Africa: Nkwobi, a finger licking recipe by Chef Tandoh
Nkwobi, cooked cow foot mixed in spicy palm oil paste, is a Nigerian delicacy that originated from the people of Owerri, Imo state; it is said to be best served with a cold beer or palm wine. Get ready to learn how to make nkwobi which is enjoyed by many around Nigeria from the comfort of your own home.
Food has a way of bringing back memories. For this recipe, I asked my friend Onyinye what memories nkwobi bring back for her. She says, “I am reminded of my childhood at every visit to Kobis. The food menu and environment bring fond memories of Sunday outings with my father. It was our bonding time for my father, I and my twin sister. We enjoyed the nice scenery, the food and a promise of a bright future”.
On this edition of Culinary Delights’, our guest Chef is Oluwaseun Tandoh, a graduate from Le Cordon Bleu, a prestigious culinary school in London. His culinary story started in Belgium while working at a two-star Michelin restaurant called Hostellerie Le Fox in De Panne.
After his work experience, Tandoh was on the hunt for culinary knowledge and education and decided to enrol at the Red Dish Chronicles right after finishing from Leiths School of Food & Wine in London. Phurah, which he set up in 2016 with support from the Lagos State Employment Tryst Fund is a book café. He narrated his Nkwobi experience below:
“I had Nkwobi for the first time at a car wash/lounge in Ogudu. I can’t remember the name of the place but, I can definitely remember the directions back to that same lounge any day. As the curious chef that I am, I went on to learn how to make this delicacy and my research made me fall in love with this meal even more.
What intrigued me the most about this meal was how all these ingredients put together triggered most of my senses leaving me wanting more and, most of all, it’s the star of the show not needing any complements to support it. It is regarded as the Eastern Heartland, formally called the land of Hope. It is a delicacy that is eaten a la carte (on its own) because it is a strong dish. It is also a meal rich with cow meat (especially leg/tail) prepared in a spicy palm oil sauce, garnished with onion and uzazi leaf (scent leaf). Most lovers of this meal don’t know the origin of this meal but, are absolutely obsessed with it. Can you blame them?”
Prepare your own finger-licking and healthy nkwobi using the recipe below.
Chef Tandoh’s ingredients:
Cow leg (2kg)
Palm oil (200 ml)
I tablespoon of kaun (potash)
7/8 ehu seed (calabash nutmeg)
3-4 tablespoon ugba (oil beans)
2 tablespoons ground crayfish
1 medium onion
3 scotch bonnets (blended into a paste)
2 Maggi stock cubes
Salt to taste
1 medium onion
10 utazi leaves (bitter herbs) to garnish
Chef Tandoh’s Instructions:
Wash and Boil the 2kg cow leg, alongside 1/2 bulb of onion and the other half reserved for garnish. Add, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and 2 Maggi cubes and boil until it’s soft (approximately for 2/3 hours).
Crack the shell ehu and extract the seed. It is advisable to heat it up for 5 minutes before extracting the shell and then blending it to powder form.
In a bowl mix potash with lukewarm water until it melts completely.
In a pot, pour palm oil and add potash while stirring continuously until it curdles.
Add Cameroon pepper blended dry pepper, crayfish and salt to taste.
by Lehlé Baldé