Ekpang is a delicacy of the people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states. It is grated cocoyam wrapped in cocoyam leaves. Grated water yam can also be used. Traditionally, mfi (periwinkle) is an essential part of ekpang.There was a time I couldn't even imagine making ekpang without mfi, like one of my aunties once chanted "ekpang without mfi is like a train without an engine", remember that blue band advert? That's how passionate we were about our ekpang having mfi. But now I have a new family that mfi is alien to them, and cocoyam almost always leaves my hands with some rashes no matter the preventive measures I take. Do I just forget about making my beloved ekpang? Certainly not! The beauty of cooking is that you can tweak a recipe to suit your taste, or in this case the taste of my family. Here is my ekpang recipe that is always a hit with my family and friends. Happy cooking.
1.5 kg water yam
1/2 cup crayfish, pounded
1/2 cup palm oil
3 fresh pepper
4 stock cubes
5 scent leaves, cut
2 bulbs onions
200 g dried fish, washed
Pumpkin leaves (ugu)
salt to taste
Peel the water yam, wash and grate. Add a teaspoon of salt to the grated water yam and mix properly.
Pound crayfish, pepper and onions together.
Pluck the leaves from the stalk and wash properly.
Turn the palm oil into a pot and start wrapping the water yam with the leaves. Place a little amount of water yam on the base of the back side of the leaf, wrap from the base to the tip.
In a separate pot, season the dry fish with one stock cube and a little salt, add some water and bring to a boil.
Add the pounded crayfish mixture, scent leaves and the stock cubes to the pot with the finished water yam wraps.
When the fish is ready, empty the contents of the pot into the ekpang pot and cook immediately. If the fish water is not slightly above the contents of the ekpang pot, add some hot water. Do not use cold water as this will make the ekpang scatter.
Allow to boil on medium flame, do not stir. After about 7 minutes, get a wooden spatula and in a folding motion incorporate the ingredients. Add salt to taste. Add a little hot water. Cook for another 10 to 12 minutes. Taste the ekpang to make sure it is ready, take out two wraps and cut them in the middle, if they are no longer white and look properly cooked that means your ekpang is ready.
keep down and serve.