Oil Bean Salad And Stories From My Mother’s Kitchen


If there’s one dish I appreciate my mother teaching me to make it’s one of my favorite warm salads; Ugba salad.

Ugba also known as Ukpaka by some Igbo dialects is simply Igbo for African oil bean.

Growing up in Nigeria, my mother had a restaurant where she made Isi ewu and sold drinks. She had a lot of customers and her business grew to be famous until she had to go to catering school. Through this Isi ewu dish, I learnt about ugba and how to make it. I also learnt how to make Nkwobi, which is a dish that can be made with both ugba and chopped cow foot.

Another thing in my childhood I am happy about is my mother opening my pallets to different Nigerian foods. Now, I do the same for my Ajebutters and they eat most Nigerian foods without questioning; including Ugba. At a young age, I started enjoying local Nigerian dishes you wouldn’t really expect a child to understand; talk less of enjoying. Eating ugba at home was one of the ultimate treats mommy could ever give us. There was something about noshing on chewy cow skin and soft/melt in your mouth ugba.

Now to the recipe.

Now I understand that a lot of people share “healthy” dishes after the holidays in order to help with shedding the weight packed on from enjoying holiday foods. But let me tell you something. It’s Winter and we all need a little cushion 😛 Besides, why not give a warm and hearty welcome to the New year. You can worry about fit fam when Winter is over 😛

I come from a town in Nigeria where we make our local dishes a little different, but in sharing this recipe, I modified it to fit the general demand of my people. I’ll make note of how you can make it my own way so you may have both.

Oil Bean Salad And Stories From My Mother's Kitchen
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • Ugba 4 cups washed and cooked ugba
  • cooked and flaked stock fish (1 cup)(optional)
  • cooked and chopped cow skin/ponmo(2 cups)
  • Habanero(1 large one)
  • Ehuru(4-8)
  • [url:1]Ngo mix (4tbsps)
  • [/url]
  • Palm oil (1-2 cups)
  • utazi(2tsps)
  • salt to taste
  1. Mix the oil and ngo liquid until it thickens; then pour half of the oil and ngo mix into a separate bowl and set both aside.
  2. Toast Ehuru in a hot pan until fragrant; then smoothly crush with the habanero. Mix with the oil; then add the stock fish and cow skin and mix until it's coated with the oil(make sure the ingredients are not hot so it doesnt break down the already thickened oil). Add the ugba and mix; then add salt in little increments. Set pot on low heat; stirring the salad often to incorporate a little heat. Add the utazi and some of the extra oil(as needed) to the mix. Enjoy with fried/griled peppered fish
*1) If your ugba is not washed. simply place in a fine mesh sieve and wash thoroughly with warm water. Place in a pot of water and just boil for a few minutes. Drain liquids and let cool

*2) for the Ncha, you may use the usual potash or use baking soda mix with water. I prefer the Ngo(ash) method.
*3) If you don't want to use Ncha(thickened oil), simply mix everything in oil and season. Garnish with utazi and serve with fish
*4) you may use soft cooked gizzards if you don't have any cow skin. Season and boil and cut the gizzards into bite sized pieces; then fry/sauté (optional); then add to the ugba mix
!measurements are not completely accurate, please eye ball your measurements for this recipe



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