How to Make nkwobi, one of the Nigerian’s most popular evening meals.
Over the years I have received countless number of questions from members of the Nigerian Kitchen who require tips on making Nkwobi.

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This evening meal has been around for a very long time, initially it was made with just bush meat (edible wild animals), the likes of squirrel, grass cutter, rabbit and even antelopes could be used to make nkwobi but along the line people starting experimenting with domestic animals and even poultry birds.

If you are among the folk that are asking “what is nkwobi?” here is a simple definition; It is Igbo delicacy that is made with different kinds of meats, in a little while you will read all the processes involved in making it and why it is very popular in the eastern part of Nigeria. You will also learn about all the ingredients used in making it and different kinds of meats that could also be used.

I remember vividly the first time I had a plate of Nigerian nkwobi, it was very delicious and very pepperish. Although you can use pepper to your taste. The last recipe I ate was made with chicken, but like I said initially, your choice of meat can vary but the methods remain the same.

Here are the ingredients that are used in making Nigerian nkwobi (for five to ten persons.)

1 kg Meat (chicken, wild meat, goat, cow foot, assorted meat)
2 cubes of knorr
10 leaves of utazi
Edible potash (one teaspoon)
Palm oil 200ml
Ugba – 1 cup
10 Peppers (Scotch bonnet)
Onions – 2 slice
3 seeds of ehu (calabash nutmeg)
Salt to taste

In this recipe, I will be using cow foot as you can see below.
Cow foot nkwobi

The first step is parboiling the meat with some ingredients; onions, 2 cube of stock cubes and salt will be enough. Then allow to cook for another fifty to sixty minutes until the meat is completely soft.

This is necessary because nkwobi as well as Nigerian pepper soup is basically made with very soft meats, just so it is not hard to chew.

This is what you get.
Nkwobi Ingredients

Most preparation processes take place in a small mortar, (an African carved hollow wood), but you can use a pot if you are not in Nigeria. This is just how it has been, some of Nigerian food customs have been around for years and we probably haven’t found a credible reason why they should be revoked.

Slice the onions and utazi, then set aside on a plate, some people choose to add these two during the preparation process while others use them for decoration purposes. One way or another, Utazi and onions should be part of the ingredients used in preparing Nigerian Nkwobi.

You can boil the ugba in small amount of water for about 2 to 3 minutes, this technique helps eliminate the fermenting bacterias. Note that this ingredient is processed with the help of a harmless bacteria. This is just to be on the safe side even though most Nigerians eat ugba without heating it.

Cook the meat until it is almost dry, check to see the level of water. This is necessary so you don’t end up with another kind of pepper soup, Stir the cooking meat in the pot to be sure that it doesn’t burn. Did I say that it is also necessary to cut the meat in small sizes?

Dissolve the potash in about 250ml (one cup) of water and filter about half a cup into the pot, you will learn a little bit about this from the video below. You will know exactly how this is done, although most Nigerians are familiar with this technique.

Add about half a cup of palm oil into the pot, stir to obtain a thick yellow paste (ncha) and you are just few steps away from having a very delicious nkwobi, also add two spoons of ground crayfish, Ugba, pepper and salt to taste, then stir very well before adding the meat.

Once you have the “ncha” add the ugba, a pinch of salt, a stock cube and [utazi leaves, ehu and peppers] (all pounded together)

Stir together and add the meat.

Note: If the meat is too hot, it would dislove the “ncha” and turn it redish> allow the meat to cool for 20-30 minutes before using.
The utazi is very necessary because it adds a faint bitter taste which is an integral part of nkwobi. You pound some and you slice some.

Stir and serve. This is what you get.
delicious Nkwobi

Most times I serve nkwobi and boiled white yam, that’s just why you have the extra sauce. Alternatively, it is served in this wooden thingy as an evening snack.

Here is the video for making nkwobi, I used pre-cooked meat and didnt use ugba for this video.

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  1. Dave  July 18, 2013

    This is one of my favorite igbo recipe, I like Nkwobi when it is well made. I know a man at Isolo Lagos that specialize in making this igbo delicacy. You can pay him a visit

  2. Emma  July 18, 2013

    Thanks for the recipe, I just want to know if I can use turkey for nkwobi

  3. Mary  July 18, 2013

    I think you can use any meat for nkwobi, although bush meats are the best, but now virtually all kinds of meat could be used

  4. Maira  July 18, 2013

    Thanks for this recipe. I am also new to making Nigerian foods, I have been following your site and weekly email for a couple of weeks. I am an American woman that is married to an Igbo Man, he has stayed in America for 16 years but still very fund of Igbo foods. I have learned to make a lot of them from your site, can I try this nkwobi? I don’t know If I will find the ingredients here in the States, maybe I should just stick to jollof rice and tomato stew. Thanks

    • Nky ezenwa  August 15, 2019

      Give d nkwobi a trial.Its delicious

  5. The Nigerian Kitchen  July 23, 2013

    Thanks for clearing out that Mary, you are right. The first nkwobi that I ate was made with goat meat, I have also tried one with chicken as well as the one with cow leg. Nkwobi with cow leg is actually the most popular recipe in Nigeria.

