Nkwobi Recipe: How to Prepare Spicy Nkwobi (Cow Foot)

Photo of Nkwobi Recipe: How to Prepare Spicy Nkwobi (Cow Foot)

Nkwobi is a popular Igbo traditional food mostly served as a side dish or desert, and usually together with wine or soft drink. Nkwobi is a delicious meal and many people love it, hence its simply a cow foot prepared in spicy palm oil and mixed spices. This delicious Nigerian dish is usually prepared with cow foot, using the same method and recipe for Isi ewu. This recipe is commonly refers to as cow foot pepper soup or cow leg stew, hence it is very rich and mouth watery if prepared well and it serve well during a cold weather.

Nkwobi is mostly sold as evening food in few restaurants and some local bars; hence, it is commonly enjoyed with beer or wine or eaten as a main meal. To make a tasty nkwobi, you need to have these basic ingredients such as cow foot or cow leg, ugba (ukpaka (oil bean), ehuru seeds (calabash nutmegs),edible potash (kauwu), utazi leaves(Gongronema latifolium) at home before embarking on your nkwobi journey. Additionally, any kind of meat could be used to make nkwobi; these include goat meat, cow tail, chicken, turkey. However, different kinds of bush meats could also be used to make nkwobi, which include grass-cutter, rabbit and even squirrel depending on your preference.

Picture of cow foot. The cow foot is well cleaned and it is ready for nkwobi
Picture of cow foot. The cow foot is well cleaned and it is ready for nkwobi

 

Nkwobi/ cow foot Ingredients

  1. 1 kg of Cow foot (cut into sizeable pieces)
  2. 3 Ehuru seeds (Calabash Nutmegs)
  3. 1 tablespoon of edible potash (Akanwu/Kaun/Keun)
  4. 2 tablespoons of ground crayfish
  5. 1 cup of palm Oil (Use tin milk for the measurement)
  6. 4 pieces of habanero Peppers (Atarodo)
  7. 1 medium onion
  8. 3 seasoning cubes
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1 medium onion for garnishing of nkwobi
  11. 8 pieces of utazi leaves for garnishing of nkwobi
nkwobi ingredients
nkwobi ingredients

 

Tips for preparing Nkwobi

  • Cow foot comes with a thick bone, you can tell the butcher to help you remove the thick bone and scrape out excess hair and dirt from the meat, then cut into medium sizes before taking it home.
Cutting process of cow foot
Cutting process of cow foot

 

Cow foot has been cut into sizeable pieces
Cow foot has been cut into sizeable pieces

 

  • Cow foot is tougher than the usual meat you are used to, a pressure cooker can help you cook the meat in no time, to save time and your gas, but you can use charcoal fire to prepare this if you dont have a pressure cooker.
Cooking process of cow foot
Cooking process of cow foot

 

  • Edible potash, which is also called kanwa in Hausa,is a very special ingredient in nkwobi sauce, it is what helps to curdle and change the colour of palm oil and it helps to thicken the palm oil for a perfect coating of the meat.
  • If you add too much edible potash liquid to the sauce, it could change the taste of your nkwobi and alsoprevent the bitter taste of the utazi; use just a little portion of it to complement the taste.
Picture of edible potash. An easy way to dissolve edible potash is to soak it in warm water for 2 minutes.
Picture of edible potash. An easy way to dissolve edible potash is to soak it in warm water for 2 minutes.

 

  • Ehuru seed or calabash nutmeg is an important spice in nkwobi recipe; it adds some kind of earthen flavour to the dish. This should not be replaced with the normal nutmeg. The outer covering is tough and the easy way to peel them is by roasting them in a dry pan or in open flame for 3 minutes before cracking them with your teeth.
Ehuru seeds. The second picture shows ground ehuru (calabash nutmeg)
Ehuru seeds. The second picture shows ground ehuru (calabash nutmeg)

 

  • You will also need some greenish vegetables like utazi leaf to garnish your nkwobi. Utazi leaf has a very bitter taste, but you need to used it sparingly, you just need a little of it to complement the taste of your meal. If you cant tolerate its bitter taste, you can substitute it with Uziza leaf, but its not bad if you use it.
Picture of utazi leaf (bitter herbs)
Picture of utazi leaf (bitter herbs)

