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6 Abacha (African Salad) Variations You Should Try

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An Abacha recipe with rich garnishing

African salad popular as Abacha with rich garnishing (Photo credit: Daily Fresh Eat)

To date, salad is an elite dish that often makes an appearance only on special occasions. Africans have their own type of salad which enjoys the same privilege. However, it is nothing like the English salad that most of us are used to. Like English salad, the majority of the ingredients of African salad are raw. These include vegetables, pepper, onions, and so on. Sometimes it also includes fruits. At African Vibes, we are all about twisting and turning up the norms. Come with us on this journey to discover exciting African salad variations.

How popular is the African salad?

The African salad is also known as Abacha. Although native to West Africa, it is a favorite dish in different parts of the continent. Abacha originated from the Igbo tribe in southeastern, Nigeria. It is made by boiling cassava tubers, slicing, soaking overnight in cold water, washing, and drying them thoroughly in the sun. This lengthy process creates the base of this tasty food.

The preparation process is quite simple. If you have access to fresh cassava tubers, the first step is to boil the tubers for twenty minutes. Next, peel off the outer brown layer. Cut it into small bits before slicing it and soaking it in water for about 18 hours. After soaking, thoroughly wash the cassava and place it in the sun to dry completely. Store the dried cassava in a container, ready for the preparation of the African salad. However, if you don’t have the time to prepare your cassava grates, you can get already-prepared and dried grates from the local market.

What is Abacha called in English?

In English, Abacha is known as tapioca. Tapioca is a starch that is extracted from cassava roots. This species is native to Brazil but traveled through entire southern America. While it is called African salad, it is predominantly consumed in Nigeria.

Fun fact: cassava was carried by Portuguese and Spanish explorers during their expeditions. That is how cassava came to find its way into Africa. The Portuguese introduced the cassava to Nigeria. In eastern Nigeria, you will find it cultivated by the Igbos. They use it to make this wonderful dish, the African salad.

Is Abacha healthy?

Abacha is a healthy food, especially because of the accompanying ingredients. Of course, before eating or serving your family a particular meal, you have to ensure that it is healthy. The health benefits are what make us try out different meals and diets. Very few foods can boast of Abacha’s level of nutrition. You can enjoy Abacha with potash. This is a type of salt that is good and healthy for pregnant women and growing kids. However, since its base is from cassava, you have to watch your consumption because of the high carbohydrate content.

What is the side effect of the African salad?

Firstly, it is very easy to get cholera from contaminated Abacha because of the handy preparation process. This is especially true if you are doing it yourself. You need to wash the cassava thoroughly to avoid contamination of any sort. Contamination due to unhygienic handling during preparation can lead to stomach upsets and vomiting. Secondly, Abacha is high in calories. Foods with that many calories may lead to excessive weight gain. Therefore, it is advisable to watch your intake while counting calories for those struggling with weight.

Also, it may shock you to know that some species of cassava have high cyanide content (cryogenic glycosides). Cyanide is a neurotoxin with potentially adverse effects. Thankfully, proper preparation—particularly fermentation—can help to eliminate cyanide. This is because cassava contains an enzyme called linamarase that can degrade cyanide. Therefore, it is important to make sure you are buying properly processed tapioca for your Abacha. The poisoning only occurs when you eat cassava that has not been washed and dried properly.

6 Abacha (African Salad) Variations You Should Try

#1. Abacha Ncha, African Salad by The Pretend Chef

Abacha, also called African Salad, jigbo, is made from processed shredded cassava tuber. It is a popular dish from the eastern part of Nigeria. Abacha Ncha, African Salad is served as a snack or main meal to visitors at home, weddings, or parties and besides the Nigerian jollof rice, Abacha is arguably the next best dish out of Nigeria.

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Abacha Ncha, African Salad

Yields1 Serving
Prep Time30 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time40 mins

The dish Abacha, an African salad, derives its name from the unprepared ingredient which is sold wet or dehydrated (dry) already processed. I used to do the processing myself but it is so tedious, the peeling, boiling, slicing or grating, soaking, etc, you are better off buying the already processed one.

