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Abak Atama Soup recipe

Happy new week people! Hope y'all had a splendid weekend like i did. Over the weekend, i cooked one of my favorite soups known as Abak atama. For those who don't know yet, Abak atama is a popular soup Native to the Efiks which is an ethnic group located primarily in south-eastern part of Nigeria i.e Cross River State. It's similar to Ofe Akwu of the easterners and Banga soup of the southerners with the only difference being the spices and herbs used in cooking. The name "Abak" simply means palm fruit extract and "Atama" is a vegetable also known as Beletete in delta state hence the name Abak Atama which is derived from a combination of the palm fruit and vegetable used in cooking it. It's mostly prepared with seafood which is quite popular in the region but you can use beef in the preparation also. Below is a quick tutorial on how to cook it. 
p.s: Do you have recipes you've tried out on the blog or recipes you want to share with us? Do send it in to dobbyssignature@gmail.com and we'd be glad to feature you. 

How to make Abak Atama (Efik style palm nut soup)
• Prep Time:
 30 minutes

• Total Time: Over an Hour
• Serves :       10-12 people

• 1800kg Fresh Palm Nuts (Abak) (2 Derica cups)
• 800g Beef (Red meat), Cut in chunks or Fresh Fish
• 400g assorted meat :Pomo, Cow Intestines, Tripe a.k.a Sharki - optional
• 1 cup Periwinkle (In shell with bottom part chopped off and washed)
• 1 Cooking spoon Crayfish, Ground
• 2 medium sized Dry fish / Smoked Fish
• 1 medium sized Stock fish head 
• 1/2 cup smoked/ fresh prawn
• 1/2 piece Uyayak - Aridan "tetrapleura tetraptera "(prekese)(an aromatic spice)
• 1tbsp. Dry Pepper
• 2 Seasoning cubes. Crushed
• Salt to taste

Step 1: Rinse the palm nuts 2-3 times with water then place in a medium sized pot. Add clean water just enough to cover the palm nuts in the pot and cook on the burner for 15-20 mins till the nuts get soft. you can check this by biting into one of the nuts. if it's soft, then its ready. Strain the liquid used in boiling out and place the palmnuts in a mortar and pound with a pestle till the skin separates from the kernel. Scoop the pounded nuts into a clean bowl and add water into it. Squeeze and strain the palm oil into a bowl

Step 2: Wash and place the Beef and assorted meat in a different pot. Add the Crushed seasoning, Pepper, Salt and water just enough to cover the meat in the pot. Cook till the meat gets tender leaving the concentrated meat stock within. 

Step 3: Prepare the stock fish (if using any) by soaking it in hot water to soften for 10 minutes then rinse with clean water. For the smoked fish or dry fish, all you need to do is open it up from the middle, then remove the bone and gut. Rinse and set aside

Step 4: Pour the extracted palm nut liquid in a medium sized pot and cook for about 10 minutes. Gently add the Beef and assorted meat (Including the stock "Meat water").

Step 5: Add the smoked fish , stock fish, ground crayfish, shrimp and Uyayak. Stir and leave to cook with the pot covered for 25-30mins. 

Step 6: By now the soup should be thick. Add the Periwinkles and crushed Atama leaves into the pot of soup, Stir and leave to simmer for 5 mins.

Turn off the burner and serve with your favorite swallow.

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  1. Sorry I don't eat shrimp it against my religion. The book of Leviticus forbids consumption of shell fish. Besides that the recipe looks brilliant.

    1. lol! Okay, point noted Mr Adela :)

    2. Mr Adela - are you serious?!?!?!? I am actually tempted to go searching for the verse in Leviticus but something tells me you are pulling Dobby's legs. LOL!! You can always try it without the shellfish. Extremely scrumptious!!

    3. same here...please which verse of the bible Mr adela.

  2. Dobby, I miss home seeing this dish.... I can't get atama here in lafia so I might have to use afang.. but I love this dish especially with rice♡♡¤¤

    1. Wow! what's happening in lafia? i've never tried it with afang but i'm certain it'd taste just fine. Thanks for the tip ugo :)

  3. I am gonna try this soon. I will eat it with boiled rice.

  4. I love this soup. I make mine with bitter leaf.

    1. Bitterleaf is a great substitute so it'd go fine.

  5. Dobby pls pls pls could u put up a post on how to cook fisherman soup......

  6. I had Atama Soup and Poundo for lunch at work..it was delicious..I posted a pic on my instagram (https://instagram.com/tastensnap), have a look! I am not sure about making it myself, it looks like hard work,

    1. It sure is delicious miriam. It's really not difficult to make except the pounding part.

  7. Replies
    1. Waterleaf is used for Afang soup not Atama

  8. What exactly is atama? Is it d same as bitterleaf? Cos u mentioned it in banga soup, ND style, as it can be substituted, diced and crushed... Just wanna be sure... Thx

    1. Atama is not bitterleaf. it's a totally different plant altogether grown in the south east. it is locally known as Beletientien leaves

  9. Nice one Donny.. .d Atama is usually bitter, how Do I get rid of d bitter taste? Thanx

    1. Fresh Atama leaf is always bitter. Yu can get rid of the bitter taste by washing it severally just the way fresh bitterleaf is washed. change the water a few times and you're good to go.


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