African Salad (Abacha and Ugba)

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African salad (Abacha food) is a delicious west African food that is native to the Ndi Igbo (people of Igbo), the native taste is so distinctive making it palatable to be enjoyed by all tribes in Nigeria.

Whenever there is a wedding in any Igbo land, African salad is usually reserved for the special guest. It is mostly served with Palm wine, a local Nigerian drink, but you can also enjoy it with any chilled drink.

Abacha Food

Abacha is cassava that has been dried and shredded. It is made by cooking cassava tubers which is chopped with a special grater. Once they are done, the cassava slices are then soaked in cold water overnight, carefully rinsed, and dried in the sun.

It’s important to emphasize that this is not the main meal. Even though it can be as satisfying as any other main course meal, African Salad is typically consumed as a snack.

How To Make Abacha

The process of preparing this dish is a relatively easy one. You can follow the steps below, just make sure all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. There’s a lot of adding this, stir this, stir that, as you’ll see below.

You might question why you can’t just add everything and mix, but doing so will make getting nice blend of all the ingredients very difficult.
Ugba, a fermented African oil bean seed is an essential component of any African salad. Oil bean seeds are used to make Ugba, also known as Ukpaka. These seeds are boiled for many hours before being sliced, rinsed, and fermented.
Please keep in mind that Abacha and Ugba are neither a stovetop nor an oven-cooked dishes, so don’t try them.

What To Serve With Abacha

It can be served over;

  • Chilled palm wine ( for a more satisfying effect).
  • Soft drinks.
  • Beer won’t be a bad idea.

Find out how to make traditional Abacha with this easy-to-follow guide below for preparing this popular African salad just the way you like it.

African Salad (Abacha and Ugba)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes


  • 3 handfuls Abacha
  • 2 cups ugba (ukpaka)
  • 30 cl red palm oil
  • 2 tbsps powdered potash (food tenderizer)
  • Fish | Mackerel/Dry Fish/Stockfish
  • 1 large Onion
  • Salt and dry pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tbsps ground crayfish
  • 2 stock cubes (Maggi/Knorr)
  • 1 tsp ground Ehu seeds  (Calabash Nutmeg)

Other Seasoning You Can Add

  • 1 tsp Ogiri / Iru (traditional Nigerian spice)

Meat and Vegetables For Abacha

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


Before Preparation

  • Prepare the seeds by roasting, peeling, and grinding them with a dry mill.
  • If you will use Kanda (cow skin), cook, till done and cut into small pieces.
  • Depending on your choice of fish (you can also use all of them), fry or roast the mackerel, soak the stockfish in water, and debone the dry fish.
  • Wash and cut the vegetables into tiny pieces. Cut the big bulb of onion into tiny pieces and cut the medium one in circles.
  • Wash the garden eggs and set them aside, no need to cut these.
  • Grind the crayfish and pepper
  • Soak the Abacha in cold water and rinse the Ugba with lukewarm water.
  • Once the Abacha has softened, put it in a sieve to drain.
  • Put the powdered potash in a cup or bowl and pour about 1 cup of cold water.
  • Stir well and you are ready to start making the African Salad.


  • Pour the palm oil into a sizeable pot.
  • Yes, you need all that oil so that your Abacha will not have a dry feel in the mouth when done.
  • Pour the water from the potash mixture, making sure not to pour the sediments.
  • Stir very well and you'll see the oil turn into a yellow paste.
  • Add the ground pepper, ground Thu, crushed stock cubes, crayfish, diced onions, and ugba (ukpaka), then stir very well.
  • Please note that we are doing everything off the stove.
  • Add the iru/ogiri and make sure it is mixed very well.
  • Add the diced Kanda/pomo and stir very well.
  • Now add the soaked and drained Abacha and stir till it is well incorporated in the palm oil paste.
  • 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.
  • You must add salt last because after adding all that seasoning, your Abacha may not even need salt anymore.
  • I like my Abacha warm. If you like yours that way too, transfer to a stove at this point and heat it to your desired temperature at medium heat.
  • When done, turn off the heat and add the sliced garden egg leaves, stir very well and serve
  • If you like your Abacha cold, after step 6, add the sliced garden egg leaves, stir and serve with garden eggs, fish and onions.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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