wrapped side facing down making sure you leave tiny spaces in between wraps so water can easily penetrate.
- Boil about 5 cups of water in a seperate pot.
- Add crayfish, beef, onions, fish, and all the rest of ingredients except the oil to the pot.
- Transfer pot on low heat till wraps firms or holds for about 5 minutes.
- Avoid stirring with a cooking spoon at this point, now add beef broth with 4 cups of boiled water and shake the pot making sure water reaches the base. Shake pot using the handles.
- Let it cook for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, you can stir gently, then add palm oil and more water, let it cook again for 30 minutes. Make sure you check the pot every 5 minutes to add water if need be so it dosen't burn.
- Avoid over stirring ekwang like it becomes mushy. Also adjust taste with salt, seasoning powder or water.
- Serve in a plate and let it cool. ENJOY.