 

  • Onions is also needed for garnishing of cooked nkwobi; it is usually sliced into rings and eaten raw.
Picture of onion rings
Picture of onion rings

 

  • Your Nkwobi is delicious with or without Ugba, Ugba which is known as oil beans, contributes to the awesome flavour of nkwobi dish.
Picture of Ugba which is also known as oil beans
Picture of Ugba which is also known as oil beans

 

Before you start making nkwobi

  • Use a big knife to cut cow foot into medium chunks; the butcher can do this in the market for you.
  • Wash and place it in a pot; add 2 seasoning cubes, pepper, onions, and salt and cook until very soft.Make sure the broth is concentrated enough to be absorbed by the meat.
  • If you have solid potash, pound it with a mortar into powder, bring it into a bowl and add about 5 tablespoons of warm water to dissolve it. You can simply drop the solid potash into warm water without having to pound it; it will dissolve immediately.
  • Pass it through a fine sieve and set the liquid aside.
  • Place the ehuru seeds in an empty dry pan and leave to heat up while tossing once in a while until you hear them crack open. Peel the skin and place the peeled ehuru in a dry mill. Grind and then set it aside.
  • Wash and thinly slice utazi leaf and set aside and also slice the onion into rings
  • Pound or chop pepper to your preferred sizeand keep aside.
  • You can also grind the crayfish, if you dont have the powdered type at home.
  • Wash the ugba with clean water and soak it in warm water, then set aside.

Steps on how to prepare nkwobi (cow foot)

  1. In a medium sauce pan heat palm oil for 15 seconds or until it becomes hot.
  2. Pass the dissolved potash liquid through a sieve; make sure you don’t pour in the residue into the oil.
  3. Stir the oil to prevent lumps as you stir in the potash liquid, you will notice the palm oil beginning to curdle and changed into orange colour.
  4. When the oil has completely curdled and the colour has changed, add the ground ehuru, crayfish, pepper to it and stir well to incorporate.
  5. Add ugba and bring in the cooked cow leg into the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the meat stock, stir with a spatula and leave it to cook for 5 minutes on a low heat.
  6. Put off heat and dish nkwobi into a traditional bowl, garnish with Uziza leaf and onion rings.
  7. Enjoy nkwobi with a chill glass of juice, if you prefer.

Simple steps on how to prepare nkwobi with pictures

  1. In a medium saucepan heat palm oil for 15 seconds or until it becomes hot, but get the oil bleached.
  2. Pass the dissolved potash liquid through a sieve; make sure you don’t pour in the residue into the oil.
Heating of palm oil for nkwobi sauce, this is what the oil looks like after the potash liquid has been added into it.
Heating of palm oil for nkwobi sauce, this is what the oil looks like after the potash liquid has been added into it.

 

3. Stir the oil to prevent lumps as you stir in the potash liquid, you will notice the palm oil beginning to curdle and changed into bright orange colour.

4. When the oil has completely curdled and coloured, add the ground ehuru, crayfish, pepper to it and stir well to incorporate. You may not need to add salt again, since your meat was well seasoned and concentrated though.

Cooking process of nkwobi
Cooking process of nkwobi

 

5. Add ugba and bring in the cooked cow leg into the sauce with 2 tablespoons of the meat stock, stir with a spatula and leave it to cook for 5 minutes on a low heat. You can spread in a little amount of shredded utazi to coat the meat a little before garnishing it properly.

6. Put off heat and dish nkwobi into a traditional bowl, garnish with Uziza leaf and onion rings.

Also watch the above video on how to make nkwobi.

Nkwobi is ready. This meal is best served in a wooden traditional plate, but you can serve it the way you want it
Nkwobi is ready. This meal is best served in a wooden traditional plate, but you can serve it the way you want it

 

A plate of delicious nkwobi. Enjoy this with chilled juice
A plate of delicious nkwobi. Enjoy this with chilled juice