  6. mike  July 26, 2013

    Yes! Cow leg! I have eaten a lot of nkwobi that was made with cow legs as well as that of chicken. You can use any meat at all and it would taste nice if you really know what you are doing

  7. nwaneri amara chinelo  July 30, 2013

    Nice one, I kinda like all the recipes that you have here. Keep up the work

  8. Chima  August 2, 2013

    I know how to make nkwobi with isiewu, as a matter of fact, that is the best recipe in igbo land. You can also add the intestines and liver while making it – it is super delicious.

  9. posh  September 4, 2013

    Hi there, u can also use kpomo but not the slim one. Make it very soft so that u can enjoy the nkwobi.

  10. CHIOMA  September 17, 2013

    & also ehu, for a better taste 4 nkwobi

  11. NAZA  September 25, 2013

    Tanx so much for this recipe, i must say that i enjoyed reading n watching ur various nigerian recipes. thumbs up 2 u.

  12. orjiugo  September 27, 2013

    Infact am excited to learn this here. Honestly it has been given me concern cos I have been longing to prepare nkwobi for my husband but don’t know how to start it. Thanks a lot.

  13. winnie  October 24, 2013

    Wow!! Dis is amazing!!! Cant wait, am trying it out dis weekend. Think i’ll use cow tail.

  14. Charleston  November 20, 2013

    Am new here.but sure will try all the recipes. Also want to find out if you export yam powder outside Nigeria to other countries?

  15. Essor U.M  December 21, 2013

    This is a great relief am gonna try it out dis xmas. Have been looking for special treat for my family excluding rice wow dis is d bomb!!!!

  16. funke  January 4, 2014

    this is awesome! am a yoruba woman and av been thinking of how to make different delicacies for my family. thanks a lot for this nkwobi recipe.

  17. kate  January 13, 2014

    thanks for d tips…pls is ugba d same as ehu.

    • The Nigerian Kitchen  January 13, 2014

      Nope, they are two different Nigerian food ingredients. However, the two are used for making Nkwobi

  18. Adaedu  January 14, 2014

    wow! finally, I found dis. my husband usually says d way to his heart is not food but preparing different meat recipes. I will give dis a try and I’m sure He will b very pleased. No more gardens and ugba joint! thanks for dis recipe.

  19. ufuoma  February 12, 2014

    Nice work keep it up. I also use ehuru and little uziza seeds (grinded) to give it that special flavour.

  20. joy  March 24, 2014

    I want tp give try to dis wonderful nkowbi I like it so much bt don’t knw hw to prepare it bt I’m happy I can learn it through all nigeria food

  21. lajide biodun  December 23, 2014

    I wil try it on my own. So as to hav my own taste of nkwobi

  22. ify  May 2, 2015

    wonderful post,great meal thanks a lot!

  23. alero  May 26, 2015

    Great,I cant wait to try mine.Thanks a lot chy

  24. Ndudi  August 3, 2015

    Thanks for dis recipe i have been missing dis nkwobi since i got married. Am really happy for dis.

  25. blessing Ehims  January 21, 2016

    Thanks for the great work. Keep it up.
    I will definitely try it.

  26. Temitayo  March 25, 2016

    This is great my husband use to eat nkwobi when we were in Lagos in some buka but sure I’m gonna try this out this easter. Thanks

  27. `TITIMIE  July 28, 2016


  28. faith Rufus Izih  November 18, 2016

    Great naija food

  29. Tilabelle  December 21, 2016

    Thanks alot, I’ll try it this Christmas.

  30. Mimi  August 24, 2017

    I love ma. thnk u nd God bless you

  31. Famimi doris  September 19, 2018

    Thanx a lot.u r doing a great Job,God bless you.the measure u give shall be given bk to you in 100folds

  32. Uzowuru emelda  March 6, 2019

    Amazing kudos to Nigerian food

  33. Prisca  March 29, 2019

    Nice and delicious

  34. Nky  August 15, 2019

    Good one but is there any alternative for potash?

    • Chy Anegbu  August 16, 2019

      Not yet.


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