Ponmo, despite its ban or limitations, has maintained its popularity among common Nigerians for several reasons. Yes, it may have been announced that there is a ban to prevent a disease outbreak, but its popularity cannot wane to the bottom, due to its affordability and versatility for cooking. Ponmo is a popular term used in Nigeria to refer to processed cow skin, specifically the inner layer of the skin. It is commonly used as a meat substitute or an addition to meat dishes in Nigerian cuisines. As a typical and an average Nigerian, this reporter upon visiting popular food markets in Ibadan, Oyo State, still noticed that cow skin/hides are being still freshly sold in different sizes in market.
This is because it is often used as an ingredient in soups, stews, and sauces, adding a unique texture and flavour to the dish. It can be fried, boiled, or grilled to achieve different textures and tastes. I mean, what is your ẹfọ riro (vegetables) without pọnmọ or your fried ata finding (fried stew) without this affordable cow skin? While ponmo is not a traditional meat product, it has become a widely-consumed food item in Nigeria, particularly in regions where it is more affordable than other meat options. It provides a chewy and gelatinous texture, and some people enjoy its taste and consistency.
It’s important to note that ponmo is mainly made up of collagen, which is a protein found in the skin and connective tissues of animals. It is relatively low in fat and calories, but doesn’t provide the same nutritional profile as other meat sources, such as beef or chicken. However, it’s always recommended to maintain a balanced diet that includes a variety of protein sources, including lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes, and vegetables, to ensure adequate nutrition. Certainly! In addition to its affordability and unique texture, ponmo has also become popular in Nigerian cuisines because it can be cooked in various ways to suit different dishes and tastes. It can be boiled, fried, grilled or sauced.
It’s worth mentioning that while ponmo is enjoyed by many people, this article is not to encourage its continuous consumption, especially in a period when there are warnings about outbreak of disease. It is often said that health is wealth; there are alternatives you can switch to and also enjoy as much pọnmọ, even in the meantime. For example, you can stick to just your meat, or do mushrooms and fish or even abodi (cow intestines), shaki (cow tripe), kidney, liver, among others. Supposing ponmo were not banned, despite that it could be a tasty addition to meals when prepared well; it should be consumed in moderation, as it is not a primary source of essential nutrients and can be high in sodium.