The Calabar Carnival, Africa’s biggest street party, is currently gathering storm in the ancient city of Calabar, the Cross River State capital in South-South Nigeria and if you are planning a trip to the city to witness the fanfare, do not fail to try out some or all of these dishes which stands the city out in terms of hospitality. Have a taste of what you should expect.
For a typical Calabar woman, the Edikang-Ikong is the king of soups and the planning that goes into its preparation shows that it is meant for kings.
Edikang-Ikong is a very expensive Nigerian dish and arguably Nigeria's most popular cosmopolitan dish, though every dime put into it is worth its while.
This special delicacy is prepared with vegetable pumpkin leaves (Ikong Ubong), water leaf (Mmong mmong Ikong), fish, meat, periwinkle (Mfi ikpok), palm oil, Crayfish and other essential ingredients. It is best eaten with either fufu, garri, semovita or pounded yam.
Assorted meat (beef, oxtail, tripe, ponmo, (cow hide), bokoto (cow leg), or bush meat)
Snails (washed with lemon and limes)
Dry fish (thoroughly washed)
Whole dry prawns (cleaned)
Fresh pumpkin leaves (Ikong Ubong), washed and shredded
Fresh waterleaf, (Mmong mmong Ikong), washed and shredded
Salt to taste
How to prepare Edikang Ikong Soup
Wash the meat thoroughly and place in a large pot. Add some sliced onions, ground chilies and some meat stock. Place on heat and cook for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the snail from the shells and wash thoroughly with lime or lemon juice to remove slime. Wash the smoked dry fish with salt and soak in slightly salted water for 5 minutes in order to kill any insect and loosen any sand or dirt. Rinse thoroughly with lots of cold water.
Top and tail the periwinkles and wash thoroughly. Add the snails, Stock-fish, dry fish, dry prawns and periwinkles to the pot of meat and cook for another 10 minutes and add more stock fish if required.
Finally, add the shredded Ikong Ubong (pumpkin leaves) and waterleaf, mix in properly. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes and then add the crayfish and palm oil. Give it a good stir and gently simmer for another 10 minutes, until well blended and the aroma fills your kitchen.
Remove from heat and serve hot with fufu, garri, pounded yam or semovita.
Tomorrow: Afang Soup