One of the best things about living in my city is the ease of access to Cameroonian/African food. I mean, going to the grocery store, and picking up goat meat, yams, green(the vegetable), and even cocoyams is a no-brainer! I woke up on Saturday morning craving some ekwang, and I figured I might as well indulge in my craving. Well, that and the fact that I realized that I haven’t put up any “real” Cameroonian food. So yeah, I hopped on in the car to the grocery store to get my necessary supplies before I had time to change my mind. I had second thoughts once I got to the store, but I pulled through, and now I can share with you how all this amazingness came to beeing! Get it? Beeing? Beeingbils, lol. Ok corniness aside, here we go
So, I picked up malanga roots, mustard greens, palm oil and scotch bonnet pepper from the grocery store. I usually use habaneros, but Lohi O uses scotch bonnet peppers so I decided to give it a try. Shorrout to my girl Nnenna for hooking me up with some smoked fish that definitely came in handy for this dish.
I started off by peeling and washing the roots, then I grated them using my tiny hand grater. Yes, in 2012 I am still using a grater while my mates watch their food processors do the work for them. Some day soon, sigh …..
You want to make sure that you use the smallest of the sizes, because you want your roots to be of a purée-like consistency.
I then set this aside and went to work on the mustard greens which I used to wrap the puree in.
Cutting out the leaves was a little tricky, and I thought about quitting several times while I worked on it, but for you my dear readers, I forged on and kept trying to figure out how to explain the process. So for each leaf, you want to cut of the tip as shown below. Then hold the rest of the leaf, and remove the leaf on either side of the stalk, such that you’re left with two pieces of the leaf. You want the leaves to sorta have a rectangular shape as shown above. And yes, you have to do this for each leaf individually!
Greasing the pot is essential to avoiding having black chunks at the bottom in the end. Admittedly though, the portions at the bottom tend to dry out, but I swear they are the most delicious part of the food. Allow me to digress: I remember this one time at my uncle place, we made this in a non-stick pot so it didnt get as burned. Of course, I tried to burn it, so I set the pot on the stove and let it cook some more more until I was satisfied with what was at the bottom. Came back to serve a few hours later, only to find my uncle chowing down on the last of the bottom of the pot. This man had been “spying” on me, and definitely beat me to it. Lesson learned: if you like the bottom of the pan, do not make this in a non-stick pan!
And now, the real work begins. So for every piece of mustard green, take some puree with a spoon and place vertically across on the leaf. You want to spread it out, so that its even across. Then fold over the flap at the end of the leaf, and gently roll over as you would a wrap. Be careful not to press down too tight as you just may end up squeezing out your contents. Repeat the process until you’re all out of puree.
Because these little rolls are very soft and fragile, placing them in the pot is an art by itself. You begin by forming the base as shown above, then the next row is placed horizontally across while making sure to leave the circle in the middle open. And you basically pile each row on top of the other until you’re done. Just in case you’re tired, hang tight cos you’re almost there.
I then set aside this pot, and got the meats ready. I soaked the smoked fish in hot water when I started prepping, so when I was ready for it, I washed it and took out the bones. I sauteed the smoked turkey with onions, maggi and pepper in palm oil for a few minutes. I then added both the turkey and the fish to the pot, pouring into the center, and spreading out on the top. Threw in a handful of crayfish (dried crawfish) and my peppers and I was ready to go!!!
I added some water to the pot, set the burners on medium, covered the pot, and just let it simmer. I have to add though, if you used meat that requires you to boil it, using the broth will definitely give your food more flavor
Looking good! When I was younger, my mother told me that if you ate raw malanga roots, you were going to end up with an irritated tongue that would itch for days unending. Needless to say I never messed with this stuff raw, and still don’t! So I let this cook for a whole hour and a half! I don’t take chances like that. Oh well, my hardwork paid off ‘cos this is what my plate looked like that night ….
Okay, okay I lied. This is not what my plate looked like. I had to present it real good so that you could salivate as much, or even more than I am right now as I type this. Mind you, I’m not even hungry! If you do try this recipe, give yourself a pat on the shoulder, kick your shoes off, relax and chow down. A glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon will not be a bad idea either!
- 12 Malanga Roots
- 2 Big bundles of mustard greens
- 1lb Smoked fish
- 2 cut-up smoked turkey drumsticks (or any preferred meats)
- 1/2 Onion
- Pinch of salt
- Maggi ( I wish I used cubes for a more accurate measurement)
- 1/4L Palm Oil
- 3 Scotch Bonnet peppers
- 3 cups of water/ meat stock
- Peel, wash and grate MR. Add a pinch of salt, stir thoroughly and set aside
- Wash, and pick MG leaves as described above. Try as much as possible to get rectangular sections
- Wrap the MR puree in the MG leaves one at a time and place in your already greased pot. Be sure to place as directed above.
- Wash the smoked fish and cut into little pieces, while making sure to remove the bones
- Stir-fry the meat/turkey with onions, maggi, and pepper in palm oil.
- Add in meat/turkey and fish into pot making sure to spread evenly across. Repeat same with the crayfish
- Pour in your water/stock. You want to make sure that at least 3/4 of your pot is submerged in water.
- Throw in your peppers, turn on your burners and place the pot on the stove
- Add your palm oil about 30 minutes later, and let cook for about an hour more. Make sure to check your pot periodically to make sure there is enough water, and that its not dried out.
- Serve hot, and preferably with a glass of red wine. Bon Appetit
And just in case you were wondering, this is a recipe for EKWANG, and malanga root is cocoyam :). Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for any tips, suggestions, and recipes you would like me to feature. I truly truly do appreciate the support, and dont forget to comment, follow, subscribe, and spread the word!Thanks