Ingredients for Ugba
3 handfuls ugba (ukpaka)
½ cup red palm oil
1 habanero pepper (atarodo, ose oyibo)
1 teaspoon powdered edible potash (alternative: baking soda)
1 big stock cube
½ teaspoon ogiri Igbo
2 big pieces of ponmo (cow skin)
1 big cut stockfish
1 handful crayfish or 2 tablespoons ground crayfish
10 medium crayfish
Salt (to taste)
1 red onion
1 small bunch of garden egg leaves (akwúkwó añara)
1 chunk of stockfish or dry fish (optional)
Notes on the ingredients
Ugba (also known as Ukpaka in some Igbo dialects) is oil bean seed. It is cooked for long hours and shredded before use in Nigerian meals. You will often see it used in preparing Ugba the meal detailed on this page, in some parts of Igboland it is added to Isi Ewu and it is a major ingredient in Abacha (African Salad).
Powdered edible potash is used to make the red palm oil curdle. The recipe for Ugba requires the red palm oil to be in that state. Baking soda, which I used in the video below is the perfect alternative to edible potash. Watch it in action in the video.
Please note that the medium crayfish stated in the list of ingredients is not oporo (large dried prawns). By medium crayfish I mean when you buy crayfish, you have some that are quite big but not as big as oporo. I usually pick these out and keep them for preparing Ugba.
Ogiri Igbo is a very traditional Igbo seasoning made from castor seeds. If you do not have it, skip it.
Ponmo is cow skin. Raw cowskin is burnt to remove the hair to get the ponmo. If you do not have ponmo, use cow tripe (shaki).
Stockfish is dried cod fish. If you do not have it, smoked mackerel (smoked fish) is the next best thing for this Ugba recipe.
Before you prepare Ugba
Rinse the ugba/ukpaka and place in a sieve to drain.
Cook the stockfish and ponmo with the stock cube till done. Take them off from the pot. If the stock from cooking them is too much, keep boiling till most of it has evaporated and you have about a quarter cup of stock. If using smoked fish to replace stockfish, do not cook it, just break into small pieces with your fingers and add in Step 4 in the preparation directions.
When the stockfish and ponmo have cooled down, cut them into small pieces (see video) and set aside. If you want to serve the Ugba with a lump of stockfish, remember to cook that one with the first one but do not break it into pieces.
Dissolve the edible potash or baking soda in half cup of cool water and set aside. If using edible potash, stir very well and pass the mixture through a fine sieve and set the resulting liquid aside.
Cut the habanero peppers (atarodo, ose oyibo) into tiny pieces.
Break up the medium crayfish into small pieces with your fingers.
Grind or pound the normal crayfish if you do not have already ground ones.
Cut the red onion into rings and set aside. This is for garnish.
Rinse and slice the garden egg leaves. This is also for garnish.
Directions for preparing the Ugba
Pour the palm oil in a pot. This is done off the stove. But if you need to melt the red palm oil, you can melt it and take off the stove once the palm oil melts.
Stir the edible potash solution or the baking soda solution then slowly pour into the palm oil while stirring at the same time. You will notice the palm oil slowly turn yellow and curdle (become thicker).
Add the ogiri Igbo to one corner of the pot/pan and dissolve it with your spatula.
Add the ground crayfish, the pieces of medium crayfish, the pieces of stockfish and ponmo then stir till everything is combined. If using smoked fish, add it now before stirring.
Transfer the pot/pan to a stove and set the heat to medium.
Add the ugba/ukpaka, sliced habanero pepper and the stock from cooking the stockfish and ponmo.
Continue stirring till everything is combined and once it heats up, add salt to your taste, stir again and take it off the stove.
Algerian Bouzgene Berber Bread with Roasted Pepper Sauce
Prep 20 m
Cook 20 m
Ready In,40 m
- Preheat your oven’s broiler. Place red bell peppers and tomatoes on a baking sheet, and roast under the broiler for about 8 minutes, turning occasionally. This should blacken the skin and help it peel off more easily. Cool, then scrape the skins off of the tomatoes and peppers, and place them in a large bowl. Remove cores and seeds from the bell peppers.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapenos and garlic, and cook until tender, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and transfer the garlic and jalapeno to the bowl with the tomatoes and red peppers. Using two sharp steak knives (one in each hand), cut up the tomatoes and peppers to a coarse and soupy consistency. Stir, and set sauce aside.
- Place the semolina in a large bowl, and stir in salt and 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Gradually add water while mixing and squeezing with your hand until the dough holds together without being sticky or dry, and molds easily with the hand. Divide into 6 pieces and form into balls.
- For each round, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Roll out dough one round at a time, to no thicker than 1/4 inch. Fry in the hot skillet until dark brown spots appear on the surface, and they are crispy. Remove from the skillet, and wrap in a clean towel while preparing the remaining flat breads.
- To eat the bread and sauce, break off pieces of the bread, and scoop them into the sauce. It will slide off, but just keep reaching in!
Prep 15 m
Cook 25 m
Ready In 2 h 10 m
- In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup warm water and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
- Place flour in a large bowl, and stir in salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the corn oil and yeast mixture. Add the remaining water in small amounts until you have a soft moist dough that can be handled. Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead for at least 5 minutes. Return to the bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Deflate the risen dough, and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each ball with a rolling pin so it is oval shaped, about 6 inches long, and 1/2 inch thick. Use a fork or dull knife to draw three lines on the top of each loaf. Place the loaves on a baking sheet. Mix together the egg and remaining tablespoon of water; brush the tops of the loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle caraway seeds over the tops, if using.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until the loaves are shiny and golden brown.
Black Glutinous Rice Porridge
Prep 15 m
Cook 30 m
Ready In 45 m
- In a saucepan bring water and pandan leaf to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove pandan leaf and stir in brown sugar and white sugar. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and remove from heat.