This is a very delicious meal, which is very labour intensive, takes quite a while to prepare but is well worth the effort in my opinion. I am showing the óriginal'way of preparing it. Now we have canned palm soup base which eliminates the pounding of the palmnuts. This recipe makes a lot so feel free to adjust it to suit yourself.
1 Olonka of palmnuts
1/2 Cowfeet (about 1 kilo)
2 lb Meat
1 lb Tripe
7 Round Crabs
2 Smoked Salmons
6 Garden Eggs
15 kpakpo shito pepper
2 Ginger (thumb size)
6 Garlic cloves
3 Maggi cubes
Start off by picking out any husks then washing the palmnuts. Just with plain water.
Place in a large pot and boil for about 45 minutes to an hour. You want it soft enought to fall off the nut when squeezed between you thumb and fore finger.
In the meantime wash the cowfeet, they are usaully cut for you at the market.
Wash and cut up your meet if it isn't already.
Cut and thoroughly wash the tripe. Most of the time it has a lot of sand in it so I prefer to run it under the tap. However you manage it, just get all the sand out.
Puree the ginger, garlic, anis and 1 onion. Pour this over the cowfeet, tripe and meat. Crumble 1 maggi cube over it and steam. I got a tough cut of meat so it cooked evenly with the feet. The tripe might get softer sooner.
Clean the salmon and set aside. This will be the very last thing to go in since it is very soft and we dont want it breaking apart in the soup.
If the crabs are fresh from the market and still alive, just pop them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. They simply go to sleep and die. This way they dont suffer and you dont get pinched by their claws.
To clean them, lift up the middle sail-shaped shell and using it as a handle, pull the whole shell off. This leaves a small mid section and the legs. Remove the pointed tips of the legs and wash thoroughly to get all the sand out. Rub off any mud that might be caked between the legs and body. Set them aside till later.
In a seperate pot, place the tomatoes, garden eggs, pepper and the rest of the onions. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Pound the nuts in a mortar. If you are unfamiliar with the mortar, it is the deeper one used for pounding corn, groundnuts etc. You want to pound it until it looks fibrous and the black kernels are loose.
Pour it all out into a large bowl add about a litre of hot water. The water shouldn't be so hot that you cant put your hand into it. The heat from the water will help to seperate the edible part of the palmnut from the fibers and kernels. So using your hand, take the fiber part bit by bit and squeeze the liquid out and set aside. Then remove the kernels, shaking off the liquid back into the bowl. Keep doing this until you have mostly liquid with a few fibers in it.
Now place a colander over a pot or bowl and gently pour the palmnut mixture into it. You need to do this gently because there are some particles tha settle at the bottom and you dont want to pour them in. Leave a little of this liquid in the bottom with the black bits. Rinse out the colander and place over a different pot or bowl and gently repeat the process. Do this 3 or 4 times till you have no bits in the bottom of the pot/bowl.
Now pour it over the steaming meat and let it continue to cook over a high fire.
Blend the tomatoes and pepper and using a colander, add it to the big pot of goodness.
Skin and deseed the garden eggs and blend as well. This blends pretty smooth so doesnt need to pass through the colander.
Lastly, blend and add the onions. Add the remaining 2 cubes and some salt. Not too much though, since the soup will thicken. Check how tender the cowfeet and meat are. When they are soft enough, add the crabs. The cook really fast. They are ready when they turn red.
Add the salmon at this stage and reduce the heat. Stir carefully so you dont break the fish. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes longer and it is ready.
Serve with Omo tuo (rice balls), fufu, banku or eba.
If you are using the palm soup base, add the 1 litre of hot water (boiling this time) to it and using a laddle, stir it till it is smooth and seive it into the pot of steaming meat.