African breadfruit (ukwa) is definitely one of the popular Igbo foods,
so it is well worth a good place on a list of foods eaten by the people of Igbo (a very popular Nigerian tribe).
People keep wondering ‘what is African breadfruit?’ and how to prepare it the exact way an Igbo person would like it.
The majority of the questions I get via my contact form are from ladies that are married to a Nigerian man, What to serve a Yoruba man for dinner? What to serve an igbo man for for breakfast and stuff like that.
That was the main reason I started an entirely new series on foods eaten by different Nigerian ethnic groups and here we are dealing with African breadfruit (ukwa) as one of the popular Igbo foods.
I will try to explain in detail how this recipe was prepared in my own very kitchen and then I would talk briefly on another recipe of Ukwa that I know about.
The Two Ukwa Recipes
Ukwa is a very popular food in the eastern part of Nigeria, the people of Igbo are very familiar with the two recipes that I would be talking about below.
Ukwa could be cooked with potash and just eaten like that or it could also be separated from the water for just the seeds to be mashed with some ingredients and thereafter served with the extract (water).
I refer to the juice after cooking as the extract, I think you will learn more about this by watching the video for African breadfruit. (Below), the entire steps outlined here was demonstrated in detail.
Below are the ingredients for preparing Ukwa (African Breadfruit), what you have below would serve about three people, you can increase or decrease depending on the number of persons you are looking to serve and of course stomach sizes .
4 cups of ukwa
Potash (akanwu) a spoon full
Fresh pepper (about 5)
Ogiri (optional) (a local ingredient)
Maggi (half cube)
Salt to taste
Red oil (5 to 10 cl)
2 cups of maize (optional)
How To Prepare Ukwa
Cook the corn till it is very soft for consumption
Wash the ukwa, It is necessary to wash severally in a bowl with lots of clean water, I also use a plastic sieve just to be sure that all hidden tiny stones are sorted out,
Put in a cooking pot and cook to boiling point before adding the potash, normally I dissolve the potash in water to filter out the residue, and then add the filtrate. You will also learn more about this from the video below.
It is needful to note that Ukwa does not ever get soft (done) without the use of the catalyst (potash), I tried this in secondary school and we cooked for more than four hours before we realized that something was missing. There is another ingredient that serves the same purpose as potash, it is in the form of ash gotten from the burning of palm fronds, it is locally called ngu and the people of Igbo prefer it above Akanwu (potash)
If you want to make Ukwa with ngu apply the same method as though you are using potash, dissolve in a cup of water allow for a minute or two then use the filtrate.
Cook till the ukwa is soft for consumption and you can serve. This is one of the two ways to eat African breadfruit in Nigerian, some people like to add a pinch of salt while some part of Igbos don’t use salt for this particular recipe.
The second recipe continues where the one above stopped.
Once the Ukwa Seeds are soft for consumption Separate the seeds from the water as you would find in the video below, (that is to sieve out the soft seeds from the water) most people prefer to eat just like that or make it the way it appears above.
Pound the pepper with mortar and pestle (remember this is real local but delicious meal), add about 5cl of red oil, a half cube of maggi, one ball of ogiri and stir (use a garri turner, a spoon-like wood), add the soft corn, stir then add the soft ukwa seed then turn very well with the garri turner and you will get the exact resemblance of the image above.
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Video For Preparing African Breadfruit (Ukwa)
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