Abia State is located in southeastern Nigeria. This state which has been dubbed “God’s Own State” has Umuahia as its capital. The people of Abia are reputed to be industrious and hospitable. They have an interesting culture too. This culture finds expression in their food.
Today, we’ll briefly discuss five delicacies that are indigenous to Abia State. Before I tell you about these delicacies, let me first acknowledge my mother-in-law who graciously provided me with all the information I needed to write today’s article. May God continue to bless you, ma. That settled, the following are foods that hail from Abia:
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This soup is considered a ceremonial delicacy in Umuahia and Isiala Ngwa. Ofe achara is a special kind of egusi soup. The egusi for this soup is well spiced and moulded; that is why the indigenes of Abia call it akpuru akpu mgbam. Another vital ingredient used in preparing this soup is the edible shoots of elephant grass. A well-prepared pot of ofe achara is rich and tasty but the process of pounding and moulding the egusi may be a turn off.
This delicacy is native to Abiriba Kingdom. There, it is a ceremonial delicacy. Oto is the Igbo equivalent of ekpang nkukwo. Like ekpang nkukwo, the principal ingredient for making this food is grated water yam. However, the major difference between the two is that while the water yam puree for ekpang nkukwo is wrapped in cocoyam leaves before cooking, the puree for oto is not. It’s simply scooped into the sauce a little at a time.
This is the culinary jewel of Abia State. If someone from Abia prepares this soup for you, then you must be pretty special. As one can deduce from the name, this soup is prepared with okazi leaves which is also known by the Efik-Ibibio name, afang. The soup is thickened with ofor or achi. It can be enjoyed with any swallow of choice.
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This corn meal delicacy hails from Abiriba Kingdom. Asusu, which is also pronounced as esusu, is prepared with grinded corn meal, salt and water. Afterwards, the asusu puree is wrapped with ebe leaves and steamed with water covering all the wraps. Asusu is usually paired with a type of okro soup which the natives call ofe ugbogho.
Okazi Agwolu Agwo
The good people of Abia State love okazi. This may either be because of its medicinal value or its abundance in the area. But one of the ways they enjoy it is to prepare it like abacha. Okazi agwolu agwo is a traditional Igbo vegetable salad. It’s quite popular in Abiriba and it is healthy too. Those on a diet may want to check it out and if it passes muster, and I know it would, they can include it in their meal plan.
Finally, those who are not from Abia State and those who have not lived there may not know of these foods. That’s because, oftentimes, our food preferences are tied to our culture and environment. But we should be open minded enough to explore new foods when they come to our attention.
Featured image source: The Pretend Chef
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