Ukang ( smoked fish in scent leaf stew) is a delicay of Oron people in Akwa Ibom state. As soon as you mention this dish it brings warm smiles to faces of people from this area. I cooked several pots and ate some also in the last few weeks. So I am making this dish to also get you to enjoy this Oron treat. It was my dad’s final funeral rites last month and it was a whole week of cooking and serving the chiefs and villagers. My dad was a king so the funeral rites is basically to entertain the whole clan. Let me just say that I have never been involved with such volume of cooking. As is traditional the chiefs insisted on eating Ukang every day. They will not hear of any Jollof rice or Fried rice. It had to be Afia Efere and pounded yam or Ukang. You can imagine the cost of this venture. Sigh!
Now when I say this is a treat you will understand when you realise that smoked silver cat fish is not the cheapest even in Oron. But again you can use any good quality smoked fish for this dish. Talking about smoked fish I have found that the type of wood used in smoking can affect the flavour of the fish. No wonder the smoked fish from Calabar or Oron is different from those in Lagos. Any way I brought back some quantity of fish from Oron, so I am giving my self the treat in Lagos
At this time of year yam is dry and sweet and what better way to enjoy yam with Ukang. Now this dish is a bit oily because of te quantity of palm oil needed as a dip for the boiled yam or plantain. Well you can reduce the quantity of oil and pack in more cent leaf into the sauce.
Recipe for making Ukang
3 whole medium size Smoked fish( silver cat fish or Shinny nose)
1 teaspoon dry Pepper
1/2 – 1 cooking spoon Scotch Bonnet Pepper(coarsely ground)
3 cups finely sliced Scent leaf( Ntong/Effirin/Nchawun)
2 tables spoon ground Crayfish
21/2 cups Palm Oil ( you can use more or less)
Seasoning cube to taste
- Add about 2-3 cups of water, dry pepper,crayfsh, seasoning and bring to boil for about 3 minutes
- Wash fish and add to the pot to cook and soften. Add a little scent leaf to help flavour the fish. Shake pot to allow the sauce cover the fish.
- Fish should be cooked till water is almost dry.
- Add the palm oil and cook for 1 minute. To prevent the fish from breaking, scoop the oil and and pour over the fish continually
- Add the remaining scent leaf and cook for 2-3 minutes or until vegetable is cooked and wilted
- Served with boiled yam or plantain