Isi Ewu as the name implies is a spiced goat head recipe; this is one of the most requested delicious traditional food originated from South-eastern parts of Nigerian; there is no traditional marriage, chieftaincy tittle or special traditional gatherings without Isi Ewu. Isi Ewu is prepared using goat head and some rich spices and herbs, it is a very common food sold in Nigerian restaurants or local food joints; instead of visiting these restaurants to ask for a plate of Isi Ewu, you can make some at home that is even tastier than the restaurant style to enjoy with your loved ones.
Isi Ewu is another form of goat meat recipe, the procedures for making it is almost similar to Nkwobi. See how to make Nkwobi here. Isi ewu is really a comfort food and it is perfect for any day especially during the cold evening hours; the best way to serve isi ewu is to use a wooden mortar which is also called Isi ewu plate, but if you dont have the local plate to serve this in, just use any plate for it.
However, I love to keep my Isi ewu very simple by using few ingredients; specifically you will need edible potash, Utazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium), calabash nutmeg (Ehuru) and onions. Here in this article you will learn how to make Isi Ewu all by yourself. See steps below.
Isi Ewu ingredients
1 Goat head, I used two heads
1 teaspoon of edible potash, (Akanwu/Kaun)
1 handful of Utaz leaves
6 pieces ehuru (calabash nutmeg), ground
1 table spoon goat meat mix spice
2 stock cubes
1 teaspoon onion powder
2 medium fresh onions
3 scotch bonnets
teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup palm oil
Salt to taste
Isi Ewu ingredients
Isi Ewu ingredients
Important tips for making Isi Ewu
Goat head comes with a thick bone and smoky skin (sooth), you can tell the butcher to help scrape out excess hair and dirt from the meat, then separate the brain from the meat and cut into medium sizes before taking it home.
Edible potash, which is also called Kaun/kanwuis a very special ingredient in goat head sauce, it is what helps to curdle and change the colour of palm oil and it helps to thicken the palm oil for perfect coating of the meat.
The goat brain is not left out or thrown away, it is used to thicken the sauce and add some taste and richness to it as well.
Ehuru seed or calabash nutmeg is an important spice in Isi Ewu 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 Isi Ewu. 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 I recommend you use it in this recipe or any bitter herb.
Lastly, Onion is also needed for cooking and garnishing of the cooked Isi ewu it is usually sliced into rings and eaten raw with the meat.
How to make Isi ewu
Wash Goat meat thoroughly under running water to remove sand and black sooth, bring it into a large pot.
Season the meat with large chunks of onions, onion powder, pepper, stock cubes, ehuru, salt and goat meat spice.
Add water to slightly cover the meat and place on heat to cook for about 40 minutes or until tender.
Bring the goat brain into a foil paper, wrap it and add to the meat to cook.
Add about two fresh peppers to a mortar and crush, after 20 minutes take out the brain, add and mash with the crushed pepper and set aside.
While the meat is still boiling, dissolve potash with 4 tablespoons of water and strain out particles, shred Utazi leaves, slice onion into rings and set all aside. Once the meat is cooked, separate it from the stock and set aside.
In a wide pan, add palm oil, bring the potash mix and pour it to the oil a little at a time while you stir with a spatula, you will notice the palm oil beginning to curdle as you stir.
Keep adding the potash mix and stir for few minutes. Once it riches a certain stage the palm oil will change to a light yellow or orange like color and becomes thicken.
Add 1 tablespoon of the meat water to adjust the consistency of the sauce, bring the goat brain you have mashed with the pepper into the sauce and mix until it dissolves.
After that, add more seasonings (Ehuru, stock cube, goat meat spice and cayenne pepper) to taste. Add a little of the goat meat water to adjust the thickness. Add some shredded Utazi and stir properly.
Bring the cooked goat meat into the sauce and stir to coat properly with the sauce, heat it back on the stove for a minute to heat it up. Garnish it with Utazi leaves and slices of onion rings.
Isi Ewu is ready; serve in a wooden plate as a side dish with chilled drink. Bon appetite.
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