If you have ever been in Igbo land or had an Igbo friend, then you must have heard the term Nkwobi before. Nkwobi is a traditional delicacy treasured by Ibos and is loved by other tribes. It is one dish that you are definitely going to find in many restaurants all across Nigeria and it is one I really advise you to try, you won’t regret it.
Although Nkwobi is commonly confused with its equally popular counterpart ‘Isi Ewu’, they are different; Nkwobi is made from the foot of a cow while ‘Isi Ewu’ ids made from the head of a goat.
You will really enjoy the dish as it takes you so much back to nature with its natural and herbal ingredients.
If you wish to make Nkwobi on your own, then pay attention, as I show you the correct recipe
- 2kg of cow foot, cut into sizeable pieces
- Palm Oil
- 1 tablespoon of powdered edible potash popularly known as Akanwu
- 1teaspoon of ground Ehu seeds known in English as Calabash Nutmegs.
- 2 big tablespoons of ground crayfish, this is especially important
- Pepper, I recommend habanero peppers
- 2 big stock cubes of seasoning
- Salt (to taste)
You will also require the following items for the garnishing
- Utazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium). This is a popular leaf in Nigeria, especially in Igbo land.
Also read: Ogbunike caves
Preparations to make before starting the cooking
- I advise you to cut the cow foot into chunks. You can get a butcher to do this for you.
- Put the Akanwu into a bowl, add a small quantity of water (about 4 tablespoons) to it, and stir well, this is necessary for the Nkwobi to turn right, Pass it through a fine sieve and set the liquid aside.
- Cut one of the onions into four big chunks.
- Grind or Pound the pepper with a mortar and pestle or you can blend it
- Then Grind the crayfish.
- Crack and remove the outer shell of the ehu seeds and then grind them with a dry mill.
If you have problems with the ingredients, then read this;
- The Cow foot is really tough so I recommend you use a pressure cooker, to save time and gas. If you think cow foot is too tough, then you can get calf foot.
- The Ehu is a very traditional ingredient that is difficult to find outside Nigeria or even in Supermarkets. If you find it impossible, buy it where you live, just prepare Nkwobi without it.
- The Potash or Akanwu is what makes the palm oil to curdle which is integral in the taste of Nkwobi, An alternative is what we call Ngu in Igbo. However, Ngu is even more traditional than Akanwu so if you can’t find Akanwu, then you might not be able to get the Ngu.
- The Utazi gives a nice mature bitter flavour to the Nkwobi. If you can’t get Utazi where you reside, use spinach (bold ones), it has the same taste.
- Start by washing the cow foot chunks and then put them in a pot.
- Then Add the stock seasoning cubes and the chunks of onions
- Add a small quantity of water and start cooking them at medium heat till they are well cooked, the quantity of water that you will add is very small, it should be just enough to prevent the meat from burning, make sure the water doesn’t remain after boiling.
- While your meat is cooking, pour the palm oil into a clean pot that is completely free of all water, the pot should be dry.
- Pour in Akanwu into the oil.
- Stir this mixture with a spatula as you pour in the Akanwu. You will notice the palm oil beginning to curdle and start to turn yellow.
- Keep on stirring until all the oil has turned yellow and has become thick.
- Then add the ground crayfish, pepper and ehu seeds. Stir this very well till they are well mixed.
- When you are sure that the meat is done, then add salt, stir the mixture and then cook until all the water is dried up.
- Then add the cow foot to the palm oil paste and stir well with a spatula.
- Put it back on the cooker and continue heating until the Nkwobi is piping hot, make sure you continue stirring all of the time to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Prepare the garnish by cutting the onions into rings and cut the utazi into long thin slices.
- Serve the Nkwobi and add the thin slices of utazi and onion rings on top for full effect.
That is all about it; enjoy yourself with one of the best meals of Igbo land.