4 cups Abacha
1.5/2 cups Ugba
1 cup palm oil
1 teaspoon Edible PotashAkaun
1 Whole Fresh fishI’m using Mackerel/Titus
2-3 Medium Stockfishor Okporoko (Optional)
1-2 Scotch Bonnetor 2 Tablespooon Ground pepper
1 red onion
4-6 Garden Eggsoptional
6-8 Utazi /Otazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium)
2 Tablespoon Crayfish Powder
5 Calabash Nutmeg SeedsEhuru
1/2 Teaspoon Ogiri
Knorr Cubesor any Boullion Cubes
Abacha and Ugba, also known as African salad, is a cassava-based dish from the Igbo tribe of Eastern Nigeria. Abacha is simply dried and shredded cassava while Ugba, on the other hand, is fermented African oil bean seed. Abacha was and still is an absolute favorite, mostly because it’s so easy to prepare and the ingredients are easy to source. The key to making a good African Salad is to make sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated. As you will see below, there’s a lot of add this, stir, add that, stir. You may wonder why you can’t just add everything and stir, but if you do that, it will be very difficult for you to get a good blend of all the ingredients. Your African Salad will not be complete without Ugba. Ugba, also known as Ukpaka, is made from oil bean seeds. These seeds are cooked for several hours then sliced, washed, and left to ferment a little bit.
Please note that Abacha and Ugba is NOT a hob/stove cooked dish, so don’t be tempted to cook it.
How to Make Abacha and Ugba, Nigerian Salad:
- First, clean and gut your fish, then marinate with salt, curry, and bouillon cube or seasoning. Leave to marinate in your fridge or a cool place for at least 30 minutes.
- Then grill for 45 minutes on high.
- Soak the Abacha in cold water till soft, this should take roughly 10 minutes, and leave to drain in a colander.
- Rinse the Ugba with warm water to get rid of any dirt.
- Boil the stockfish with salt and seasoning till soft.
- Dissolve the potash in 1 cup of water.
- Blend the scotch bonnet, 1/2 of the onion, crayfish, and ground Ehuru till smooth and set aside.
- Roast the Calabash nutmeg, then peel and grind it in a mortar or mill.
- Pour the palm oil into a bowl or saucepan, gradually add the potash mixture. Mix thoroughly. You’ll notice the palm oil will begin to thicken and the color will turn yellowy. Be careful not to add too much and be careful not to add the residue at the bottom of the bowl.
- Now, add the pepper mix into the palm oil.
- Now, add the shredded stockfish, Ogiri, then the Ugba, stir and combine.
- Then add the Abacha, stir and combine. And it’s ready.
You can mix in your chopped Utazi leaves now if you wish. I prefer to use them as a garnish. Be careful not to add too much Utazi, though; it’s quite bitter and will affect the taste of your Abacha if added in excess.