The Oron Special Treat Called Ayan Ekpang With Otong Soup
Professor (Mrs.) Atim Antai, a professor of physiology and the Dean, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, shares the recipe for a yummy Akwa- Ibom delicacy with BLESSING EKUM.
What state are you from?
I am from Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
What dish is peculiar to your people?
One dish that is peculiar to us is ayan ekpang. It is made of cocoyam and water yam and served with a special okra soup called otong.
Is it a dish you enjoy?
It is a dish I enjoy eating. It is very nutritious because the carbohydrate comes from the ekpang while the soup has a lot of protein from the beans, fish and crayfish. Our people used to eat well, but this modernization of a thing is the reason we are having diseases we used to hear only among whites.
How often do you prepare it?
I haven't made it in a long while. I just don't have the time to prepare it any longer.
With your schedule, do you indulge in fast foods?
I used to eat from fast foods as a treat for myself, but I no longer go there because of health issues. Most of the fried foods contain trans-fatty acids and it is not the best. It is better to find time and cook nutritious meals and eat than resorting to fast foods. In a situation where one is very busy, it can be taken, but it shouldn't be a way of life.
What are the ingredients needed for the preparation of ayan ekpang and otong?
For the ayan ekpang, you will need cocoyam, water yam and plantain leaves. For the otong soup, you will need okra, lots of dried fish, a special beans called nsama, periwinkles, salt, pepper, oil bean (okala or ugba), kaun and palm oil.
Is there any special reason for the use of nsema or can any other bean variety be used?
Nsama is a special kind of beans. Aside from the nutritious value of nsama, it colours the soup. It is not the common beans we boil and eat.
What is the procedure?
Grate the peeled water yam and cocoyam and mix. Scoop and wrap in long, cylindrical forms using plantain leaves. Steam as in moin moin till it is cooked.
For the otong, parboil the
beans till it is soft but not mashed. Boil the dried fish and add periwinkles. When it is boiled, add the crayfish, the parboiled beans, sliced okra, salt, pepper, kaun and then palm oil. Once the oil is added, the soup would start to foam, so the pot shouldn't be covered so that it doesn't flow out of the pot.
Allow to cook for a bit and serve with ayan ekpang.