Ugu (Pumpkin Leaves) & Yam Omelette


Every corner I turn in the open markets of Lagos, I find abundant bunches of freshly picked Ugwu; pumpkin leaves. This is such a contrast to what we get in the UK where you only get fresh ones just once a week!

Everyone seems to be eating them and rightly so. This vegetable is so rich in minerals and vitamins its really a "sin" not to eat them. And if you already eat them, you should be eating them at least 5 times a week...! Yes they are that good for you. Today's post is about sharing ideas on how to eat Ugwu other than in your soup.

Check out its nutritional profile below:

Nutritional Data for 100g of freshly picked Ugwu leaves
Calories: 48 kcal
Dietary fibre: 1.6g
Carbohydrates: 5g
Protein: 4g
Fat: 0.8g
Vitamins: A,C, K, E, Folate, Riboflavin
Minerals: Potassium,  Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus

Ugwu leaves are more popularly used to make delicious traditional Nigerian soups such as Edikang Ikong. where is it used as the main ingredient. The leaves can also be added to other soups such as Egusi soup and Ogbonna soup to add extra flavour and taste.

Its a known fact that excessive cooking (which the leaves are put through in the process of cooking soups) can actually destroy some of the vital nutrients of vegetables, so eating then as close to their raw state as possible offer the most promise of getting the most nutrients they offer.

So I experimented using the Ugwu leaves in simple recipes that require only minimal or no cooking. I also used then in smoothies which I added to rice (check out my Green Rice recipe here) and even used them to garnish my dishes. The results were encouraging...!

Ugwu & Yam Omelette

Ugwu leaves can be pretty tough so I chose the very tender leaves and stalks for use in today's recipe. I also sliced them as thinly as possible to enable then cook faster. One other tip is to pick the leaves, rinse them before slicing. This way the water soluble nutrients will not be rinsed away after slicing.

First up of my new Ugwu recipes is Ugwu and Yam Omelette. Healthy, great tasting and quick and easy to make. Excellent for breakfast of light evening meal.

Check out the recipe below:

What you need
  • Some pre-boiled/cooked Abuja yam (you can use puna yam (for those who live in the UK) or any other yam suitable for boiling. If you have some cooked yam left overs, they will be perfect for this recipe.)
  • Eggs
  • A handful of thinly sliced freshly picked tender Ugwu leaves and stalk
  • Some salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
  • A handful of diced fresh tomatoes
  • A handful of diced onion 
  • Sunflower oil (or any other oil you prefer)

What to do
  1. Chop the yam into small chunks/cubes and set aside. Crack the eggs and whisk in a bowl. Add salt to taste. 
  2. In a frying pan, heat some oil, then add the diced tomatoes and onions to soften. Season with some salt. black pepper and stir well. Add the cubed yam and allow all to heat through. Then add the sliced ugwu leaves. 
  3. Stir all together and finally add the whisked eggs. 
  4. Allow the eggs to cook for about 2 minutes on each side (by carefully flipping over) then fold the omelette and serve on a plate. I prefer it served hot but also delicious served cold.
  5. Please note, the amount of eggs you use should be in proportion of the other ingredients and also align with your preference.

Ugwu & Yam Omelette

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