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Auntie Kate's Cameroonian Fish Recipes

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Equacoco (Equan) ya Mosaka

4 May 2005

Auntie Kate:Equacoco (Equan) ya Mosaka

Culled from Idowu, K.E. Auntie Kate’s Cookery Book (3rd Edition). London; McMillam, 1985.
Bakweri Party In Progress (Buea Jan 2004)
(photograph courtesy of Mola Isaac Menyoli)


4-6 cocoyams
1 teaspoon of salt
¼ litre of water (1 cup)
Plantain leaves


1. Peel, wash and grate Cocoyams.
2. Add salt and some water, mix and beat well.
3. Add remaining water if necessary and beat to incorporate air.
4. Remove plantain leaves from midrib, cut into required width (about 20 centimetres) warm over fire or wash and pour boiling water over each to make flexible. Wash clean.
5. Wrap a kitchen spoonful of grated cocoyam in each leaf, to get a round shape. Fold in both ends and place on a bed of midrib in a flat-based pot.
6. Place the second row of equan across, leaving a small space between each to allow for free circulation of steam.
7. Cover equan with leaves (this helps to keep in steam), pour over
boiling water and put on lid.
8. Cover equan with leaves (this helps to keep in steam), pour over boiling water and put on lid.
9. Cook on steady heat for 1-11/2 hours, adding hot water when needed.
10. Lift equan into a bowl of cold water and unwrap each one.
Serve with palm nut soup, groundnut stew, okro soup or jakato soup.

Posted on Mar 14, 2004 at 08:17 AM in Food & Recipes | Permalink | Comments (5)

Bakweri Traditional Spices

Although the official dish of the Bakweri is Kwakoko and Mosaka (Palm nut) soup, the Bakweri have a number of other tradtional dishes that they have made their own by cooking or spicing them up with the leaves, seeds and other elements from the lush vegetation of the Mount Fako region. Here is a list of some of those spices:

The leaf of a small plant of the same family as "Mbongo" and "Indoko ja mokpe":(alligator pepper). Used mostly in Mosaka especilly in those days when the mosaka was generally cooked with "ekosel'a ngoa"(young pig) the leaf is haversted and washed, and wrapped around the pieces of meat or fish to be used in the "Mosaka".

it is obtained from a tree in the forest(not sure how to describe the tree)fresh, and then dried before consumption. The quantitiy to use is a matter of individual taste. It is used mostly in pepper soup, kwalala, mosaka, and Ngonya wembe.

Jowe(Black Pepper):
Also obtained from a forest tree.(little green and red seeds) that turn black after the drying process.
Used in pepper soup, kwalala, ngonya wembe and for spicing of roasted meats and fish.

Also obtained from a very huge forest tree. the tree bears pods that contain the njangasanga seeds. The pods are harvested whe mature, and cracked open to extract the seeds which are than sun-dreid. Does well in warm climates. Most of it comes from Muyuka, and Manyu division, but it is also said that there is one huge tree somewhere in Bonankanda.

Used in pepper soup, Kwalala, Ngonya wembe, spicing of meats and fish for roasting.(also in left over mosaka to be eaten with wolanga.)

It is also used together with jowe and ngaikai in a dish called "Liphele".(Fish spiced and wrapped in plantain leaves and cooked over hot coals)

Also harvested from a forest tree. It almost looks like what we called "cashew" back home. It is cracked open and the seed inside is the Ngaikai, which is either sun dried or smoke-dried before consumption.

The following are not used as spices by the Bakweri , they are used by the Bakweri for different ailments.

A simple plant found in most peoples yards. the leaves are washed and the juice squeezed out of them using water. It is used for simple stomach aches. Also included in the concoction of other leaves, plants and barks of trees that are steamed and used for "li-tumba"(a person suffering from malaria is sat infront of this steaming pot underneath a cover ) and allowed to sweat off the fever . when the water cools down in it then used as an enema as well.

It is also said that having this plant in the compound drives away evil spirits.

Seeds obtained from a plant of the same species as alligator pepper.The bakweri will ground or even chew it, and mix it in "manyanga"(palm kernel oil). it is the applied all over the body of a child with a high fever to prevent convulsions.

