Nkwobi (Spicy Cow Foot)

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Nkwobi is a spicy Nigerian dish made from cow feet. It is a popular eat-out meal usually ordered and enjoyed in exclusive restaurants and beer parlors that appears sophisticated but is very simple to cook with common components.
Get ready to learn how to prepare nkwobi, which is enjoyed by many around Nigeria, from the comfort of your own home.

About Nkwobi Recipe 

The majority of people I know confuse Nkwobi with Isi Ewu. However, they aren’t nearly the same. Yes, these are both Igbo recipes, but they have completely distinct meanings (from different animals in fact).

The former refers to a cow’s foot, whereas the latter refers to a goat’s head. So, if you’re looking up “How to cook Nkwobi Isi Ewu with Goat Head” on Google, please stop. You’ve learned your lesson.

This recipe is commonly refers to as cow foot pepper soup or cow leg stew, hence it is very rich and mouth watery if prepared well and it serve well during a cold weather.

How To Prepare Nkwobi

To make a tasty nkwobi, you need to have these basic ingredients such as cow foot or cow leg, ugba (ukpaka (oil bean), ehuru seeds (calabash nutmegs),edible potash (kauwu), utazi leaves(Gongronema latifolium) at home before embarking on your nkwobi journey.
Additionally, any kind of meat could be used to make this recipe; these include goat meat, cow tail, chicken, turkey. However, different kinds of bush meats could also be used to make this recipe, which include grass-cutter, rabbit and even squirrel depending on your preference.

Tips For Preparing Nkwobi

  • Cow foot comes with a thick bone, you can tell the butcher to help you remove the thick bone and scrape out excess hair and dirt from the meat, then cut into medium sizes before taking it home.
  • Cow foot is tougher than the usual meat you are used to, a pressure cooker can help you cook the meat in no time, to save time and your gas, but you can use charcoal fire to prepare this if you dont have a pressure cooker.
  • Edible potash, which is also called kanwa in Hausa,is a very special ingredient in nkwobi sauce, it is what helps to curdle and change the colour of palm oil and it helps to thicken the palm oil for a perfect coating of the meat.
  • If you add too much edible potash liquid to the sauce, it could change the taste of your nkwobi and alsoprevent the bitter taste of the utazi; use just a little portion of it to complement the taste.
  • Ehuru seed or calabash nutmeg is an important spice in this recipe; it adds some kind of earthen flavour to the dish. This should not be replaced with the normal nutmeg. The outer covering is tough and the easy way to peel them is by roasting them in a dry pan or in open flame for 3 minutes before cracking them with your teeth.
  • You will also need some greenish vegetables like utazi leaf to garnish your nkwobi. Utazi leaf has a very bitter taste, but you need to used it sparingly, you just need a little of it to complement the taste of your meal. If you cant tolerate its bitter taste, you can substitute it with Uziza leaf, but its not bad if you use it.
  • Your Nkwobi is delicious with or without Ugba, Ugba which is known as oil beans, contributes to the awesome flavour of nkwobi dish.
  • If you love spicy food then you are in the right company. But if you don’t, you can reduce the pepper to your taste

Nkwobi Can Be Best Served With:

  1. Chilled drinks
  2. Palm wine
  3. Beer or Stout &
  4. Soft drinks

Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, it’s time to show you exact steps in the recipe and Ingredients for how to prepare Nkwobi. Enjoy!

Nkwobi – Spicy Cow Foot Recipe

Nkwobi is a Nigerian delicacy that is usually ordered and enjoyed in exclusive restaurants. It is simply cooked cow foot mixed in spicy palm oil paste. Nkwobi is often mistaken for Isi Ewu but they are not the same.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 2


  • 2kg (4.4 lbs) cow foot (cut into sizeable pieces)
  • 20cl (200ml) Palm Oil
  • 1 tablespoon powdered edible potash (Akanwu/Kaun/Keun)
  • 1 teaspoon ground Ehu seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)
  • 2 tablespoons ground crayfish
  • 2 habanero peppers(or to your taste)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 big stock cubes
  • Salt (to taste)

To Garnish

  • 1 medium onion
  • 10 Utazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium)


Before Preparation

  • Cut the cow foot into medium chunks.
  • Put the powdered potash into a bowl.
  • Add a small quantity of water (about 4 table spoons) and stir well.
  • Pass it through a fine sieve and set the liquid aside.
  • Cut 1 onion into 4 big chunks.
  • Pound the pepper with a mortar and pestle or blitz it.
  • Grind the crayfish.
  • Crack and remove the outer shell of the ehu then grind with a dry mill eg coffee grinder.


  • Wash and put the cow foot chunks in a pot.
  • Add the stock cubes (crushed) and the chunks of onion.
  • Add a small quantity of water and start cooking at medium heat till well cooked.
  • Add just enough water to prevent burning as you cook. There should not be any stock (water) in the pot when the meat is done.
  • While the meat is cooking, pour the palm oil into a clean dry pot.
  • Pour in the potash mixture (sieved) into the oil.
  • Stir with a wooden spatula as you pour the potash. You'll notice the palm oil begin to curdle and turn yellow.
  • Keep stirring till all the oil has turned yellow.
  • Add the ground crayfish, pepper and ehu seeds.
  • Stir very well till they are all incorporated.
  • When the meat is done, add salt.stir and cook till all the water has dried.
  • Add the well done cow foot to the palm oil paste and stir very well with the wooden spatula.
  • Put it back on the stove/cooker and heat till the Nkwobi is piping hot, stirring all the time to make sure it does not burn.
  • To prepare the garnish, cut the onions into rings and cut the utazi into long thin slices.
  • Serve the Nkwobi in a wooden mortar.
  • Add the thin slices of utazi and onion rings on top for the full effects.


Notes For The Ingredients

  1. The 2kg of cow foot may sound like a lot but remember that cow foot is mostly bones so 2 people that love Nkwobi can finish that in no time.
  2. Cow foot is quite tough so if you have a pressure cooker, do use it for cooking it to save time and gas/electricity. You may be able to buy calf foot which is softer and cooks in less time.
  3. Ehu (Calabash Nutmeg) is a very traditional ingredient that is difficult to find outide Nigeria. If you can't buy it where you live, just prepare the Nkwobi without it. Ordinary nutmeg is not an alternative to this because they are not similar in any way. If you have friends or family in Nigeria, they will be able to buy ehu seeds and send to you, a small quantity goes a long way.
  4. Potash is what makes the palm oil curdle as you will see in the video below. An alternative I know is what we call Ngu in Igbo. Ngu is even more traditional than potash so if you can't find potash, chances are that you won't be able to get Ngu either.
  5. Utazi adds a nice bitter flavour to the Nkwobi. if you can't buy it where you live, use spinach (bold ones), it gives the same effect and actually tastes nice!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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