Edikaikong Soup
Creme' De La' Creme African Vegetable Soup

Edikiakong soup is an African vegetable soup traditionally prepared with sliced fluted pumpkin (ugu) leaves mixed with water leaves, an assorted selection of meat, stockfish, edible periwinkle, red natural palm oil, and some sizzling African spices. Fresh fish and prawns are sometimes included where available.

Edikaikong soup is served with pounded yam, Eba, Fufu or Semovita.

Also called Edikaikon soup, it is one of the richest and most popular Nigerian soups. Originally a food of the Ibibios and Efiks of South East Nigeria, it has gained both national and international recognition.

The fluted pumpkin leaf (Telfairia occidentalis) is reputed to be highly rich in dietary iron, calcium and magnesium. It is also of great medicinal value. Research shows that this vegetable has great antioxidant capabilities, helping to restore damage to our cells and skin, protect our heart and enhance youth. It also protects against liver damage caused by agents like paracetamol and other toxins (Pak J Biol Sci. 2007 Aug 15;10(16):2682-7). No wonder eating edikaikong soup makes you fresher and younger!

The pumpkin leave is not readily available in the West (Europe and America), but may be found in it's dried form on many African food shops. It is also called the Ugu leaf. The Ibibio's call the leaf Nkong Ubong, Efiks call it Ikong Ubong the Ghanaians Krobonku and the Sierra Leonians Gonugbe. This leaf is mostly cultivated in tropical Africa e.g. Ghana and Nigeria also in Sri lanka, India, Hong Kong and Malaysia to mention a few.

If you are unable to get dried Ugu leave, you can substitute collard greens leaf for it.

The second leaf used in the preparation of Edikaikong soup is what is colloquially called bolki in Cameron, and Waterleaf in Nigeria and many parts of the world. It is also called Talinum or Ceylon spinach (Talinum triangulare).

Like ugu leaves, waterleaf is rich in many esential vitamins. It is specifically rich in vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), both of which help in the processing of glucose in the body - hence it very good for diabetics. It is also rich in iron, magnesium, calcium and protein.

You can substitute spinach leaf for waterleaf if you live outside Africa, and can not get waterleaf for your edikaikong soup.

You can begin to see why edikaikong soup is truly nutritious.

How To Cook Edikaikong Soup

This is only a guide on how to cook edikaikong soup. Some variations exists, depending on availability and choice of ingredients as well as personal choice.


  • 1/2 a kg of (ugu). Fresh ugu may not be available so the dried ugu may be substituted. 6-8packets of this would do.
  • 1/2 a kg of Ceylon spinach (water leaves) if this is not available any spinach vegetable can be substituted.
  • Half bag of the yellow mystus catfish or 2 packets of either the smoked catfish or tilapia fish.
  • 1 packet of the 100g stockfish pieces or about a quarter of the 1kg bag
  • 1 packet of 50g grounded crayfish
  • 2 Maggi cubes
  • 3knorr cubes
  • 1.5kg meat (goat, beef or chicken)
  • ½ kg Shaki and kpomo if desired
  • 4 medium sized snails
  • 2 medium cups of periwinkles (with or without shell)
  • 2 medium onions
  • 3-5 tablespoons of grounded red hot pepper

What To Do

Wash Ugu thoroughly and cut in very thin slices separately.

Do same for the Water leaf

Chop the onions

Clean the meat kpomo ,shaki and stockfish and put them in a large pot. (Note that stockfish can be really hard and should be soaked in water about 6 to 12 hours before use, or preferably overnight.

If you are using the stockfish pieces t is ready for use, you don’t have to soak before hand). Season the meat and stockfish with about a quarter of the onions then add salt and the two maggi cubes.

Add about half a litre of water and cook. You can add more water intermittently if needed.

After 20minutes of cooking, add the palm oil, the Knorr cubes, crayfish, dry fish, periwinkles and snails to the meat stock.

The stock left should be as little as possible to allow for the water from the water leaves.

Cook for about eight minutes or until the oil blends with the stock.

Add the Water leaves, stir cover and allow steaming for 3minutes. Then add the Ugu also stir and steam for another 4minutes and your soup is ready.

You can now serve with Fufu, Pounded yam or Eba.

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