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How to Prepare Abacha in Nigeria [African Salad]

See the methods to prepare abacha in Nigeria. Abacha, commonly known as African Salad, is one of the most popular Igbo meal. This one food I don’t joke with, Abacha garnished with garden eggs and its leaf accompanied with fried fish. I can remember vividly that little me who always cry when I see Abacha as the food for the day, only the look of it irritate me. I sit down looking at my siblings as they enjoy their meal, thoughts going through my head as i wonder if truly am missing out. On a very good day I decided to give it a try and the whole story changed. Today Abacha has ranked high among my favourite meals

Abacha is prepared from cassava. The cassava tubers are cooked till done then sliced with a special grater. The sliced cassava is then soaked in cold water overnight, washed thoroughly and dried under the sun.

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Ugba is an important ingredient used in preparing African salad, it is considered incomplete without the present of this ingredient. It’s made from oil bean seeds. These seeds are cooked for several hours then sliced, washed and left to ferment a little bit.  Ugba is usually sold in most Nigerian markets .For those outside it can be gotten from African shops.

How to Prepare Abacha in Nigeria [African Salad]

Ingredients to prepare Abacha

Here are all the ingredients that are needed for preparing Abacha (African salad) whether you are within or outside Nigeria. Some of them are extremely required while few of them are optional

The Minimum ingredients for making Abacha (African Salad)

  • 3 Handfuls abacha
  • 2 Cups ugba (ukpaka)
  • 30 cl Red palm oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Powdered Potash (known as ncha by the Igbos)
  • Fish | Mackerel/Dry Fish/Stockfish
  • 1 Large Onion
  • Salt and dry pepper (to taste)
  • 4 Tablespoons ground crayfish
  • 2 Stock cubes (Maggi/Knorr)
  • 1 Teaspoon ground Ehu seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)

Other seasoning you can add to the Abacha

  • 1 teaspoon Ogiri / Iru (traditional Nigerian seasoning that smells like you-know-what lol)

Other meat and vegetables for the Abacha

  • 3 Fresh Utazi leaves
  • Kpomo/ Kanda (cow skin)
  • Garden Eggs | As much as you can eat
  • Garden Egg leaves | 1 medium bunch
  • 1 medium onion (for serving)

Make the following ready before beginning with the preparation

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  1. Cook kanda/ kpomo (optional) till done and cut into tiny pieces
  2. Prepare the ehu seeds by roasting, peeling and grinding them with a dry mill.
  3. Fry the mackerel, some people also roast it, soak the stockfish in warm water, and remove the bones in the dry fish. You can use either of the fish or all of them. Its depends on your choice
  4. Wash the onions (medium sized) and slice into rings .
  5. Wash and cut the vegetables
  6. Wash the garden eggs and set aside. Do not cut
  7. Soak the Abacha in cold or warm water until Abacha is soft, pour it in a sieve to drain  water
  8. Wash the ugba in luke warm water, strain and set aside
  9. Grind the crayfish and pepper
  10. Get a bowl, put the powdered potash, add about a cup of cold water in it, then sieve to remove particles. Set water aside for later use


Steps to Prepare Abacha in Nigeria [African Salad]

Preparing Abacha has a lot of add this, stir, add that and stir. We may wonder why we have to follow that process when we can just add all ingredients at once. But the secret is, without doing that the ingredients won’t blend properly

  1. Pour the palm oil into a sizeable pot or mortal. Enough oil to make the abacha moist after preparing
  2. Add the drained water from the potash powder.N.B Step 2 may come first before step 1, it depends on your choice
  3. Stir very well until it forms a yellowish paste
  4. Add the ground pepper, ground ehu (optional), crayfish, diced onions and ugba (ukpaka), crush the stock cubes, and then stir well.
  5. Add the iru/ogiri and make sure it is mixed properly until completely dissolve
  6.  Add the diced kanda/kpomo and stir.
  7. Add the sliced Utazi and salt to taste and stir well. You can also use dry Utazi if the fresh one is not available where you live.
  8. Lastly add salt. N.B Taste before adding salt, after adding all that seasoning, your Abacha may not even need salt any more.
  9. Do you like your Abacha warm? Then transfer to medium heat at the point and heat up. Do not overheat so it doesn’t end up at Abacha pottage. When done, remove from heat, add the sliced garden egg leaves, stir and serve with garden eggs, fish and onions.
  10. Do you want your Abacha cold? Then after step 9, add the sliced garden egg leaves, stir and serve with garden eggs, fish and onions.

The garden eggs, the leaves and the onions are mostly use to spice up or for decoration purposes and shouldn’t be added during preparation. They are usually sliced on the surface on the Abacha when dished out. Same goes for fish


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Lilian Umeoke

Lilian is a content writer at InfoGuideNigeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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