Nkpa Efere is commonly cooked by the Efiks and Ibibios. The leaf Nkpa which is more popularly known as Oha is also eaten by the Igbos but it is cooked in a slightly different way.
The thickening ingredient that is normally used in cooking Nkpa is called Ibaba.
Some varieties of Ibaba also have a way of darkening the soup when warmed after a few days. This way the Ibaba can be replaced with Ofo, the thickening ingredients used mainly in Igbo soups, achi etc.
You buy the Ofo whole and blend at home just to be sure that you are using the authentic ingredient.
However you may wish to buy the already ground version.
The other thing about Nkpa efere which makes it interesting is the use of Uyayak or adian fruit.
This brings that extra flavour to the soup. Paired with pounded yam or Eba, this is a meal you will want to have quite regularly as a lunch option.
- A small bunch of Nkpa leaves (Oha leaves)
- Grinded Ofo (cocoyam)
- Smoked Fish
- Stock Fish
- Periwinkle (optional)
- Pepper to taste
- Prawns (optional)
- Palm Oil
- Small pieces of Uyayak or Adian fruit (about the size of a table spoon head)
- Seasoning cube to taste.
- Wash, season the beef, pomo and stockfish with pepper, seasoning cube and salt and allow to marinade for about 15 minutes. Steam the meats in the beef juice till dry, then add water and cook till soft. Check the Pomo and stock fish as the meat cook and take out when soft.
- Pick the leaves, wash and shred with your hands into large chunks. I understand that using a knife to chop the vegetable makes it bitter. I have never tested this so I don’t know if this is true.
- When meat is cooked. Add water enough to cook the soup. Add some more pepper at this stage if you prefer your soup hot. The quantity of water that will give a good consistency to the soup with the quantity of Ofo(cocoyam). Note: It is advisable to have extra ofo in case you need to thicken the soup further.
- Add crayfish, smoked prawns, periwinkle and Uyayak to the soup.
- Reduce heat of the burner, add a little cold water to the pot to reduce the temperature of the soup water and quickly add the ground ofo and stir fast to dissolve the powder in the soup. If the water is hot and boiling the ofo tends to form lumps.
- Add the palm oil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Raise heat back and allow soup to boil for about 3 minutes and thicken. Taste and correct seasoning.
- Add the Nkpa stir and turn off the heat. The heat of the soup will continue to cook the vegetable.
- Serve with swallow of choice i.e pounded yam,Eba or Semo.