African salad, also known as abacha, is a west African delicacy. It is eaten by all Nigerians, but especially the Igbo people. The dish is delicious when combined with pepper, eggplant sauce, and ponmo.
- Abacha (shredded dried cassava)
- Fresh fish
- Ponmo (cow skin)
- Edible potash (akaun)
- Palm oil
- Ground crayfish powder
- Ground pepper
- Ground ehu seeds
- Ground ogiri or iru
- 1 onion, diced
- Garden egg, washed
- Utazi leaves, chopped
- 1 onion, sliced into rings
- Soak the dried abacha in warm water for 40 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Season and fry the fish.
- Season and boil the ponmo until soft.
- Pour the potash into a cup with warm water, and stir well. Strain out the potash residue.
- Heat the palm oil in a pot, add the strained potash mixture, and stir until the palm oil turns into a yellow paste.
- Add the crayfish powder, pepper, ground ehu, ukpaka, iru/ogiri, diced onions, and seasoning to taste. Stir the mixture well.
- Add the soaked abacha into the mixture, and stir well.
- Garnish with the fried fish, ponmo, garden eggs, sliced utazi (use sparingly), garden egg leaves, and onions rings.
When preparing Abacha, the more ingredients used, the tastier and more "complete" the dish will be:
- 3 handfuls abacha (shredded dried cassava)
- 2 cups ugba (ukpaka)
- 30 cl red palm oil
- 2 tablespoons powdered edible potash (food tenderizer)
- 2 teaspoons ground Ehu seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)
- Habanero pepper, to taste
- 4 tablespoons ground crayfish
- 2 stock cubes (preferably Knorr brand), crushed
- 2 onions, diced
- Ogiri (castor seed paste)
- Other meat and vegetables for the Abacha
- Fish (mackerel/dryfish/stockfish)
- Ponmo/kanda (cow skin)
- 3 fresh utazi leaves
- Salt, to taste
- Garden eggs (white eggplant)
- Garden egg leaves
- Soak the shredded abacha in cold water for 10 minutes until it softens. Pour boiling water over it and drain.
- Rinse the ugba with warm water.
- Dissolve the potash in water and sieve out any residual solids.
- Stir the potash water with the palm oil in a pot until it forms a yellowish paste. Place on the heat, and stir in the ground ehu, pepper, crayfish, and seasoning.
- Stir in the crushed stock cubes, diced onions, and ugba. Take off the heat.
- Mix in the ogiri, then add meat and fish if using.
- Mix in the abacha, allowing the ingredients to blend.
- Add sliced utazi and salt to taste.
- Garnish with chopped garden egg leaves and sliced onions.
Notes, tips, and variationsEdit
- Abacha is made by boiling and grating/shredding cassava tubers.
- Ukpaka or ugba is shredded oil bean seeds. It is optional, and if not added it won't affect the end result.
- Red palm oil must be used when preparing abacha.
- If garden egg leaves are not available, baby spinach leaves are a good alternative.
- At least one type of fish must be used in preparing abacha. You can use stockfish, dryfish (e.g. catfish, mangala), fried mackerel, and/or smoked fish.
- Crayfish much be added.
- Pepper must be used—you can either add habanero pepper (recommended) or dry cayenne pepper. Habanero pepper is atarodo, atarugu or ose oyibo. Black pepper is not a good fit for abacha.
- Add ogiri for the classic traditional taste, but if not available you should add stock cubes.
- Edible potash (akanwu, kaun, keun) is what makes palm oil curdle and it is a must. If you do not have it or you do not want to eat edible potash, baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) has similar properties.
- Be careful when adding salt, since the dish contains lots of ingredients that already have salt (stockfish, stock cubes, crayfish, etc.)