My Kitchen: Water yam Pottage (Ekpang-Nkwukwuo)

4 April, 2017

Ekpang- Nkukwuo is a very rich and nutritious dish commonly used by the EFIKS and IBIBIOS for fattening of pregnant women, nursing mothers and I grew up on this dish. In fact, it’s one of my major cravings whenever I am pregnant. Its Water yam pottage or what we call Ekpang Nkwukwo. It’s really tasty and quite easy to digest.

Though I am from Abiriba in Abia State, I have Calabar ancestry so you’ll understand why this is a native meal for me.

Ekpang- Nkukwuo is a very rich and nutritious dish commonly used by the EFIKS and IBIBIOS for fattening of pregnant women, nursing mothers and also for fattening of little babies.

In addition to the main ingredients; grated water yam and cocoyam, periwinkles, crayfish, fish and or assorted meat are usually the basic condiments for this food

Two major things that delays Ekpang Nkukwuo's preparation are the peeling and grating of the water yam/cocoyam as well as wrapping the grated water yam/ cocoyam. Ekpang- Nkukwuo is usually served hot such. I make mine without the cocoyam and that’s the recipe I’m sharing with you.


  • 6 medium size of water yam tubers
  • 1/2 tuber of water yam
  • 3 cups of shelled periwinkles( mfi)
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of dry crayfish
  • 1/2 cup of dry shrimps (optional)
  • You can use any of these: A handful of Ugu leaves, tender potato leaves, fresh cocoyam leaves, spinach, scent leaves. I prefer Ugu and scent leaf.
  • 4 Fresh or dry pepper
  • Cow hides (kanda) cut into tiny pieces (kanda)
  • You can use dry, smoked or ice fish or beef/goat meat. I use prefer to use smoked fish with goat meat
  • 1 ball onion
  • 2 cups of palm oil
  • 4 cups of water
  • seasoning cubes and salt to taste


  • Wash and season the goat meat and the kanda, then cook till soft. Wash the smoked fish and keep it aside

  • Wash the shelled periwinkles severally in salt water and keep aside.
  • Blend crayfish and pepper and keep aside.

  • Peel, wash and grate the water yam into an open bowl, add 2 seasoning cubes with a little salt and 1 spoon of palm oil to it. Mix it properly with your finger tips and keep aside. (Note: some water yams are so itchy, be careful not to allow it pass your wrists or you can use a removable gloves to prevent the itchiness)

  • Rub a generous amount of palm oil on the inside of the pot you will use to cook the Ekpang Nkwukwo.

  • Pluck the Ugu leaves from the stem, wash and keep aside

  • Cut the scent leaves and keep aside. This will serve as the vegetable spice. 


1.Grease the cooking pot  with palm oil then line the washed periwinkles in the pot. The periwinkles will prevent the porridge from getting burnt at the bottom of the pot.  Meanwhile, heat up 4 cups of water you will need it after wrapping the water yam.

2.Using your hand, scoop the prepped water yam on one side of the bare leaves then wrap it cylindrical till the edges of the water yam are sticking out on both ends. Regularly wet your hands inside the warm water to prevent the water yam from sticking to your palms making the process tougher.  Do this until the whole grated water yam is finished from the tray. 

      3.Drop into the pot and boil at low heat for about 10minutes

4. Pour the boiled hot water to the pot containing the wrapped water yam

5. When it starts to boil, add the remaining seasoning cubes, pepper, onions, crayfish, shrimps, the already cooked beef, dressed dry fish, and the cow hides, and salt to taste and don't stir it yet. Close the pot and allow it to boil for about 15minutes.

6. When the folded water yam starts getting swollen, pour the remaining palm oil to it and stir gently till all the ingredients are well mixed. Check the consistency, if it is still too thick, add the meat stock or more water and stir properly

7. If you notice the wrapped water yam to be to chunky, use a kitchen knife to cut through all the folded wraps to reduce their sizes while it’s still cooking. Cover the pot and leave to simmer on a low heat for 5 more minutes

8. Pour the scent or curry leaves you have shredded and stir it again.

9. Turn off the heat and it’s done.

I eat this with a cold drink


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