Ugba also called Ugba salad is a delicious african delicacy originating from the South Eastern part of Nigeria. It is a type of in African salad originating from the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
This is made with fermented African oil bean seed mixed with aromatic African spices, and garnished with onions and vegetables, creating a delicious and flavorful dish. Seeing that you enjoy this African dish you should try Nkwobi and Ofe Ugba next!
Ugba salad is commonly eaten as a side dish or appetizer, and is known for its rich and savory taste. The specific ingredients used to make Ukpaka salad can vary, but it typically includes ingredients such as onions, peppers, ground crayfish, palm oil, salt, and other seasonings.
Table of Contents
What is Ugba (African oil bean seeds)
Ugba or Ukpaka is the traditional name for African oil bean seed which is the seed from the Pentaclethra macronutrient tree.
This tree leguminous and native to tropical Africa where it is also referred to as the ugba tree by the Igbos from South Eastern Nigeria. The seeds are encased inside a hard pod that contains about from 1 to 4 black seeds.
Ugba needs to be processed properly for safe consumption. To process them, the seeds are boiled, fermented for some days to remove potential toxins.
If you are wondering what Ugba is called in English, come closer! Ugba is called African Oil bean seed in English.
Why we love this recipe
Easy to prepare and packed full of flavor: this is a quick and delicious recipe anyone can prepare. It’s a beginner friendly that even non natives can learn to make.
Ugba is high in plant-based protein. It contains all essential amino acids and is rich in lysine and leucine. The fermentation increases the bioavailability of proteins and nutrients.
Versatility - Ugba can be eaten on its own, added to soups and stews, used as a flavoring, or mixed with vegetables and spices to make delicious salads. It's a very versatile ingredient in Igbo cuisine.
For those avoiding meat, ugba provides an excellent plant-based protein alternative without compromising on taste or texture.
- Red palm oil
- Baking soda
- Ground Cameroon pepper
- ground calabash nutmeg
- Bouillon powder
- Salt (optional)
- Ground crayfish
- Cooked stock fish or dry fish
- Dried prawns
How to make Ugba
This is an overview of the recipe with step by step photos. Scroll down to end of for a printable recipe card with the amount of ingredients and full recipe instructions.
Make the sauce
Mix water and potash or baking soda with water. Set it aside.
Pour the Palmoil to a clean dry pot, then add the baking soda / potash mix to the stirring constantly until it thickens.
Combine other ingredients
Add the salt / bouillon, pepper, ground calabash nutmeg, crayfish, Prawns, stock fish pieces (if using) stir it into the thickened Palm-oil.
Next mix in the Ugba and Abacha till well combined. Turn on the heat and warm it all up before serving. You can add a little water to make it slightly saucy when warming it up.
How to store
Store leftover salad in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To store let it cool completely then remove the sliced vegetables before storing. If you intend to make this ahead for later. Leave out the vegetable toppings. Add those when serving the salad.
To reheat. Pop into the microwave in a microwave safe dish and warm up at 30 secs intervals stirring in between till warmed through.
Suggested add ins and how to serve.
It’s usually topped with African garden egg slices, sliced vegetables (traditionally utazi) however I sometimes use spinach or kale.
Cucumber slices and onion slices also add a nice crunch to the salad. While Ugba is usually served on its own with the Above listed add ins, you can easily serve it with yam or roasted plantains (aka boli)
- Use properly fermented Ugba not fresh ones. You can read how to ferment Ugba and why you should.
- Good quality palm oil is mandatory because palm oil is the base for this recipe and will affect the final taste of the dish.
- Soak the Abacha in warm water to soften for a few minutes then drain before adding to the Ugba.
Ugba and Ukpaka are the same thing. The difference is in the dialect of the people. Some Igbos call it Ugba while others call it Ukpaka.
Ugba has a nutty flavor and a soft, chewy texture This makes it satisfying to eat.
Ugba is vary versatile and can be used in many dishes like ugba sauce for boiled yams and plantains, you can add Ugba to soups like the Ofe Ugba, Ugba can be added to vegetable yam porridge or to plantain porridge.
You can find packaged ugba in African/Nigerian specialty grocery stores either refrigerated or frozen.
Unlike salads from the western world, that requires a dressing when eating the salad, The salad is dressing in this case is the palm oil based Ugba sauce in which all the ingredients are mixed in.
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Ugba salad (Ukpaka)
- 1 cup palm oil
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 Tablespoons Water
- 2 teaspoons Ground Cameroon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground calabash nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons bouillon powder
- Salt optional
- ¼ cup Ground crayfish
- ½ lb Stock fish or African dry fish (Stock should be weighed when cooked)
- ½ cup dried prawns (Soaked to soften)
- 2 lbs about 900g Ugba
- Salt to taste
- 1 Medium Red onion (sliced)
- 1 Medium Cucumber sliced
- 4 medium African garden eggs (sliced or cubed)
Make the sauce
- Mix baking soda or potash with water
- Add the baking soda mix to the palm oil. Stir till it thickens and becomes a lighter orange.
Combine the other ingredients
- Add the Cameroon pepper, Bouillon ground calabash nutmeg and crayfish.
- Next add the cooked stock fish or softened dry fish or dry prawns. Stir to combine.
- Add the Ugba stir to combine, turn on the heat add about 2 tablespoons of water and let it simmer on low heat till warmed through.
- The salt is optional if you follow this recipe because the bouillon powder sufficed in my opinion. I recommend you taste it first then adjust for salt as needed.
- You can substitute the stock fish for one dry fish. Soak the dry fish in hot water for 30 minutes then clean before use.
- While you can use any protein of choice in this recipe including fried beef or Pomo you can also leave it out all forms of animal protein completely to make it plant based or pescatarian.