African salad (abacha with ugba)

AFRICAN salad is a Nigerian meal that is native to the Igbo. This meal is popular in the eastern part of Nigeria and is also one of the most popular Igbo recipes. Abacha, as the Igbo love to call it, is one of the most popular evening deserts in the East. It is served best as kola to visitors. In fact, there are villages in the East of Nigeria that only offer Ugba, or Abacha, to visitors and visitors have come to love and desire the delicious delicacy.

A lot of processes are involved in the preparation of Abacha and most rural dwellers are familiar with it.

Below is all you need to know about this delicious desert and the ingredients used in preparing it.




Palm oil

Powdered potash

Fish/mackerel/dry fish /stockfish



Dry pepper

Cray fish


Ground ehu seeds


Fresh utazi leaves

Ponmo/kanda (cow skin)

Garden egg

Garden egg leaf


How it is made

The key to making a good African salad is to make sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated. You may wonder why don’t you just add everything and stir. If you do that, it will be very difficult to get a good blend of all the ingredients.

Pour the palm oil into a big pot. Pour the water from the potash mixture but do not pour the sediments. Stir very well until the oil turns to yellow paste.

Add the ground pepper, grounded ehu, crushed stock cubes, cray fish, diced onions and ugba  (ukpaka). Stir very well. It should be noted that we are doing everything off the stove.

Add the iru/ogiri and make sure it’s mixed very well. Add the diced kanda/ponmo and stir.

Now add the soaked and drained Abacha and stir in the palm oil paste.

Add the sliced utazi and salt to taste and stir well. You can also use dry utazi if fresh one is not available. It is important that salt is the last ingredient to be added because after adding all the seasoning, your Abacha may not even need to be salted anymore.

Some people like their Abacha warm. If you like yours that way, transfer to a stove at this point and heat it up to your desired temperature at medium heat. When done, turn off the heat and add sliced garden egg leaves. Stir very well. If you like it cold, add the sliced garden egg leaves, stir, and serve with garden eggs, fish and onions. You are done.

Eat with chilled palm wine for the full effects.



The shredded cassava: Cassava is high in carbohydrates and calories due to its high sucrose content. It is gluten free, which makes it desired by patients with digestive problems. It also is rich in B-complex nutrients.

The vegetables: The Anara (African eggplant leaves) are rich in beta-carotene, ascorbic acid and calcium. It also is filled with antioxidant and has anti inflammatory properties. Anara leaves are great for cellular regeneration and restoring dead cells. Utazi, on its own, is roughage, which is good for digestive health.

Other additives: Ugba is a protein staple, making the African salad well rounded nutritionally. This is the same meat and fish that can be added to the dish to make it more palatable. With these dietary advantages, you should make the African salad a part of your family meals.


Health benefit

African salad is a nutritional diet that contains potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and zinc. It is also rich in protein and crude fiber. African salad is made primarily out of shredded processed cassava, vegetables such as African eggplant leaves and utazi leaves and palm oil, mixed with potash. It can be modified according to one’s taste by adding garden eggs, stock fish, meat and even fermented African oil bean seeds popularly known as ugba/ukpaka.

The dish is not cooked, which makes it healthy as a salad. It fights certain diseases such as the type 2 diabetes and obesity. Its fiber content keeps cholesterol and heart disease under control.

Abacha contains sulfur compounds, chromium and Vitamin B6, which helps to prevent heart disease by lowering high homocysteine level. It also contains Vitamin B3, which aids the formation of co-enzymes involved in cellular respiration. It provides the energy that the body needs on daily basis.

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