What is a traditional wedding in Igbo land without abacha delicacy. Our grannies derived much joy in preparing abacha freely in every occasion such as traditional weddings, burial ceremonies, festivals and child dedications.
African salad popularly known by its Igbo name Abacha is one of the delicacies invented and eaten mostly by Igbo tribe from Eastern part of Nigeria. Made from cassava, the cassava tubers are peeled, cooked and then sliced or shredded with a tiny mesh grater. Afterwards the cassava is soaked in a river or warm water overnight, rinsed (5 times) thoroughly to remove the sticky starch and dried under the sun for two days.
Facts about Abacha (African Salad)
- Dried abacha ( jikpu) can last for 4 years if kept away from water or heat.
- Abacha can be fried, soaked or eaten like that as it comes in different types namely:
- Sliced Abacha (Akpumiri ) usually eaten with fried groundnuts or coconut. Spoils within days.
- Shredded Abacha ( jiakpu) used mostly by Anambra , Umunnechi people in Abia State to prepare Abacha salad. Last for years once dried in it’s natural form.
- Bold cut ( Awarawa) popularly used by Umuahia and aba people to prepare Abacha for business. Spoils or tastes sour within one week.
- Abacha are ceremonial foods even though it’s now sold in the market for profit.
Abacha is more expensive to prepare than average Nigerian jollof rice.
- Abacha is gradually becoming a household food in Nigeria as everybody now have access to buy or prepare it.
- Abacha is a balanced diet because of all the proteinous ingredients that it’s garnished with .
- Eating abacha late in the night causes stomach upset.
Abacha prepared with alkaline (akawu) can cause severe stomach upset for days.
- Abacha requires neat environment because it’s prepared without cooking.
- Abacha is not a poor man’s food because even the rich can’t do without it.
But we shall be talking about the main method of preparing the tasty abacha handed down to us from our ancestors.
Bucketful of Abacha
Palm oil meant for abacha (not all red oil accept abacha)
1 tea cup of Ngu liquid (thickner) gotten from palm head ash.
1/2 cup of ground Crayfish
1/2 Tablespoon ground Ehuru seed (Calabash Nutmeg)
4 stock cubes
Salt to taste .
Fried fish or fried chicken
Preparing Abacha seems easy but not all true because you have to add this and that at the right time to balance the taste.
Each ingredient have to follow the other other accordingly else the taste won’t blend or it might become watery.
Roast the Ehuru seed
Fry dry pepper till they turn dark brown and grind them differently.
Slice the garden egg , utazi or onions. Set aside.
Soak the Abacha with water sieve and set aside.
Add the grounded ehuru and pepper in a mortar or spacious bowl.
Add the palm oil for abacha
Pour the Ngu (thickner) in a sizeable bowl.
stir very well until it forms a yellowish paste.
Add the already soft abacha and stir.
Add ugba, stock cubes, Crayfish and whatever garnishing you feel like
Add the cooked Kpomo
Add salt and stir very well
Taste it first to ascertain if the taste is good before taking them out.
While in the plate, you can garnish and style to to your taste with fried fish , chicken onions, utazi , kpomo and Umimi.
Enjoy with chilled palm wine or any other drink.
Note: always add salt last to avoid watery abacha.