Ukwa: Reccipe To Prepare African Breadfruit


African breadfruit is a well-known delicacy in Igboland where it is predominantly called Ukwa and is one of Nigeria’s most popular foods.

I have a detailed recipe about Igbo foods and recipes that you can read about.

People frequently ask, “What is African breadfruit?” and how to prepare it in the exact manner desired by an Igbo or peculiar with the way the Igbos prepare it.

The majority of the questions I receive are from ladies who are married to a Nigerian man; for example, what should I serve a Yoruba man for dinner? What to serve an Igbo man for breakfast (not that kind of breakfast though), and such.

That is why I began a new series on foods eaten by different Nigerian ethnic groups, and we are now discussing African breadfruit (Ukwa) as one of the popular Igbo foods.

I’ll try to explain in detail how this recipe was made in my own kitchen, and then I’ll talk briefly about another Ukwa recipe I’m familiar with.

The Two Ukwa Recipes You Need To Know

Ukwa is a very popular food in Nigeria, especially in the eastern and the Igbo people are very familiar with the two recipes I’ll be discussing below.

Ukwa can be cooked with potash and eaten plain, or it can be separated from the water and the seeds mashed with some ingredients before being served with plain cooked ukwa.

By the way, if you live outside of Nigeria and can’t find ukwa locally, you can buy it from an online store.

The ingredients for preparing Ukwa (African Breadfruit) are listed below; what you have listed below will serve three people. You have the option to increase or decrease the amount of people you want to serve.

Ukwa’s Ingredients

  • Ukwa Potash 6 cups (akanwu) 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (about 5)
  • Optional: Ogiri (a local ingredient)
  • Maggi (half cube)
  • Season with salt to taste
  • The oil in red (100ml)
  • 2 cups cooked maize

How to Make Ukwa


1. Clean the Ukwa seeds. It is required to wash multiple times in a large bowl of clean water. I also use a small sieve to ensure that all of the concealed little stones are removed.

2. Heat a cooking pot with 5 cups of water and begin cooking the Ukwa (breadfruit). When the water is boiling, add the potash. 

3. Dissolve one cup of potash in one cup of water, then filter off the clean water and discard the remainder. 

4. It is important to remember that Ukwa will never become soft (done) without the application of a catalyst (potash).

5. I tried this in high school, and we cooked for more than three hours before realizing there was anything missing.

6. Another substance that serves the same purpose as potash is ash obtained from the burning of palm fronds. It is popular among the Igbos and is known locally as ngu.

7. If you wish to produce Ukwa with ngu, follow the same steps as if you were using potash: dissolve in a cup of water, wait a minute or two, and then utilize the filtrate.

8. Cook till the ukwa is soft enough to eat and then serve. This is one of two methods to consume African breadfruit in Nigeria; some people like to add a pinch of salt, while some Igbos do not use salt in this recipe.

2nd Breadfruit (Ukwa) Recipe

The second dish (mashed Ukwa & Corn) picks up where the first one left off.

1. Cook the corn until it is completely soft, then strain the seeds from the water (that is to sieve out the soft seeds from the water).

2. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the pepper, then add around 100ml of red oil, a half-stock cube, a pinch of salt, ogiri, and mix (use a garri turner, a spoon-like wood).

3. Stir in the soft corn.

4. Mix in the soft Ukwa seed.

5. Then, using the wooden turner, turn very well.

You have now finished creating this African delicacy.