Ekikaikong.....the name in my minds eye conjures images of beautiful nubile virgins of the Efik persuasion dancing with calabashes balanced expertly on their braided hair and their spotless ebony skin gleaming with exotic oils under the African sun.... I remember the first time I tasted this soup at a friend's house, it won me over the moment I dipped my moulded ball of Eba into its leafy lush goodness.
If you're reading this and you're Nigerian I'm sure you know what I'm talking about, Edikaikong is from the South East of Nigeria. I'm not quite sure if it's the Efiks or Ibibios precisely (we non indigenes just call all of them Calabar people) so I'll just call it a Calabar soup (Forgive my ignorance Imabong, Adiagha or Uduak). Enough of the chitchat, lets get-acooking!
6 Handfuls of Waterleaf
4 Handfuls of Ugwu (or frozen spinach)
Meat (as much as you want really, I used like half of the hind leg of a goat)
2 large spoonfuls of palm oil
Crayfish (use as preferred)
Pepper (use as preferred)
2 cups of Periwinkle (I prefer cooking it in its shell, I just chop off the bottom bit off)
4 large snails (de-shelled and cleaned with lime or alum)
Salt (use as preferred)
1 stock cube
(The first thing to note when cooking Edikaikong is that you don't need the stock water from your meat or any water at all as the waterleaf supplies all the liquid you'll ever need for the dish. If you must, make sure the liquid is not more than one or two large cooking spoon of liquid. It's also important to note that since the soup will draw it's liquid from the waterleaf you need more waterleaf than ugwu. Well now that we've gotten these major facts out of the way let's start cooking shall we?)
1. In a good sized pot season and boil your meats (beef, tripe, goat meat etc) and stockfish with enough water (if the water dries out before your meat is cooked simply add some warm water into the pot as adding cold water could make your meat toughen).
2. When the meat is soft enough check that you have as little stock water as possible in the pot before you add palm oil, if you have too much stock liquid scoop as much as possible out before adding the oil. For health reasons I use as little palm oil as possible and stir till the oil mixes well with the mixture and add the water leaf. Cover pot and allow cook for 5-7 miuntes
|Add waterleaf and stir|
3. When you open the pot you'll notice that all the waterleaf that you were wondering if you had made a mistake by adding has shrunk and the soup is bubbling along rather merrily. Add your pepper, periwinkle, snails and crayfish, stock cubes (maggi or knorr) at this point and allow cook covered for like 2-5 minutes then pour in your Ugwu leaf, add salt and allow cook for another 2-5 minutes and you're done!
Sorry the pictures do not follow the method step by step. It's kinda difficult taking pictures of bubbling pot with the steam in your face and burning your fingers....tough work.
After the cooking and picture taking, I helped myself to the above picture of Edikaikong and a small bowl of eba. I'm sure my neighbour could hear me sucking away at the periwinkles....not like I cared anyway.
Don't forget to Read, Comment, Follow and COOK!!