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We’re going traditional today. We are making Ugba Sauce. This sauce is usually enjoyed with boiled or roasted yam and(or) plantain.  If you haven’t tasted it before, prepare for a flavourful, tasty treat.
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As you can tell from the name, ugba is the primary ingredient used in making this sauce. This ingredient is also known as Ukpaka. My usual approach to this ugba sauce is to pour in the ugba with the blended pepper and fry small. But when I visited my aunt in the village this Christmas, she mashed the ugba and pepper roughly and I noticed that this method infuses most of the ugba flavour into the sauce. I also noticed that she didn’t fry the ingredients. Now, because I’m a good cook and good cooks never miss an opportunity to improve their recipes, I learnt this method and I can tell you for free that it upgraded my Ugba Sauce.  Before we start the process of cooking this sauce, here are a few things to note. The first is that even though I prefer to make this sauce with smoked fish, dry fish can also be used. The second thing to note is that utazi is the vegetable used in making this sauce. But it has a bitter taste and should be sprinkled in so that the taste does not overwhelm the sauce. So, you now have all the important details, oya, let’s get cooking. Ingredients Ugba Scumbia Smoked Fish Yellow Scotch Bonnet Pepper to Taste 3 Cooking Spoons of Palm Oil Crayfish 7 Utazi Leaves Medium Sized Onion Seasoning Cube Salt to Taste
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How to Prepare Debone and gut the fish. Rinse it thoroughly. Peel, rinse and dice the onion. Set it aside for later use. Rinse the pepper. Rinse the ugba at least three times then transfer it into a clean blender or a mortar. Add the pepper and blend till it’s rough and chunky. Pick the utazi leaves. Rinse it thoroughly to eliminate sand. Slice thinly. Set all prepared ingredients aside for later use. Pour some palm oil into a clean saucepan and place it on medium heat. When the oil heats up, add the diced onion and fry till it’s translucent. Add the ugba mix into the saucepan. Also, add the seasoning cube and salt. Stir the pot, cover it and allow the content to cook on medium heat for about fifteen minutes. When the allotted time is up, taste the sauce and adjust the taste, if need be. I prefer to stir in my  Utazi at this point and turn off the heat. Utazi is a strong vegetable; when it is added to the pot, the heat from the sauce softens it a bit. But if you enjoy the crunchy contrast it brings to the sauce, then, dish your sauce first and sprinkle it on it. Either way, your sauce is ready. Serve it with the yam or plantain and enjoy. I hope you like this sauce as much as I do. Featured image source:
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This article was first published on 21st February 2022


Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address,

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