 150 g dry abacha
 ¼ cup Palm oil
 4 tsp potash water (1 tablespoon potash powder to 4 tablespoons water)
 1 tbsp ground crayfish
 5 ½ tsp ground ehuru(about 3 medium seeds)
 fresh anala leaves (garden egg leaves)
 garden egg
 frozen mackerel(icefish)
 onions

Ingredients

 150 g dry abacha
 ¼ cup Palm oil
 4 tsp potash water (1 tablespoon potash powder to 4 tablespoons water)
 1 tbsp ground crayfish
 5 ½ tsp ground ehuru(about 3 medium seeds)
 fresh anala leaves (garden egg leaves)
 garden egg
 frozen mackerel(icefish)
 onions
Abacha Ncha, African Salad by The Pretend Chef

#2. Stir-Fried Abacha – African Salad by Dee’s Mealz

Abacha is made using fresh Cassava tubers. It is a popular native recipe of the Igbo people both in and out of Nigeria.

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Stir Fried Abacha - African Salad by Dee's Mealz

Yields6 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time35 mins

 4 handful of AbachaAbacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 4 pieces of chili pepper
 1 handful Ugba Ugba is the Igbo name for the fermented African OIlbean seeds (Pentaclethra macrophylla, Benth). It is called Ukana by the Efiks in Southern Nigeria.
 1 tsp OgiriOgiri is a flavoring made of fermented oil seeds, such as sesame seed, Castor seeds or egusi seeds. The process and product are similar to iru or douchi. Its smell is like cheese, miso, or stinky tofu. Ogiri is best known in West Africa. It is popular among the Igbo people of Nigeria.
 1 large Kpomo (cow skin)
 200 ml Palm oil
 Salt
For Garnishing
 1 Fresh tomato
 1 medium size onion
 3 garden eggs
 Fried fish

Stir Fried Abacha - African Salad by Dee's Mealz

 Stir Fried Abacha - African Salad by Dee's Mealz

 

Ingredients

 4 handful of AbachaAbacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 4 pieces of chili pepper
 1 handful Ugba Ugba is the Igbo name for the fermented African OIlbean seeds (Pentaclethra macrophylla, Benth). It is called Ukana by the Efiks in Southern Nigeria.
 1 tsp OgiriOgiri is a flavoring made of fermented oil seeds, such as sesame seed, Castor seeds or egusi seeds. The process and product are similar to iru or douchi. Its smell is like cheese, miso, or stinky tofu. Ogiri is best known in West Africa. It is popular among the Igbo people of Nigeria.
 1 large Kpomo (cow skin)
 200 ml Palm oil
 Salt
For Garnishing
 1 Fresh tomato
 1 medium size onion
 3 garden eggs
 Fried fish
Stir Fried Abacha – African Salad by Dee’s Mealz

#3. Delicious African Salad Abacha by dFoodplace

 

Abacha is dish made from cassava which is a great source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre. This is a spicy and delicious salad, perfect for any time of the day. Enjoy with some fish, garden egg and greens.

RatingDifficultyBeginner

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Yields8 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time5 minsTotal Time30 mins

 1 ½ pack Abacha Abacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 UgbaUgba is the Igbo name for the fermented African OIlbean seeds (Pentaclethra macrophylla, Benth). It is called Ukana by the Efiks in Southern Nigeria.
 1 tbsp Akaun (dissolved in water)Some Nigerian tribes call it akaun, some call it ikaun while some others call it kaun. The English name however is, Potash. It is a general name for minerals or inorganic compounds that contain potassium. It is made from the ashes of burnt wood in iron pot. The name was derived from the process “pot-ash
  Dried or Smoked fish (of your choice)
 Fried beef and cowskin ( cut in peppersoup size)
 3 Maggi for seasoning
 Salt to taste
 Habanero pepper
 Okazi leaves (about a handful), some use Utazi as well.Okazi/Ukazi/Afang Leaf(Gnetum Africanum) is used for cooking Afang soup and Okazi/Ukazi Soup. The leaves are tough(hard) and glossy and looks more like the leaves of an orange tree. It doesn't really have a distinctive smell, but it has a slightly bitter taste.

