THE SWEET TASTE OF “ABACHA” IGBO TRADITIONAL FOOD (African Salad) – CometoNigeria
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THE SWEET TASTE OF “ABACHA” IGBO TRADITIONAL FOOD (African Salad)

Enjoying Nigeria local cuisine is a must do for every visitor. Each state is well known for their particular traditional food which any visitor must not fail to enjoy and experience. This article is meant to be a food guide for travellers within Nigeria who intends to visit Enugu state.

Their native food is essential to Igbo culture. It aides in defining the Igbo people. Foods like Okpa, Abacha and Fufu is popularly consumed in this city. One needs to have a taste of these meals as a result of the fact that no journey is complete without experiencing the cuisine in the locations.

Firstly, Enugu people are best known for making ‘Abacha’ sometimes known by many Nigerians as African salad .This African dish is prepared with dry fish and many other local ingredients that make the food very tasty.

The meal is highly nutritious and widely prepared by other tribes, though very popular among the people of Enugu. With Enugu cuisine, you also find many varieties of food and soups as well as the local wines in which the most common is the palm wine.

The first thing that catches the eyes is a golden yellow colour interspersed with some green, brown and red colours not to mention the conspicuous position of the kpomo or fried fish or the smoked fish as it sits atop the mountain of food on the plate.

Abacha food is usually very spicy and a balanced meal on its own. It is a meal which originated from Achi  in Enugu state were the women created a perforated metallic device that is tiny to enable them slice cassava into tiny bits. It can be consumed while it is wet or sundried for later use .

It is a meal many especially those from Enugu state see as an appetizer because it is taken while waiting for the main meal to be ready, yet to others, it is a main course. However, Abacha have different names depending on peoples’ dialect. Though many people know it as Abacha and Nsisa, people of Awgu and Inyi call it Jigbo and Ncha  respectively.

It is a whole meal on its own as it contains all the major nutrients needed to nourish the body namely: carbohydrate, protein, fats and oil and vitamins. Just like humans, this meal has gone beyond the physical borders of its original state permeating all the States of the federation, gaining popularity and acceptance among other tribes. The intruigung thing is that, the once called local delicacy of a particular nationality is fast becoming a national staple going by the rate at which many now consume African Salad.

Ingredients

 
  1. 300 g Abacha (dried shredded cassava) 100g Ugba(Ukpaka)
  2. 200 ml Palm Oil 2 tablespoonful ground Crayfish
  3. 1 teaspoon ground Ehuru(calabash nutmeg)(optional)
  4. 1 level teaspoon ground Potash(akaun)
  5. 1 Stock cube/ powder(seasoning cube) 1 large or 2 small Onions
  6. to taste Chili Pepper/ any hot pepper (to taste) Salt
  7. 1 tablespoonful finely chopped Garden Egg leave.(You can use
  8. thinly sliced utazi leaves or spinach leaves as an alternative)
  9. Boiled Dried fish or Stockfish Kpomo or Kanda (cow skin)

Steps

First wash, season and cook the kpomo(slice the kpomo into tiny bits).  Soak the dry prawns in hot water to soften them a bit and strain. If you haven,t done this yet, also cut the fresh fish and fry.  Also shred the boiled dried fish / stock fish. Then set all aside for later use.

 
  1. Dissolve the ground akaun (potash) in about 3-4 tablespoonful of water and pass through a sieve to remove particles. Set the liquid aside for later use. Rinse the Ugba in lukewarm water, strain and set aside. Place the dry abacha in a bowl and soak in cold water for about 8 minutes until it goes from pure white color

     
  2. Another method is to pour hot boiling water over the dry abacha, stir well and leave to soak for 1-2 minutes.  Then pour the abacha into a sieve and let the water strain.

  3. Slice one onion bulb into rings, and dice or pound the other onion bulb. Now for the preparation….

    Pour the palm oil into a clean dry pot, add the potash liquid and mix until the color begins to chage from orange to yellow and the mixture becomes a thick paste. Add  the crayfish, pepper, diced/pounded onions, the ground ehuru(calabash nutmeg), ogiri and stock bube, mix thoroughly until well combined.

    Now, place the pot on low heat, add the strained abacha and adjust for salt if neccessary. Mix well and put off the heat as soon as the abacha is warmed up. Tip: don’t leave the abacha for too long on heat, or you’ll end up with ”Abacha pottage”.

    Then, add the ugba(ukpaka),chopped garden eggs, the cooked dried/stock fish(if using), softened large prawns, and the kpomo. Mix well until all the ingredients are well blended.

  4. You can choose to serve  the meal as it is, along with the accompaniments, but if you choose to go further and mix it all in one pot.

    Finally, add the sliced leaves, stir well and transfer to a serving plate.  Garnish the prepared Abacha ncha (African salad), with the onion rings and fried fish