African stockfish dish

Ugba and okporoko – Nigerian fried stockfish.

Ingredients, serves 4:

  • 1 cup ukpaka (ugba, African oil been seeds)
  • 2 big chunks of okporoko (stockfish)
  • 2 teaspoons crayfish
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • ½ fresh chili pepper
  • ½ tablespoon potash (akanwu)
  • ½ teaspoon ogili ugba (fermented locust beans)
  • 4 tablespoons red palm oil
  • 800 ml water
  • 10 lettuce leaves, sliced
  • 1 fresh tomato, sliced


  • If using hard dried stockfish, then soak overnight in hot water otherwise if using soft ones, soak for at least 2 hours in hot water until softened.
  • Wash the soaked stockfish properly then add in a pot, add water and salt then cook until very tender and the broth almost dried.
  • N.B. – If more water is needed to get the stockfish tenderised, then do add more water and continue cooking until very tender. Afterwards break the stockfish into small pieces then set aside.
  • If using dried ukpaka (ugba), soak in hot water for 10 minutes, wash properly with salt then add in a pot, add water and allow to boil for another 20 minutes or until the ukpaka gets softened. But if using fresh ukpaka, there is no need to soak in hot water or cook.
  • Add the potash in a pot or bowl, add 4 tablespoons of water and stir properly then add the red palm oil and mix to thicken.
  • Add crayfish, ogili, stock cubes and salt then stir the mixture very well to form a soft paste known as ncha.
  • Add the ukpaka and the okporoko into the ncha paste and stir properly to combine very well.
  • Add the ukpaka and okporoko into a pot and simmer for 5 minutes.

Garnish the ugba and okporoko with some slices of spring onions, tomatoes, lettuce and onions and serve immediately.

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