Abacha (The African Salad): Origin and Health Benefits

Abacha (The African Salad): Origin and Health Benefits

Here is one amazing delicacy you would love to try out Abacha (The African Salad): Origin and Health Benefits Sometimes you crave for something different and it has a lot of health benefits.

Abacha also known as Abacha Ncha and Ugba is a dish from the Eastern Region of Nigeria. It is an African delicacy of the Igbo tribe in Nigeria. It is loved by all for its combination of different food ingredients known to be rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrate. It contains a lot of fresh and raw vegetables. Also, it is of African origin and that is why it is referred to as The African Salad. It can be eaten on its own or with snacks like groundnut and coconut.

Though it can be eaten as a main course meal, it is usually eaten as a side dish to various other recipes like rice and yam. The African Salad is also eaten as a special delicacy during traditional festivals in and out of Nigeria. I especially love this dish because it can be prepared according to one’s taste and with what is available at home.

The Amazing Health Benefits of Abacha, The African Salad

  1. It is very nutritious and very healthy.
  2.  It is full of rich minerals like Calcium, Vitamin A and C, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium and many others.
  3.   It also contains protein and crude fibre because of the addition of fish.
  4. A meal of well-prepared African salad has been known to help prevent and/or treat poor eye sight, obesity, heart diseases and various other microbial infections including colon cancer.
  5.  It is also highly nutritious and is fit to be eaten by all age groups. It protects the bone from damages, aids digestion, boosts blood circulation and production in the body. It is also an antioxidant.

Today, we would be cooking our favourite Abacha with two methods. The first one has potash (which is called Kaun by the yorubas) while the second one is without potash

The Recipe with potash

  • Six to seven (6-7) cups dry cassava flakes
  • Half (1/2) cup palm oil
  • Two (2) cooking spoons potash water
  • One (1) cup ugba also called African oil bean seed
  • One (1) onion bulb (chopped)
  • Three (3) scotch bonnet pepper (atarodo)
  • Two (2) seasoning cubes of your choice
  • One (1) tsp ground crayfish
  • Half (1/2) tsp ground pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Utazi leaves
  • Any protein of your choice

Transfer the dry cassava into a bowl and pour some boiling water on it. Ensure it is totally submerged. Leave to soak for about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, dissolve the potash in some water and set aside. In a medium pot, add the palm oil and 2 cooking spoons of the potash liquid and stir.

Add the ukpa, some chopped onions, the scotch bonnet pepper, seasoning cubes, crayfish powder, ground pepper and some salt to taste. Give it a good stir to combine all the ingredients. After 1 minute, add the cassava, your choice of protein and stir till every strand of cassava is covered with the sauce. Cover the pot and cook on low heat for about 2 to 3 minutes. For garnishing, use freshly chopped utazi leaves and onions.

The Recipe without Potash

  • Six to Seven (6-7) cups dry cassava
  • One (1) mackerel fish (grilled)
  • One (1) onion bulb (chopped)
  • Half (1/2) palm oil
  • Half (1/2) tsp cameroun pepper
  • One (1) tsp ground crayfish
  • Salt to taste
  • One (1) seasoning cube
  • Ehuru seed (also known as calabash nutmeg)

Put your cassava flakes in a bowl with hot water and let it soak a little. Pour your palm oil in a heated pot. When the oil is hot, add in your chopped onions and one seasoning cube. Fry till the onions become translucent.  Sieve the soaked cassava and transfer it into a mixing bowl. Next, add in the ground ehuru seed, pepper, salt, crayfish and seasoning cube. Pour your palm oil and fried onions mixture in the bowl and give it a good stir. Since its not on fire, you can either use your hand or your wooden spatula. Stir till every strand is coated. Serve and garnish with some utazi leaves, fresh onions and garden eggs.

Can Abacha be eaten by pregnant women?

Pregnant women can eat the recipe of Abacha that does not have potash. Potash is from limestone and research has shown that limestone could cause miscarriage. So it’s best to stay away from potash during pregnancy.

The Side effects of Abacha

Abacha, The African Salad does not have any side effects. It can only be hazardous to the health if it was contaminated during preparation.

Abacha and Weight loss

Most people believe that because Abacha contains some fresh and cooked vegetables, it can help with weight loss. This is wrong because it also contains high fiber. So, it does not help with weight loss.

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