Eunice loves to cook food from her native Nigerian cuisine and share her recipes with others.
Bambara nut, popularly called okpa in Nigeria, is eaten in two ways. One way is to boil the nuts in the pods—the same way that peanuts/groundnuts are boiled—and eat them that way. The second way is to remove the shells, grind the nuts and use them to make a pudding.
In Nigeria, the term okpa refers both to the bambara nut itself as well as to the pudding. Okpa is a street food that is typically consumed for breakfast. It can be eaten on its own or paired with soda, tea, pap/custard or a drink of one's choice. The pudding calls for only five ingredients, and it's so easy to prepare.
Okpa is rich in protein, so it's a healthy meal. The heavy nature of the pudding also makes it filling especially when paired with a drink.
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- 3 cups bambara nut (okpa) flour
- 2 bouillon cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 habanero pepper, ground
- 1/4 cup red palm oil
- In a mixing bowl, add the flour, pepper, salt, bouillon cubes and palm oil.
- Mix with your hands until the oil is fully incorporated into the flour. It should have the same effect as mixing butter into dry flour.
- Mix some warm water in a bowl. Pour the water into the flour mixture and mix until the batter is very watery and lump-free (see photo below). If the batter has a thick consistency, the pudding will become hard after cooking. (Alternative method: After pouring all of the ingredients into a bowl, pour in a little warm water and mix into a paste. The advantage of this method is that it eliminates any chance of having lumps in your batter. So you spend less time looking for and dissolving lumps. After mixing the smooth paste, proceed to add more warm water until you get a watery batter.)
- Pour out your batter into any container of your choice. Locally, banana and plantain leaves are used for wrapping. Waterproof is also used. I use aluminum cans because they are easy and cheap. I also like that I can reuse them over and over again, as opposed to leaves and waterproof, which are single-use only.
- When pouring the batter in the container, make sure you don't fill it to the brim. This is because as it cooks it will swell. To avoid spillage, it's best to leave some room.
- Place the containers in a large pot of boiling water. Don't stack the containers on top of each other. Each container has to be immersed in the boiling water. Watch the water level in the pot so that it doesn't overflow into the containers.
- Boil for 40 minutes. To check if the okpa is cooked, dip a stick or fork into the pudding the same you would check a cake. If it comes out clean then it's cooked and ready to serve.