"Nkwobi" Red Pepper Cups

Funke Koleosho's Nkwobi Red Pepper Cups

What do (Japanese invented) collagen soup and nkwobi have in common? They are both really rich in a protein believed to be super beneficial for the skin!

Nkwobi is an Eastern Nigerian delicacy, which can be described as a really thick/dense soup, traditionally made with palm oil, blended spices, chillies and.....cow's feet...!

But there is absolutely nothing wrong with eating cow's feet...because it is from them that collagen is derived. Other sources of collagen (that I know of), include bones, chicken feet and pigs' trotters. Aside from eating cow feet in a soup, the gelatine produced from it has also been put into other uses; most commonly; production of the favourite dessert jelly, jello. There is record as as far back as the 18th century where according to the BBC British Bake Off, a home cook and cookbook author, Hannah Glasse, documented how to make trifle using cow feet (calves feet as stated in the cook book)...!

Collagen is thought to have great benefits for skin, restoring its elasticity and reducing the signs of ageing and wrinkles. For this reason, collagen is commercially extracted and sold in health stores as capsules or cream. Pure collagen is also extracted and sold as a base for making collagen soup, an increasingly growing Japanese beauty fad.

Nkwobi Red Pepper Cup 

Nigerians make no apologies for cooking and eating this delicacy, which is particularly enjoyed for its incredibly soft and gelatinous texture if cooked properly. Cow feet is also cooked and used in other different ways, typically added to vegetable soups/stews and served with a variety of accompaniments.

I quite enjoy eating nkwobi, though for some people it could be an acquired taste. The fact that cow's feet is really high in collagen is an encouraging factor for me to eat nkwobi, and rather than popping collagen pills or eating concentrated laboratory extracted collagen soup.....I rather prefer to eat "direct from source"...!

Today's post demonstrates how you might make and serve nkwobi in a not so traditional way. This way, it can be served as a starter or as a second course, before the main course is served.

The ingredients I used in this recipe are different from the traditional ingredients. For instance. I have skipped the use of potash and cow brain in the recipe. In the first instance, these two ingredients are very rare to find, and also their use are not to my total liking. These two ingredients are thought to contribute to the thickness of the dish, but this can be achieved also through the use of other ingredients.

You have to try my version to discover that the taste compared with the traditional recipe is not miles apart. The use of grilled red peppers also brings a new depth of textures and flavours to the dish. Try it.

Nkwobi Red Pepper Cups

What you need
  • Palm-fruit sauce concentrate
  • Red peppers
  • Pre-cooked cow's feet (cow hide can also be used)
  • 1-2 shelled African nutmeg(ehuru) grind into powder
  • Ground crayfish
  • Scotch bonnet chilli pepper (Cameroon pepper or chilli powder may be used as an alternative)
  • Bouillon cube
  • Red onion
  • Fresh basil or scent leaves

What to do
  1. Ensure the cow's feet have been washed properly and cooked until soft. This may take several hours so the use of a pressure cooker will be valuable. 
  2. Ensure that the cow's feet is just soft, not too soft because it will be cooked further once the sauce is ready. Cool the cooked cow's feet, remove all the bones and slice into thin strips. or cut into small chunks. 
  3. Heat some of the palm fruit concentrate in a pot
  4. Blend the crayfish, scotch bonnet and a quarter of a medium onion. The add to the palm fruit concentrate
  5. Follow by adding the ground ehuru and allow the to cook for about 15 minutes,
  6. Add the sliced cow feet and stir in. Add the bouillon cube (s) as preferred and stir.
  7. Under low heat, allow all to simmer together for another 10-15 minutes
  8. In the meantime, slice the peppers across their lengths. ensure you keep the stalk as this will help the peppers retain their shape. Drizzle peppers with some olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. 
  9. Roast in an oven for about 20 minutes or until the peppers have wilted and softened. Alternatively you can grill the peppers on a hot griddle,
  10. Scoop portions of the nkwobi into the red pepper cups and garnish with freshly chopped basil or scent leaves. Also include some slices of red onions. Serve. add the ground ehuru, chilli powder.

Nkwobi Red Pepper Cups



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