Although I have realized that I am not really a foodie, I do enjoy cooking for my family and my satisfaction comes mainly from the delight that they express when they eat my meals. I practically make homemade meals every day as they are not only healthier but also more cost effective when you are catering to the needs of a family.
I have an eclectic taste bud and I guess this stems from having living in various parts of the world at different points in time and also being adventurous when it comes to trying foods from other places. Nevertheless, after all tasted and tried, I still gain satisfaction from cooking and eating ‘ukwa’ or ‘okpa’. These are traditional meals which are literally considered as delicacies as the condiments/ingredients required to make them are not easily available abroad and quite costly.
Ukwa (Igbo name) is an edible traditional fruit. Its English name is African breadfruit and scientific name is Treculia africana. It belongs to the Moraceae family and it is related to other exotic fruits like breadnut, jackfruit, figs and mulberries. The fruits are hard and fibrous, full of nutritional values and exotic taste. It is not a meal that you prepare in a rush. It takes long prepping and cooking hours to get the right soft consistency that I love, but the result at the end of the day is well worth the effort and time spent.
Okpa (pronounced Ọkpa) is a delicacy prepared by the Igbo people with a special type of beans known as Bambara nuts. It is common in Enugu state (my home state) and is known as a traditional Nigerian delicacy due to its uniqueness. Its main ingredients are the Bambara nut flour, palm oil, pepper, salt and seasoning, though recipes may vary and can be eaten alone or paired with hot pap.
Normally, back home I would prepare okpa wrapped in banana/plantain leaves, but given the fact that finding such leaves is literally impossible to get the leaves here, when I am able to lay my hands on the bambara flour, I make do with foil wrapping.