Ayan Ekpang is a favourite meal with the people of Cross River and Akwa Ibom states of Nigeria. My search for exciting recipes with lower carbohydrate content like Cocoyam, got me thinking. And the product is this simple dish I made,Ayan Ekpang! Its my mum’s favourite dish. Efik nursing mothers using this ‘soft food’ to get their toddlers onto family diets is common. When you are in ‘seclusion’ in the fattening room, ekpang is one of the dishes that is served even as breakfast sometimes. The wrapping of the coco yam paste which takes practice is the only snag with the preparation.
If you are familiar with wrapping moin moin then you can use this option, the product will only take longer to cook. the cylinderical wraps ensure that the coco yam cooks fast. Other cocoyam dishes which I enjoy is ekpang nkukwo.
As you struggle to find the last wrap of Epkang in a heap of unwrapped leaves, it makes it is nicer eaten with family and friends . It goes well with Otong( Okro &Ugwu soup) and Abak Atama soup. There are other versions of Ayan Ekpang made with cassava and this is called Ekpang Iwa. This version of ekpang is commonly amongst people from Oron in Akwa State of Nigeria.
Recipe for Ayan Ekpang
6 medium sizes Cocoyam
Leaves for wrapping
- Grate the Cocoyam.
- Add a pinch of salt and the water,mix to get an even softer consistency. If you are using Cocoyam in the dry season ( October-March) this is always drier so will need more water.
- Scoop about 3 tablespoons onto moin moin leaves and wrap into a cylindrical shape .
- Bend leaves at top and bottom end and place in pot.
- The leaves give the Ayan Ekpang an earthy flavour in the final product. Steam for about 40mins.
- Serve hot with the soup preferably Okro. You eat this with your hands or spoon.