Delicious African Salad Abacha by dFoodplace

Delicious African Salad Abacha by dFoodplace

Ingredients

 1 ½ pack Abacha Abacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 UgbaUgba is the Igbo name for the fermented African OIlbean seeds (Pentaclethra macrophylla, Benth). It is called Ukana by the Efiks in Southern Nigeria.
 1 tbsp Akaun (dissolved in water)Some Nigerian tribes call it akaun, some call it ikaun while some others call it kaun. The English name however is, Potash. It is a general name for minerals or inorganic compounds that contain potassium. It is made from the ashes of burnt wood in iron pot. The name was derived from the process “pot-ash
  Dried or Smoked fish (of your choice)
 Fried beef and cowskin ( cut in peppersoup size)
 3 Maggi for seasoning
 Salt to taste
 Habanero pepper
 Okazi leaves (about a handful), some use Utazi as well.Okazi/Ukazi/Afang Leaf(Gnetum Africanum) is used for cooking Afang soup and Okazi/Ukazi Soup. The leaves are tough(hard) and glossy and looks more like the leaves of an orange tree. It doesn't really have a distinctive smell, but it has a slightly bitter taste.
Delicious African Salad Abacha by dFoodplace

#4. 5 Ingredient African Salad Abacha by All Nigerian Recipes

This version of African Salad Abacha is very easy to make. It's an Igbo recipe that requires lots of ingredients, however, with only 5 ingredients we can make it so delicious that you and your loved ones will enjoy in minutes.  It is basically prepared with cassava.

Enjoy your Abacha with chilled palm wine for the full effects.

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5 Ingredient African Salad Abacha by All Nigerian Recipes 1

Yields6 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time20 minsTotal Time45 mins

 AbachaAbacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 Salt
 Water
The 5 ingredients:
 1 Red Onion
 Onions
 Smoked fish
 Garden Egg Leaves (altenative spinach)

Nigerian Puff Puff by Sisi Jemimah

5 Ingredient African Salad Abacha by All Nigerian Recipes

Ingredients

 AbachaAbacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 Salt
 Water
The 5 ingredients:
 1 Red Onion
 Onions
 Smoked fish
 Garden Egg Leaves (altenative spinach)
5 Ingredient African Salad Abacha by All Nigerian Recipes

#5. Quick and Easy African Salad Abacha by Zeelicious

Abacha is  the delicacy of the people of Enugu  – a welcome dish called Abacha (African Salad). Abacha is basically dried shredded cassava mixed with palm oil and other condiments.

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How to Make African Salad (Abacha) - ZEELICIOUS FOODS

Yields2 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time10 minsTotal Time35 mins

 7 cups wet abachaAbacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 ½ cup palm oil
 2 cooking spoons potash water
 1 cup ugba/ukpaka/african oil bean seedUgba is the Igbo name for the fermented African OIlbean seeds (Pentaclethra macrophylla, Benth). It is called Ukana by the Efiks in Southern Nigeria.
 1 onion bulb
 3 scotch bonnet peppers (atarodo)
 2 seasoning cubes
 ½ tbsp crayfish
 ½ tbsp ground pepper
 Salt to taste
 Utazi leavesGangronema latifolium (Utazi) are local leaves, which are widely used in Nigerian dishes. It is slightly bitter taste.
 Garden eggs
 Smoked fish

Quick And Easy African Salad Abacha by Zeelicious

Quick And Easy African Salad Abacha by Zeelicious

Ingredients

 7 cups wet abachaAbacha (the ingredient) is made 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.
 ½ cup palm oil
 2 cooking spoons potash water
 1 cup ugba/ukpaka/african oil bean seedUgba is the Igbo name for the fermented African OIlbean seeds (Pentaclethra macrophylla, Benth). It is called Ukana by the Efiks in Southern Nigeria.
 1 onion bulb
 3 scotch bonnet peppers (atarodo)
 2 seasoning cubes
 ½ tbsp crayfish
 ½ tbsp ground pepper
 Salt to taste
 Utazi leavesGangronema latifolium (Utazi) are local leaves, which are widely used in Nigerian dishes. It is slightly bitter taste.
 Garden eggs
 Smoked fish
Quick And Easy African Salad Abacha by Zeelicious

