Arguably the best-known food of the Ebira people, in Kogi State, is apapa, a beans-based dessert wrapped in uma leaves. It looks like moi-moi but is coarser, and is said to be richer in protein.
In making apapa, it is preferable to use either brown beans or black-eyed peas. In picking beans, the coat is not removed. The beans are soaked in water to soften, is blended with onions and pepper, and seasoning is added. After the mix is fed into heated palm oil, and crayfish and water are added and it is stirred to consistency, it is then scooped into layers of uma leaves. The uma leaves, after thorough washing, flavour the food. The wraps are then placed in heating water until the food is ready.
When cooked with ingredients, it could be eaten alone or paired with pap or custard. When cooked without ingredients, it could be eaten with a soup or stew.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture: art, business, entertainment, activism, health, food. He is a writer, journalist, curator, media consultant, former academic, and Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Open Country Mag, a new online platform covering African literature. In 2019, he received the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians" by Avance Media. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.