Have you googled ‘African or Nigerian salad’ before? What usually pops up in the search result is Abacha, an Igbo delicacy made with dried shredded cassava and fermented oil bean seeds.
But do you know that ‘salad’ is a misnomer for Abacha?
Salad is a cold dish of various mixtures of raw or cooked vegetables, usually seasoned with oil, vinegar, or other dressings and sometimes accompanied by meat, fish, or other ingredients. Abacha, on the other hand, is not made from vegetables and is usually not a cold dish. So this delicious dish, which is very popular in the Eastern part of Nigeria, should actually not be called Salad.
At this point, you might be puzzled why I am giving a ‘lecture’ on Abacha and how it has been wrongly called ‘African salad’ for years. Here is the thing, an Igbo friend of mine recently schooled me on the difference between Abacha and salad and after the revelation, I realised that there is no particular Nigerian salad recipe.
Being a food adventurer with a knack for experimenting with new recipes (and also revamping old ones), I decided to cook up something and this was the inspiration behind my Igba and tomato salad recipe.
Igba ,which is the Yoruba name for eggplant/garden eggs, are highly medicinal with numerous health benefits that will blow you mind. From containing antioxidants that protect the body from neurological diseases to helping diabetics regulate blood sugar, Igba is nutritiously satisfying and a must-have in every home.
You can read more on the amazing health benefits of Igba here.
Below are the ingredients and procedure for Igba and Tomato salad.
- Garden Eggs
- Green Pepper
- Spring Onions
- Red Beans
- Salt and Seasoning
- The first step to take when making Igba salad (or any type of salad in general) is to wash the vegetables. Salad is hardly ever cooked, so it is imperative that the ingredients used are thoroughly cleaned to avoid germs.
- The next step is to dice/grate the vegetables in separate bowls. When this is done, you set aside.
- Then put your eggs on fire and allow to boil.
- While the eggs are boiling, begin to layer the diced and grated veggies in a serving dish. When layering the vegetables on your plate, ensure each vegetable is proportional to the other except the eggplant and tomatoes.This is because, this is Igba and tomato salad, so there will be a higher portion of the two in the salad.
- The eggs should be cooked after 15 minutes, peel them and slice them. Then add them to the veggies.
- Voila! Your Igba and Tomato salad is ready to be chowed.
Finally, every salad needs a dressing for extra taste. I decided to go for the olive oil dressing which is quite easy to prepare.
How to prepare Olive oil dressing.
For this, you will need:
- Extra virgin Olive Oil
- Black Pepper
- Whisk the vinegar with the salt, pepper and any other seasonings in a bowl.
- Then add the oil in a slow stream, whisking constantly, until the dressing is translucent. You can do this or shake the ingredients together in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Note: When using your dressing, you don’t want to drown your salad but dress it. Use about 1 and a half tablespoon of the dressing per serving of the salad.
Banke’s Tip: Never add dressing to your salad if you don’t intend to eat it right away. This will ensure the veggies maintain its freshness. You can preserve the portion you aren’t eating by wrapping it with a cling film and refrigerating.
Would you give Igba and tomato salad recipe a try? If you do, share your comments on the experience below!