The Pretend Chef

Peppered Ponmo, Peppered Cowskin

Soft, spicy and sticky Peppered Ponmo (cow skin)

Peppered Ponmo is a staple ‘small chop’ (hors d’oeuvre)in Nigerian parties and bars. It is soft, hot, spicy and slightly sticky with a sauce that feels like savoury caramel. Delicious in every sense of the word. Normally, you will not serve your guests only Ponmo in their soup or stew, you will include other cuts of meat. An exception is if you are serving Peppered Ponmo.

Ponmo is the processed skin of a cow. The skin from different parts of the cow will have subtle differences in taste and texture. Some are thick, others thin, some are tough while others are soft, some have a richer flavour than others.

Soft, spicy and sticky Peppered Ponmo (cow skin)

In Palmwine drinking joints and beer-parlours, the owners (madams) usually make this dish furnace hot, a palate burner. The heat of the pepper makes the patrons buy more drinks with the hope of relief but the Peppered Ponmo tastes so good they can’t stop eating…and drinking, a vicious cycle and a win-win for the bar owner.

You will need to wash your Ponmo very well because there might still be scorch marks on it from the processing, also some sand. The quantity of the scotch bonnet depends on your heat tolerance. You do not need a lot of tomatoes in your Peppered Ponmo, you are not tossing your ponmo in the Nigerian tomato stew or Tomato sauce rather, you just want some freshness from the tomato.

Soft, spicy and sticky Peppered Ponmo (cow skin) with ukpaka


  • I added salt at the beginning so that the ponmo will be well seasoned.
  • I used a combination of red and yellow scotch bonnet. The yellow is called Ose Nsukka (Nsukka pepper), it has a peculiar floral aroma.
  • Add the excess sauce to your yam porridge, you will never take Yam porridge for granted again.

To prepare Peppered Ponmo

450g Ponmo
6 scotch bonnet
1 medium tomato
1 medium onion
1 seasoning cube
1/4 cup vegetable oil (palm oil)

Wash ponmo very well and cut to the desired size.

raw ponmo (cowskin) for Peppered Ponmo

Place ponmo in a pot, add enough water to cover it, add a little salt and place over medium-high heat.

Cook until it is soft, adding water little by little as needed.

The stock should have reduced very well to about 1 cup or less at this stage if not, you can remove the ponmo and boil stock to reduce and concentrate.

soft cooked ponmo (cowskin) for Peppered Ponmo

Meanwhile wash scotch bonnet, tomato and onions.

Grind until they are minced (chunky) but not pureed.

Place a dry sauce pan or deep frying pan over medium high heat.

Add oil and when hot, add ground pepper and fry.

Fry until the oil is once more visible.

Add seasoning cube, stir and add ponmo.

Stir fry ponmo for 2-3 minutes.

stir frying Peppered Ponmo (cowskin)

Add 3 tablespoons of the reduced and concentrated ponmo stock.

Stir and taste for salt, add salt if needed.

Leave ponmo to cook for 2 minutes stirring from time to time.

Peppered Ponmo stewing in sauce

It will thicken and glue the ground pepper on the ponmo as it continues to cook.

Take off the heat and enjoy your Peppered ponmo.

Serve with your favourite drink, like my Nigerian Chapman drink (mocktail), Easy homemade Lemonade, Virgin Pina Colada or with your Abacha ncha (African Salad), Okazi salad (Afang Salad) or Ugba salad (oil bean seed salad).

Soft, spicy and sticky Peppered Ponmo (cow skin)

You will also enjoy my Nigerian Peppered Snail, Nigerian Peppered Gizzard, Asun, spicy goat meat and Bushmeat and Vegetable.

Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

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Soft, spicy and sticky Peppered Ponmo (cow skin)

Soft, spicy and sticky Peppered Ponmo (cow skin)




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