It is also the main spice in "mbongo-chobi" dish of the Bassa of Cameroon

Posted on Mar 13, 2004 at 06:04 PM in Food & Recipes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Auntie Kate: Plain Palm Nut Soup – Ngonya Mosaka (for 6-8 persons)

Culled from Idowu, K.E. Auntie Kate’s Cookery Book (3rd Edition). London; McMillam, 1985.


1 kg fresh palm nuts
1 cup crayfish
1 dried fish (large) or 1/2 dried fish, 1 1/2 stockfish
or 1 kg mixed beef
or 1 kg pork
or 1/2 kg fresh fish
or 1 chicken
1 onion (large)
or ¼ njangasnaga
or ¼ cup esekeseke (or less to taste)
or 1 – 2 leaves manjuweli
or 2 – 4 red peppers (large)
Salt to taste
1 litre warm water (4 cups)


1 Wash and boil palm nuts until cooked.
2 Pound to separate fleshy pulp from the kernels.
3 Separate and wash the kernels in warm water. Remove.
4 Knead and squeeze the pulp in the same warm water and strain the fairly thick liquid into a pot.
5 Repeat as necessary, using the remaining warm water.
6 Bring the palm nut liquid to the boil. Keep the lid off to prevent the oily part of the liquid boiling over. Add salt.
7 Wash fish clean. Cut into required pieces.
8 Wash and grind onions or njangasanga, two large peppers and crayfish separately.
9 Add fish, pepper, onion and salt.
10 Cook for about 1/2 hour (over a steady heat), thus reducing the liquid to about half.
11 Mix ground crayfish with cold water td a thick paste and add carefully, leaving behind any sand.
12 Cook for about 10 minutes.
13 Serve with ekpang or timba na busa (sese-epang); boiled plantain pounded yam or cocoyam; garri; sese plantains.

p. 63

Posted on Feb 26, 2004 at 08:34 AM in Food & Recipes | Permalink | Comments (1)

Traditional Bakweri Culinary Technology

Diagrams are culled from: Culled from Idowu, K.E. Auntie Kate’s Cookery Book (3rd Edition). London; McMillan, 1985.

Comments courtesy of Dorothy Ewusi, Minneapolis, USA

young goat
If you were a kid about 70 years ago, your mother and her friends probably used the Ewoki, a large wooden bowl to "sze-sze" the family's equacoco as well as other tasks that required a good sized bowl. As more people entered the market economy, enamelware bowls began to replace these. They are now priceless and nobody makes them anymore.

young goat

The mokove, shown on the left, was made of a plywood-like material, possible flexible bark, and was a superior container for the storage of dried fish or meat.

The mba-ah is made out of a variety of cane called mose-eni, the same type used to make the " "Esoko" and the "ngata" that goes over the Esoko. It is used for storage of spices. kitchen

This last beautiful item is called a kunda. We would appreciate it if a reader comments on its use and the uses of the other items.Actual photographs of these and other traditional items would be appreciated.

Lastly, if there are any existing artisans who are still capable of making these items, rest assured, we will make sure that whakpe and others at home and abroad purchase them and actually use them.

Posted on Feb 21, 2004 at 04:24 PM in Food & Recipes | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Auntie Kate: Cocoyam Koki 'Endeley Bread' (Equacoco a vekoo)

Culled from: Idowu, K.E. Auntie Kate’s Cookery Book (3rd Edition). London; McMillan, 1985
We ask readers to provide us with a short biography and picture of the renowned domestic science teacher and community leader, Mrs Kate Idowu (Auntie Kate). Future Auntie Kates are also invited to contribute recipes. Contact authors of the site.


5-8 Cocoyams
250-375 ml. palm nut stock or (¼ litre oil, ¼ litre water)
1-2 red peppers
1 cup crayfish
3 – 5 welolo or 2 strong kanda
Salt to taste
Leaves to wrap, e.g., bitterleaf


1. Peel, wash and grate cocoyams.
2. Add salt and beat with a wooden spoon.
3. Boil palm nuts and prepare palm nut stock.
4. Wash and grind pepper and crayfish.
5. Skin and bone welolo or strong kanda, shred.
6. Pour in palm nut stock (or water) gradually, beating mixture after each addition.
7. Add oil if used and stir.
8. Add all ingredients, mix well to blend.
9. Wrap spoonsful in prepared leaves or wrap in large bundles as for plantain koki:
10. Cook as for koki in steamer until done (1-2 hours).
11. Unwrap and serve hot or cold. It is ideal as a packed lunch.

P. 84

Auntie Kate