How to Make African Salad (Abacha and Ugba / ukpaka)

My mum came visiting with dried shredded cassava and all the ingredients used in preparing African salad (English name) commonly called Abacha.

The sight of Abacha takes me back the memory lane, stunning scenes of nature, clean air, hospitable men and women, and quiet existence – all these things come to my mind when I think of my village where the dried shredded cassava is produced.

There is something divine and mysterious surrounding the village that is charming. Am I alone in here? Or haven’t you noticed?

Picture of shredded cassava used in making African Salad
Picture of shredded cassava used in making African Salad

African Salad – How to Make Abacha Cassava

Abacha also called tapioca is made from cassava tubers (yuca in Spanish). The cassava tuber is peeled, boiled, shredded/grated,

The sliced cassava is thoroughly immersed in cold water overnight, washed very well and dried beneath the sun.

From where I come from (Anambra State), Abacha is made with ‘Ncha’, a sauce made from mixing palm oil and Ngu (Palm Fruit head/bunch burnt into ashes).

Hence the real name is “Abacha Ncha. Potash is commonly used as a substitute to Ngu these days as it is difficult to find.

Please Read: West African Cabbage Salad Recipe: Keto Low Carb Diet

Nigerians especially the Igbos are known for their traditional culture.

An aspect of this culture is to showcase on the type of food and appetizer they eat and serve on occasions or feast.

Abacha food is one of such foods/appetizer.

How to Prepare African Salad

There are lots of methods for preparing Abacha. Nevertheless, whichever method you opt to use, the Abacha food will still come out tasty.

If you are excited to cook this dish as I am, get ready and let’s start!

Abacha Salad Recipe (With Potash)

  • Abacha
  • Ugba (Ukpaka)
  • Palm oil
  • Powdered Potash
  • Dry/roasted/fried fish
  • Onion, chopped
  • Salt and dry pepper
  • Ground crayfish
  • Stock cubes
  • Ehu seeds (calabash nutmeg)

Optional African Salad Ingredients

  • Ogiri / Iru
  • Ponmo, cooked and sliced
  • Garden Eggs, diced
  • Garden Egg leaves/Utazi leaves/spinach leaves finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion (for serving), sliced
  • Onion rings to garnish the prepared Abacha.


  1. Firstly, cut the fresh fish and fry.
  2. Secondly, dissolve the akanwu (potash) in little water and sieve to remove particles, set aside
  3. Thirdly, rinse the Ugba in lukewarm water and set aside.
  4. Then, soak the Abacha in water for 30 minutes and subsequently drain out the water.
  5. After that, slice one onion into rings, and chop the other onion bulb.
  6. Lastly, grind some pepper.

Making the West African Salad

  • Firstly, warm the palm oil and allow it to cool before pouring it into a bowl or pot.
  • Secondly, gradually add the potash mixture into the palm oil, mix very well, you will notice that the palm oil will begin to thicken and turn yellowish.
  • Then, add the crayfish, chopped onions, ground pepper, ground ehuru (calabash nutmeg), ogiri, seasoning cube and mix very well
  • After that, add the Ugba (ukpaka), cut garden eggs, and mix well
  • Carefully, add the drained Abacha and salt to taste. Please note that it is important to add salt last because our Abacha may or may not need salt. Mix thoroughly.
  • Finally, add the shredded garden egg leaves, and mix thoroughly.
  • African salad dressing is done with onion rings and fried fresh fish.

How to Make African Salad without Potash or Akawu At Home

While schooling at Enugu state, I learned how to prepare Enugu African salad without potash.


  • Dried /fresh Abacha (4 to 5 hand full)
  • Ugba food packed with health benefits – 1 milk cup
  • Maggi cube – 2 cubes
  • Palm oil – 15 cl (1 milk cup)
  • Salt and fried pepper to taste
  • Garden egg leaves – 200 g
  • Crayfish – 100 g
  • Garden eggs for African salad dressing (big or small)
  • Fresh fish preferably mackerel (fried) – 400 g
  • Onions – 200 g (2 medium bulb)
  • Kpomo or Kanda (cow skin) – 200 g
  • Opkeyi (Locust beans-optional)
  • Stock fish (optional)
  • Ehu 3 seeds (optional)


  1. Firstly, wash the fish and kpomo into a clean pot, season lightly with salt, Maggi cube and onions.
  2. Secondly, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove fish and deep fry.
  3. Thirdly, soak the dried Abacha in boiled water and sieve immediately to avoid being too soft. Then keep aside. Skip if you are using fresh Abacha.
  4. Next, slice your onions, garden egg leaves and blend your crayfish, then set aside.
  5. In a pot or mortar add about 10 cl of red oil and then, add the blended crayfish, pepper, ground ehu, ugba to the mixture and stir.
  6. After that, add salt, Maggi cube, sliced kpomo, and Opkeyi
  7. Then add Abacha stir very well to incorporate all the ingredients. Put shredded garden egg leaves and onions to the mixture and stir very well
  8. Finally, garnish with sliced garden egg seed (if using big seed), and fried fish

Serve your African salad warm or cold with palm wine as an appetizer or main dish

Many People Tend To Ask:
  • History of African Salad

African Salad is a delicacy that got its origin from Nigeria, among the Igbos in the eastern part of Nigeria.

The dish is not cooked, which makes it nutritious as a salad but you have to apply caution when consuming because of the calorie content.

  • Is African Salad Fattening/Good For Weight Loss/ Is Abacha Healthy?

The ‘Abacha food’ is a dish made with a lot of ingredients all of which contain about….

340 calories! Just that small Abacha food serving! That’s right.  I am not saying you cannot eat it, but eat with caution. Apply wisdom!

  • Where to Buy Abacha in Lagos?

You can order Abacha food near me online delivery at the following places:

Natives Restaurant & Patio, Bukka Hut, Jevinik, Nwanyi Nnewi Restaurant, L’afric Restaurant and Bar to mention but a few.


African Salad Dressing
African Salad Dressing

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