Skip to main content

How to Make Authentic Nigerian Abacha (African Salad)

Abacha (African salad)

Abacha (African salad)

Abacha, also known as African salad, is a traditional dish of the Igbo ethnic group in eastern Nigeria. Certain Nigerian states, like Enugu and Abia, are known for their exceptional abacha.

All of the ingredients in abacha are local to the region and many do not have an English name. If you want to make this dish outside of Nigeria, you will need to go to an African or Nigerian grocery and ask for the ingredients as written in this article.

If you'd like to make your own ngwo, I've provided instructions in another one of my articles.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

10 min

30 min

2 servings


  • 2 cups abacha
  • 1/4 cup ngwo
  • 1/4 cup palm oil
  • 2 tablespoons ground chili
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup ugba
  • 2 large African garden eggs
  • 3 fresh utazi leaves
  • 1 foil wrap ogili
  • 1/4 kilo ponmo (cow skin)
  • 1/2 kilo mackerel
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 habanero peppers


  1. Abacha is very dry, so the first thing that must be done is to wash it in room temperature water and then soak it in a bowl (make sure there is enough water to cover it). Leave it for 10 minutes to rise and soften.
  2. Wash the mackerel and steam it with onions, 1 bouillon cube, and salt. After 5 minutes, deep-fry till it's dry. Set it aside. You can also fry after only marinating the fish.
  3. Boil the ponmo( cow skin) till it's very soft. (You can use a pressure cooker, if you like.) Mix a little palm oil in a small pot with blended habanero peppers and salt. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the cow skin and stir. Set aside.
  4. In a separate bowl, pour in the red palm oil and add ngwo. Stir continuously until the oil thickens and takes a light orange color.
  5. Add the ogili, ground chili, 1 bouillon cube and salt. Stir to mix. Scoop out 2 tablespoons onto a small plate and pour in the ukpaka. Stir until the ukpaka is completely coated.
  6. Drain the abacha into a colander. Pour the drained abacha into the remaining palm oil mixture in the bowl and stir vigorously until it is thoroughly mixed.
  7. Wash the garden eggs and chop them into small pieces to use as a garnish. (You can also leave them whole, if you prefer.)
  8. Wash the utazi leaves in clean water and slice them thinly.
  9. Chop up the onions and set aside.
  10. Arrange all components on a plate and serve. Enjoy!