Edikang-ikong and I have a special relationship; this has to be my favourite soup of all time. The hallmark for me was the little bits and pieces of periwinkle and kpomo scattered throughout. Since going vegan those things no longer feature in my soup, but I’ve found a way to make it interesting nevertheless.
My first vegan edikang-ikong recipe included black beans and ukwa (breadfruit seeds). I didn’t have black beans this time, but the ukwa still features prominently. I think the earthy flavour and chewy texture that ukwa adds to this soup is just phenomenal. Not to even speak of the nutritional value. It’s chock full of protein, as well as calcium and other important minerals. For convenience I like to use the already roasted ukwa that you can buy as a snack in the market. As I don’t have a pressure cooker it would take me ages to cook from scratch.
I also decided to make this recipe oil free by using palm fruit puree instead of palm oil. Palm fruit puree is only about 50% fat and contains loads of other nutrients and antioxidants, compared to palm oil which is 100% fat.
I added some black fungus mushrooms for a beautifully crunchy texture. I remember my mum used to put them in her edikang-ikong soup when I was younger, and I absolutely loved it.
After making this soup, I literally stood beside the pot and finished a bowl of it. No swallow or anything, just the soup. It was just so good! You really have to try it.
What you will need
+ 1 bunch of ugwu (pumpkin leaves)
+ 1 bunch of waterleaf
+ 1/3 cup roasted ukwa (breadfruit seeds)
+ 2 cups dried black fungus mushrooms (I found them at Rene Supermarket, Ikoyi)
+ 2 dried shiitake mushrooms (same as above; they’re also at Fig Health Store in Lekki Phase 1)
+ 1/2 red onion, chopped
+ 1 atarodo pepper, minced
+ 1 teaspoon minced garlic
+ 4 tablespoons palm fruit puree/extract
+ 2 tablespoons iru (fermented locust beans)
+ 1 tablespoon liquid amino acids (available on Olori)
+ Spices: 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon yellow chili powder, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1 bunch negro pepper, salt to taste
How to make it
Step 1: Rinse leaves and slice into strips; ugwu about 1/2 cm wide and waterleaf about 1 inch wide (add the waterleaf stalks too, they’re delicious!) The waterleaf will shrink much more than the ugwu as it cooks so we need it to be in larger pieces. Rinse shiitake mushrooms (do not soak) and cut into chunks with a sharp knife.
Step 2: Sautee the onions, garlic and atarodo in the palm fruit puree until onions are translucent.
Step 3: Add 1 cup water to the pot, along with shiitake mushroom pieces, liquid aminos, iru and spices. Cover and leave to simmer for 5 minutes to brew the stock.
Step 4: Rinse the black mushrooms and add to the pot, plus a bit of water if the level has gone down. Leave to simmer another 5 minutes; the mushrooms will expand to thrice their size. While this is happening, rinse the ukwa, soak in hot water for a few minutes until softened (but not mushy), then rinse off and set aside.
Step 5: Add ugwu to the pot, but do not stir. Cover the pot to let it steam for a few minutes. There should not be a lot of water in the pot at this point; edikang-ikong is a dry soup.
Step 6: When the ugwu begins to wilt, stir the leaves into the stock and add the waterleaf and ukwa. Adjust seasoning, cover the pot and let steam for another few minutes.
When the waterleaf begins to wilt, stir into the stock. And you’re done!