Couple of weeks ago, I was busy scratching my head on an easy but yet spectacular African dish to prepare. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if it is so hard to arrange an African dish, but it is sometimes demanding to fix a dish whereby all the key ingredients are easily available. One thing is to come up with a recipe, another is to have all the ingredients readily available and the next is to prepare the dish to expectations.
I wanted a recipe that I haven’t had in ages but my concern was how to get the two key ingredients; ukpaka and okporoko. Sometimes, our wishes usually come to manifestation even when we least expect and I can confidently say that this is the case with this recipe. While I was pondering on how to get a dried stockfish to prepare an ugba and okporoko dish, I had a surprise phone call from my special aunt saying “Oh Blessing, I bought some dried stockfish and I kept one big one for you to come and pick up”. I bet you can’t imagine how speechless I was at that moment ? ? 😀 I was just all over the moon and super excited 😀
I was at her place the next day to grab the stockfish and there and then, I was happy that at least I was one step away from getting this unique dish done. But we have a problem now cos another key ingredient is not available [ukpaka or ugba] ~ ~ ~ Oh dear!
Before I proceed, here is a quick video on how to make ugba and okporoko
How do I go about this now? This was another challenge that took me couple of days to tackle before I could finally visit an African shop and luckily found the ukpaka. Although I got the dried ones but then, half bread is better than none!
The only difference was that I had to soak the ukpaka in hot water before usage, cooked until tender and it still served the purpose of purchasing it perfectly well. So the remaining ingredients were just there in my kitchen and there you are!!! Although the original recipe calls for garden eggs and garden egg leaves (akwukwo anara) but because I couldn’t lay my hands on these ones, I had to use green spring onions and lettuce as the green veggies.
This ugba and okporoko (kpanla or panla) was prepared with some spicy ingredients before being engulfed in a colourful and delicious sauce known as ncha. It was then topped off with some fresh lettuce, spring onions, slices of tomatoes and slices of onions before serving, which gives you that hit you definitely need! I can confidently say that this ugba and okporoko turned out super flavourful and delicious; one recipe I know I will ever make till eternity!
Peradventure this is your first time of hearing about ukpaka, let me quickly say that it is an integral part of Igbo’s dishes and it is produced from African oil bean seeds. The inner parts of these seeds are the edible parts, which are cooked and allowed to ferment for two to three days before being used. Ukpaka can be eaten as snacks or can be used for preparing assorted dishes such as ukpaka and okporoko, ji na akwukwo nri, abacha salad etc.
Ukpaka (African oil bean seed) is highly nutritious and it is an excellent source of essential nutrients, magnesium, calcium, vitamins, protein, iron, manganese, phosphorus, copper and amino acids.
Honestly, while this ukpaka and okporoko was pretty easy to prepare, it did involved a trip to the African store to get some key ingredients that I don’t usually have on hand, but am not complaining because it was totally worth it. The entire ingredients all combined brilliantly well to form a perfect union. Topped with a garnishing that includes spring onions, tomatoes, lettuce and onions!
ALL YUM,,,,, YUMMY,,,, YUMMIILLLIIICCIIIOOOUUUSS!!!
I give this recipe a 5/5 ratings and no doubt you too will follow suit once you try it out. I bet you won’t be disappointed. Feel free to share your opinion once you’ve tried this recipe in the comment section.
Every opinion counts!!!