Nigeria – Abacha and Ugba

By Verdzekov Bernard


This meal am about to write on is also called African salad. From its out look, someone will think it is salad. Abacha is prepared from casava. it is cooked well first, then grated and then sun dried. Abacha is a meal prepared and valued by the Nigerians, mainly by those from the eastern part of Nigeria. This meal contains a local ingredient that serves as one of abacha cuisine main components. Before this ingredient is used, it has to be processed before used for cooking. This ingredient is called Ugba.

Ugba is fermented oil bean seeds. This is usually fermented before used for cooking.  If you are preparing a particular cuisine using ugba, make sure you check it is fermented, if not make sure you make it ferment. This is because, it seems unfermented ugba or rather African oil beans seeds contains traces of poisonous alkaloid known as Paucine and some of caffeoyl-putrescine. This are poisonous substances you need to ferment to get reed of them. After fermenting, you can use for cooking. 

Also, fermented ugba will taste better. This oil beans seed above all, is nutritional. This oil bean seed is common in eastern Nigeria cuisines. Though may be prepared in other parts of Nigeria, but the eastern part of Nigeria is likely to top when it comes to the use of this seeds. Before getting to the fermented stage, the African oil seeds are cooked for like 12hrs then sliced, washed and fermented for up to 5 days.

To ferment the oil beans seed, after slicing, put in a bowl with an open lid. Sprinkle salt on it, and mix well. cover the bowl with its lid and keep in a warm environment for like 5 days for perfect fermentation. After the fermentation, how you could know oil bean seeds have been fermented well is that, the color changes from grey to dark brown. After it is fermented, you could save in the freezer until when it is needed.

I could have just gone right ahead to write about this cuisine without writing on this fermenting process. But it is good to know such so that you can go ahead to do it by yourself if you don’t have means to get the fermented ugba from the market or from Nigeria. 

Ingredients

  • Onions
  • Ugba
  • Dried shredded cassava (Abacha)
  • Palm oil 
  • 1 Table spoon chopped garden egg leave
  • Fish
  • Salt to taste
  • Crayfish 
  • Maggi 
  • Potash 

Process

  • Abacha is a traditional name for dried shredded cassava. 
  • Stand your pot in water and boil. Put the abacha in water to soften it. 
  • Drain the water and keep aside.
  • Cut your fish and wash bile out. Fry and keep aside.
  • Put your potash in water so that it dissolves, drain so that you separate dirt, set the liquid aside.
  • Rinse your ugba and set aside.
  • Slice your onion bulb into rings, then you may slice another and blend for the cooking.
  • Pour your palm oil into a cooking pot
  • Add the potash liquid and stir until the oil becomes yellow.
  • Add your crayfish, pepper blende/or pounded onions, add your curry powder, salt to taste. Mix well and stand pot on fire but under low heat.
  • Add abacha and stir well. Add your maggi and stir. Add your fried fish and stir.
  • Observe, when the abacha is heated up, remove immediately from heat. 
  • For garnishing, that is if you want, add the sliced onions rings and chopped garden egg leaves. 

Enjoy…

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