The Pretend Chef

Easy Abacha recipe

Desserts/ finger food, Recipes, Salads | September 28, 2016 | By

This easy abacha recipe is one even a novice can’t ruin. It is straightforward and time saving.  Abacha, also called African Salad is made from processed shredded cassava tuber. It is a popular dish in the eastern part of Nigeria and is also called ‘jigbo’. Abacha is served as a snack or main meal. At weddings or parties, besides the Nigerian jollof rice, this is the next to go.

This recipe doesn’t require akanwu/kaun, so it is good for those who don’t want akanwu.


Ugba salad, oil bean seed salad

Desserts/ finger food, Salads | September 28, 2016 | By

Ugba salad, oil bean seed salad is another African salad relished in the eastern part of Nigeria. Ugba is very flavoursome with a deeply rich umami taste. 

It is made from the oil bean seed, which grows inside a long pod on the oil bean tree. When the pod reaches maturity, it bursts open scattering the oil bean seeds on the ground. These very hardy seeds are boiled, cracked open, shredded and left to ferment before use.

We had an oil bean tree in the school farm back in federal government girls’ college Benin, so we would pick the seed, drill a hole through it


palm nut stew, stew akwu

Recipes, Stews/ Sauces/ dips | September 28, 2016 | By

Palm nut stew, stew akwu is an amazing combination of two delicious sauces. If you have variously eaten well made Nigerian tomato stew and palm nut soup (ofe akwu, banga soup), you already know each is great on their own. When they are combined, they marry so well like they have been cohabitating all their lives.


How to extract juice from Palm nuts

Tips/How-tos | September 25, 2016 | By

To extract juice from Palm nuts:

Wash palm nuts very well and place in a pot, add enough water to cover the nuts.


Boil for 30 minutes till the flesh of the palm nut is soft. It should easily split when pressed with the fingers. 


Set a pot of water on the fire to boil.

Drain palm nuts into a mortar, discarding the water it was boiled in. Using a pestle, pound while still hot to separate the flesh from the nuts and turn it into a pulp. The pulp should be a bright even orange colour at this stage. Try not to break the nuts, some might break but it won’t affect the taste.


Scoop the pulp into a large bowl and add enough of the hot water to just cover the pulp. Leave to stand till it has cooled down enough to be handled.


Use your hand or a spoon to squeeze and stir it around a few times, pour into a sieve placed over another large bowl.


Squeeze out the juice still in the chaff, you can pick out as much of the kernels as you can to make this more efficient.


If you have not worked the pulp well enough, you will still have quite some extract left in the chaff. Add a little more hot water and repeat the stirring and straining through the sieve. Strain the extract again. You will be left with this.


Leave to stand for 1 minute to settle down, gently pour into a pot being careful not to pour in the very last bit of the extract to prevent any debris from entering the pot. 


Boil over high heat to cook for about 10 minutes, you will start noticing red oil on the surface, your extract is ready, use for your recipe.

I normally make a large batch, then boil down to the consistency of custard or close to canned palm fruit concentrate.


I store this concentrate in the freezer and rehydrate with stock and water when needed. 

Palm nut juice is used in cooking Ofe akwu, banga soup, bitterleaf soup (onugbu soup), abak atama, Ora (uha) soup, utazi soup, obe eyin, akwu stew, okpa, etc.



Ofe Akwu, Palm nut soup, Banga soup

Ofe akwu is made from palm nut extract. Palm nut soup is very popular in many countries where the palm nut tree grows, in the southeast and southsouth/delta regions of Nigeria, it is ingrained in their cuisine. Variously called ofe akwu, palm nut soup, banga soup, abak atama, obe eyin, ofe akwu etc., this particular variation is from the south east. It is a staple of my people from Nnewi. At every occasion hosted by the typical Nnewi person, ofe akwu must feature as a part of the menu, especially if


Nigerian Vegetable Soup

Delectable, fresh and crisp, nigerian vegetable-soup

Recipes, Soups/ light soups | September 20, 2016 | By

I just harvested the first set of snails from my snail farm, so I decided to give my Renaissance man a treat. Fresh Nigerian vegetable soup with snails. He licked his fingers in delight.

This vegetable soup is not edikang ikong, though they share almost the same ingredients, the timing of the addition of the leafy vegetables, set them worlds apart. While edikang ikong is a delectable pot of ‘pureed’ vegetable in a class of its own, this vegetable soup is crisp and fresh with a very vibrant colour.


Easy Stir fry Abacha (African salad)

Desserts/ finger food, Recipes, Salads | September 19, 2016 | By

Stir fry abacha is a quick way of making this delectable dish. It is easy to make and is very forgiving, you can’t really mess up the recipe. Stir fry abacha is best made with fresh (wet) or well re-hydrated abacha, because no water is added during its preparation.

Abacha, sometimes called African Salad, jigbo is made from processed shredded cassava tuber. It is a popular dish


Abacha Ncha, African Salad

Authentic Abacha ncha, african salad

Desserts/ finger food, Salads | September 18, 2016 | By

Abacha, also called African Salad, jigbo, is made from processed shredded cassava tuber. It is a popular dish from the eastern part of Nigeria. Abacha Ncha, African Salad is served as a snack or main meal to visitors at home, weddings or parties and besides the Nigerian jollof rice, Abacha is arguably the next best dish out of Nigeria.


Nigerian Seafood Chowder

I was grocery shopping the other day and saw packs of seafood mix for chowder so I thought, it’s high time Nigeria officially got its own chowder. There are so many different types of chowder, New england, Manhattan, Bermuda chowder etc. 

The Nigerian seafood chowder is light, mildly spicy and creamy, very comforting. The beauty of this chowder lies in the cohesive blend of the clean taste of the fresh seafood. It is not masked by lots of herbs and spices. 


Herb Butter Sauce

Simple, aromatic Herb butter sauce

Recipes, Stews/ Sauces/ dips | September 7, 2016 | By

Herb butter sauce is simple and pretty straight forward. It pairs well with fish dishes, boiled or roasted Irish potato, pasta etc. 

Different herbs or a mixture of herbs can be used, but don’t over do it. With dry herbs, a little goes a long way. I used dry thyme, rosemary and chives.

I served it up with my Nigerian Crispy fried whitebait fish and it was absolutely delicious.


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