When it comes to great food, Nigeria cuisine certainly isn't lacking; but few tribes are lauded for their delicacies as much as the Efik. They are known for their mastery of local ingredients, expert handling of seafood, and being uncompromising with flavour. In fact, folklore has it that a Calabar woman’s food can rob a man of any thoughts of leaving. We can’t say much about that, but what we do know is that Efik cuisine is 'd-e-e-e-licious'! Your guests won’t know what hit them if you add some Efik delicacies to your wedding menu. Here are five flavour bombs you can include;
1. Abak Atama
This yummy soup is the Efik analogue of the popular Banga soup of old Bendel, and the Ofe Akwu of the Igbos; in that, it also uses palm fruit extract (Abak). The difference is in the use of the flavourful herb locally called Atama. Periwinkle is a nice chewy surprise in addition to beef, stockfish and fresh or dry fish that dominate.
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2. Edikang Ikong
This is arguably the Efik’s best-known export. It is a thick, delicious soup made with waterleaf and Ugu (Pumpkin leaf) and a selection of meats and seafood according to taste. Because it is so well-known, there are now many variations that are not true to the original Efik recipe. 'Fit fam' especially, have completely changed the handling of the vegetables which results in an entirely different soup texture and taste. The Efik certainly need no help with their age-old recipe because the original will have you nearly biting off your fingers with delight. You can serve this at your wedding with 'Swallow' like pounded yam, fufu, eba or even rice and plantain.
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3. Ekpang Nkukwo
This is cocoyam pottage; but if you imagine regular yam pottage with cocoyam as a substitute, then you clearly don’t know what the Efik are capable of. This is a special delicacy made in a time-consuming process where the cocoyam or water yam is grated, wrapped in cocoyam leaves or another leafy green; and then simmered with various types of fresh or smoked meat, fish, crayfish and red oil until it is cooked to perfection.
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4. Fisherman Soup
As the name suggests, it is chockfull of seafood. Yum! It was originally made by fishermen by the shore with whatever they caught during their fishing expeditions; it is now adored by all Efik people. The scrumptious taste of fresh seafood is finished off with a final garnish of aromatic leaves.
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5. Afang soup
The other popular Efik soup is similar to Edikang Ikong, but is made with the fibrous Afang leaves (wild spinach or Okazi as it is called by the Igbos). The Efik recipe shows how to handle these leaves and transform them from tough to soft and silky. The Afang is the hero of the dish so although various meats are used, chicken and fresh fish are left out, and the soup is not smothered with too much crayfish. Not only is it super duper delicious, it is also highly nutritious. Double whammy.
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Expect bucket loads of positive feedback when you include these dishes in your wedding menu!