How to cook ukwa fast

How to cook ukwa fast

Nigerian food is beautiful, delicious and diverse, but sometimes it takes too long to cook . One of the things that seems to take ages to cook is the porridge made out of breadfruit (ukwa). However, we have a method of how to cook ukwa in just a little bit over an hour. Trust us, there is no faster way of doing this. So strap in and get to cooking!

How to cook ukwa fast

Ukwa, also known as breadfruit porridge, is a traditional Nigerian meal that comes from the eastern part of Nigeria. It is made out of the fruit of the Treculia Africana tree that many call African breadfruit. It might be a little bit on the expensive side for some, but the mouth-watering flavour of the end product makes it totally worth it.

Did you know?

Ukwa is an excellent source of various nutrients. 100 grams of ukwa contain 10% of good (unsaturated) fats, up to 15% of protein, 25% of carbohydrates and 2% of fibre. This meal also contains Vitamin C, folic acid and beta-carotene. The 100-gram serving of ukwa is only around 240 kcal, which makes it a perfect meal option for those who are watching their figure or struggling with diabetes.

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There are many ways of cooking ukwa. Some prefer it cooked plain with no seasonings, as fresh ukwa tastes great even without salt. You can roast it and consume it with palm kernel or coconut. Our recipe, for instance, involves cooking ukwa as a porridge. So let’s get to it!

What you will need to prepare ukwa

ukwa with corn

Here is what you will need to prepare ukwa:

  • 620 grams of breadfruit seeds (preferably fresh)
  • 3/4 teaspoons of potash Akaun
  • 100 grams of dry prawns or fish
  • 3 diced Scotch Bonnet peppers
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of palm oil
  • 3 tablespoons of ground crayfish
  • 2 flavour cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • a diced red onion
  • bitter leaf/Ugu/spinach/spring greens
  • 2 cups of sweet corn or boiled maize

This recipe will take about an hour and fifteen minutes of your time and it will serve up to four people. Stick around until the end of the article for important notes on the ingredients and preparation.

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Ukwa recipe


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Step 1. Begin by picking the breadfruit seeds to remove any unwanted particles or dirt.

Step 2. Pound the Akaun into a fine powder and mix it with half a cup of water. Mix until it is dissolved and set the mixture aside. We will be using potash as a tenderising agent, as it would take much longer for ukwa to cook without it.

Step 3. Take your picked and sorted breadfruit seeds and wash them thoroughly. You need to make sure all the sand and dirt are gone before you move on to the next step.

Step 4. Put the seeds in a pot, pour just enough water so that it covers them and set the pot on the stove. Turn the stove on the medium heat and leave the seeds to boil for at least half an hour.

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Step 5. Grab your mixture of water and potash, give it another stir and pour it into your pot. Be extra careful not to pour the residue in the pot, as it should not go in your food. Discard the leftovers of the potash mixture.

Step 6. If you see that there is too little water in the pot, you can add a little bit more. Give ukwa 10 more minutes to soften.

Step 7. Wash and soak the prawns/fish thoroughly. If you are using fish, debone it and break it into small pieces. If you are using prawns, simply remove their heads. Add them to the ukwa, along with the Scotch Bonnet peppers, flavour cubes, salt and pepper (and the onion, if you are using it). Leave the whole thing for another ten minutes to boil.


Step 8. Add the palm oil and ground crayfish to the pot. Stir them in and leave your ukwa to boil until there is no more water in the pot.

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Step 9. If you have decided to go with the greens (be it Ugu, spring greens, bitter leaf or spinach) add them now. If not, skip this step.

Step 10. Stir in the boiled maize or sweet corn, and your ukwa is ready to serve. Bon appetit!

Tips and notes on ukwa food preparation

ukwa with greens
  • The cooler ukwa gets, the thicker it becomes. Some say that it makes the breadfruit porridge even more delicious.
  • The amount of palm oil is arbitrary. It mostly serves as a way to make your meal look more appetising. Still, you should add at least a little bit of it to make your dish better.
  • There is a better (and, arguably, healthier) alternative to potash. It is called Ngu, and it is mostly used by rural Igbos. It is a kind of ash that you get if you burn palm fronds. However, it is mostly accessible in villages; it is fairly hard to find in cities. Therefore, Akaun might be your only option here.

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ukwa fast
  • You can avoid using potash or Ngu altogether if you soak your breadfruit seeds beforehand. Just leave them to soak for at least three hours. It will add time to your cooking, but you will not have to use any foreign substances for your food.
  • If you are using dry ukwa instead of fresh one, you will have to soak it overnight (even if you are using potash or Ngu). Otherwise, your meal might end up too tough or inedible altogether.

And now you know how to prepare ukwa. Wasn’t that quick? With this recipe, you will be able to feed your family in no time. Nevertheless, if you find an even faster method, let us know! We would love to hear it. Happy cooking!

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