Edikang Ikong Soup

Edikang Ikong soup is a deliciously rich African vegetable soup prepared from a blend of pumpkin leaves, water leaves, periwinkles or snails, fish and assorted meat. It is perhaps the most prestigious, most talk about soup in Nigeria, and truly tantalizing if well prepared.

Serve with pounded yam, fresh fruits, and a glass of cold drink: Oh how refreshing! It can also be served with cassava fufu, gari ( eba , semolina or ground rice.

Legend has it that if you are looking for the fastest way to a man's heart, this is soup to prepare.

Edikang Ikong is not only eaten in Nigeria. It is a very popular soup in Cameron, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Ghana and indeed many West African Countries.

This authentic African food is believed to have its origin amongst the Efiks in Cross River State and Ibibios in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.

Even though this soup could be prepared differently, there is a particular ingredient that is almost never left out, from which this soup got it's identity.

This is the fluted pumpkin leaf , also commonly called ugu leaf in Nigeria. The Ibibio's call the leaf Nkong Ubong , Efiks call it Ikong Ubong Igbos named the leaf Ugu , 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.

You can get pumpkin leaves in online as dried ugu leaves, if you live outside Africa and want to prepare this meal.

Another leaf used in this soup as mentioned above is water leaf (Talinum triangulare ). You can substitute this with spinach if you are unable to get water leaf.

Anecdotal reports has it hat this is the most nutritious of all African soups. Ugu leaf is believed to be very rich in iron, and has been used, even by doctors to rapidly build up patients blood count within days of ingestion.

The fresh leaf is also rich in vitamin C, magnesium and vitamin K, all necessary for strong immunity against diseases, strong bone, heart and optimal functioning of the blood clotting system.

The high vegetable content also means high dietary fibre, good for sound bowel function and ideal in a weight control diet.

We will describe the traditional edikang ikong recipe here, but modifications are almost inevitable if you are trying to prepare this soup outside Africa. We shall suggest practical alternatives, and perhaps, where to get the ingredients to buy.

You can get most of the ingredients mentioned here to buy here online, an our African foods shop, or your local African foods market. Items like perinwinko or snail could be sought for in a local Chinese market, if you have one close to you.

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