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Nkwobi is a traditional delicacy from the eastern part of Nigeria. It is simply cooked cow foot mixed in spicy palm oil paste.
Often mistaken for Isi Ewu, Nkwobi is a popular meal served at restaurants and beer parlours across the country.
Have you been thinking of how to prepare it at home, well, look no further as we have the best recipe for you.
Ingredients for Nkwobi
- 2kg (4.4 lbs) cow foot (cut into sizeable pieces)
- 20cl (200ml) Palm Oil
- 1 tablespoon powdered edible potash (Akanwu/Kaun/Keun)
- 1 teaspoon ground Ehu seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)
- 2 tablespoons ground crayfish
- 2 habanero peppers (or to your taste)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 big stock cubes
- Salt (to taste)
1 medium onion
10 Utazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium)
Notes on the ingredients
Cow foot is quite tough so if you have a pressure cooker, do use it for cooking it to save time and gas/electricity. You may be able to buy calf foot which is softer and cooks in less time.
Ehu (Calabash Nutmeg) is a very traditional ingredient that is difficult to find outide Nigeria.
Potash is what makes the palm oil curdle as you will see in the video below. An alternative I know is what we call Ngu in Igbo. Ngu is even more traditional than potash so if you can’t find potash, chances are that you won’t be able to get Ngu either.
Utazi adds a nice bitter flavour to the Nkwobi. if you can’t buy it where you live, use spinach (bold ones), it gives the same effect and actually tastes nice!
Before you make the Nkwobi,
- Cut the cow foot into medium chunks. Where I live, the butchers cut it for me.
- Put the powdered potash into a bowl. Add a small quantity of water (about 4 table spoons) and stir well.
- Pass it through a fine sieve and set the liquid aside.
- Cut 1 onion into 4 big chunks.
- Pound the pepper with a mortar and pestle or blitz it.
- Grind the crayfish.
- Crack and remove the outer shell of the ehu then grind with a dry mill eg coffee grinder.
How to prepare
- Wash and put the cow foot chunks in a pot.
- Add the stock cubes (crushed) and the chunks of onion.
- Add a small quantity of water and start cooking at medium heat till well cooked. Add just enough water to prevent burning as you cook. There should not be any stock (water) in the pot when the meat is done.
- While the meat is cooking, pour the palm oil into a clean dry pot.
- Pour in the potash mixture (sieved) into the oil.
- Stir with a wooden spatula as you pour the potash. You’ll notice the palm oil begin to curdle and turn yellow.
- Keep stirring till all the oil has turned yellow.
- Add the ground crayfish, pepper and ehu seeds. Stir very well till they are all incorporated.
- When the meat is done, add salt, stir and cook till all the water has dried.
- Add the well done cow foot to the palm oil paste and stir very well with the wooden spatula.
- Put it back on the stove/cooker and heat till the Nkwobi is very hot, stirring all the time to make sure it does not burn.
To prepare the garnish,
- cut the onions into rings and cut the utazi into long thin slices.
- Serve the Nkwobi in a wooden mortar as shown in the image above.
- Add the thin slices of utazi and onion rings on top for the full effects.
It is best served with chilled drinks: palm wine, beer or stout and soft drinks.
You can also watch this video to aid your preparation.