#6. African Salad – Abacha Ncha and Ugba/Ukpaka by Nigerian Food TV

 

African Salad, also known as Abacha Ncha is one of the most popular eastern Nigeria side dishes.

It is made with dried shredded cassava(Abacha) and fermented oil bean seeds(Ugba or Ukpaka). This dish is so yummy and that you can add a variety of tasty garnishes, to suit your palate.

RatingDifficultyIntermediate

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Yields4 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time25 minsTotal Time50 mins

 300 g Abacha (dried shredded cassava)
 100 g Ugba(Ukpaka), sliced
 200 ml Palm Oil
 1 tsp ground Iru /Ogiri(fermented locust bean seeds) (optional)
 1 tsp ground Potash(akaun)
 1 Stock cube/ powder(seasoning cube)
 1 large or 2 small Onion bulbs
 Chili Pepper/ any hot pepper (to taste)
 Salt to taste Garnishes/Accompaniments
 Large dry prawns
 4 big Garden eggs(or 2 large Egg plants if you live outside Nigeria)
 1 tbsp finely chopped Garden Egg leaves(You can use thinly sliced utazi leaves or spinach leaves as an alternative)
 Boiled Dried fish or Stockfish
 Kpomo or Kanda (cow skin)
 Fried Fish(preferably Mackerel/Titus Fish)
 Onion slices–Choose any or combine garnishes to your preference–

African Salad - Abacha Ncha and Ugba/Ukpaka by Nigerian Food TV

African Salad - Abacha Ncha and Ugba/Ukpaka by Nigerian Food TV

Ingredients

 300 g Abacha (dried shredded cassava)
 100 g Ugba(Ukpaka), sliced
 200 ml Palm Oil
 1 tsp ground Iru /Ogiri(fermented locust bean seeds) (optional)
 1 tsp ground Potash(akaun)
 1 Stock cube/ powder(seasoning cube)
 1 large or 2 small Onion bulbs
 Chili Pepper/ any hot pepper (to taste)
 Salt to taste Garnishes/Accompaniments
 Large dry prawns
 4 big Garden eggs(or 2 large Egg plants if you live outside Nigeria)
 1 tbsp finely chopped Garden Egg leaves(You can use thinly sliced utazi leaves or spinach leaves as an alternative)
 Boiled Dried fish or Stockfish
 Kpomo or Kanda (cow skin)
 Fried Fish(preferably Mackerel/Titus Fish)
 Onion slices–Choose any or combine garnishes to your preference–
African Salad – Abacha Ncha and Ugba/Ukpaka by Nigerian Food TV

Conclusion

It is funny how cassava is now more widely consumed in Africa than in the place it originated from. Each ethnic community has a special way that they cook it. The African salad contains some vital micronutrients such as sodium, calcium, potassium, and iron. In itself, Abacha is a wholesome meal. However, it is advisable to eat it with other foods for a healthier balance.

Abacha is a great serving in the Eastern part of Nigeria during coronations, marriages, and festivals. Igbos love Abacha as a delicacy during these ceremonies. Interestingly, many of the consumers of this elite meal are oblivious of its health benefits. Due to the high fiber content of cassava, it is good for digestive health.

If you are native to West Africa and have not had a chance to eat Abacha, you are missing out on a lifetime of delicious and healthy food. Abacha is relatively easy to prepare and the ingredients are not expensive. As Africans, we are lucky to have delicious delicacies that enable us to live long and strong. With these variations, you can keep your serving fresh and leave your family guessing. Have you tried African salad (Abacha) before? How would you describe it in one word? Leave your comment below.

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