If you are in quest of a new type of dish or food recipe, relax because you are on the right page and I’ve got just the right dish for you. Abacha salad is an African distinctive dish prepared basically from cassava tubers. This dish is very popular in the Igbo (Ibo) region of the African continent and it is so irresistible due to its delicious, mouthwatering and aromatic taste.
I prepared this abacha salad dish because I was craving for something different from my usual meals and as you can attest from the look of the dish that it is a dish that is worth preparing and enjoying.
Cassava, botanically known as Manihot esculenta with names like Brazilian arrowroot and tapioca is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. Cassava originated from South America and it is a major annual crop cultivated mainly in the tropical and subtropical regions because of its edible starchy root.
Spanish refer to cassava as yuca and the dried powdery extract is known as tapioca. Moreover, the fermented flaky version of cassava is referred to as gari and different countries have different names for cassava.
Cassava is a major staple food for over half a billion people especially in the developing countries. Studies report that Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of dried cassava while Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava.
Nutritional Values of Cassava
Cassava is an excellent source of carbohydrate,riboflavin, calcium,amylose, thiamine, nicotinic acid, amylopectin and vitamin C.
I’ve got all the required ingredients for making this abacha so I grabbed a pack of already dried preserved abacha and thought it good enough for me, coupled with the fact that I love the colourful outcome of it, it is just so amazing!
Prepared with some delectable local spices such as ogiri ugba (upkaka made from oil bean seeds), ehu, iru, akanwu (potash) and mmanu nri (palm oil), this abacha salad is just a perfect side dish for the entire family, friends and visitors. It is also customary in the Igbo culture to serve this dish during festivals and the people ever enjoy it. Bet me, you can never go wrong with this palatable delicacy!
You might wonder what or where abacha is derived from but the answer is not just far from you at all. Abacha is prepared from cassava after undergoing certain processes that get rid of the acidic contents in the cassava.
Abacha is processed from cassava by cooking the cassava until properly done. This is followed by peeling the tubers and it is noteworthy that the cassava must be peeled as the peels contain high amount of cyanide than the pulp. Thus removal of the peels greatly reduces the cyanogenic glucoside content of the cassava.
Then the cassava is sliced or grated with a grater after which the cassava is soaked in water overnight. The reason for soaking the cassava overnight is to reduce its toxicity level and improve its taste.
In the morning, the cassava is then washed thoroughly, sieved and spread under sunlight to get dried. Once the cassava (abacha) has been sun-dried, it has to be stored in a dry environment and it can last for months or possibly up to a year if preserved well.
The first step to preparing abacha salad is to firstly soak the abacha in hot water for few minutes and then pour into a sieve to drain. Don’t allow the abacha to get too softened as this will reduce the quality and the palatable taste you so desire for.
Add the powdered potash (akanwu) in a mortar or bowl and pour few drops of lukewarm water to get the potash properly dissolved. It is noteworthy that the quantity of water added to the potash should be proportionate to the quantity of abacha paste (abacha ncha) you want to make.
Once the potash has been dissolved, add the palm oil and then mix thoroughly to form a soft paste. At this stage, you can then add the ogiri ugba, iru, powdered ehu, grinded crayfish, grinded pepper, maggi cubes and salt to taste.
For the Westerners that want to try out this dish, I suggest you visit an African shop where you can get the required ingredients with ease.
Although I enjoy garnishing my abacha salad with sliced tomatoes, ukpaka and thickly sliced onions, this particular recipe is just an exception and I couldn’t have asked for more ingredients because the dish was just on point.
Besides, eating the abacha with some bites of fried fish is just a perfect combination you can ever dream of. This dish goes very well with a bottle of palm wine (emu), palm juice, soft drinks or with a glass of juice.