At the top of the list of eastern states known for their culinary skills, Anambra ranks somewhere at the top, if not the outright top. As people of culture, Ndi Anambra speaks through the food they eat. Perhaps, this list of top dishes from Anambra State would clear whatever doubt you may have about the position of Anambra in the “food chain” of states.
For every traditional event in the state, there is always a wide array of their native dishes, its aroma hitting you before you know it. Their local spice ‘Ogili’ is famed across Igboland, for people who are familiar with Yoruba cooking, the Ogili is akin to ‘Iru’. These are some dishes Anambra people are known for we think you should sample.
“Nke a bu nri ndi ogaranya” best describes the class of this food, it is food for the wealthy. Ofe Nsala is a must-have for many traditional events in Anambra State, for those who can afford to cook it. It is usually reserved for VIPs or the VVIPs even.
This mouth-watering delicacy is prepared traditionally with fresh catfish and chicken and utazi.
It is also known as white soup because red oil is not used during the preparation, unlike other Igbo soups. Ofe Nsala goes done well with pounded yam.
This is one of the most popular soup exports from Anambra State. According to unverified claims, it is said to have originated from the people of Nnewi in Nigeria. It features in every Anambra event, there is no dispute this soup originated from this state.
The main ingredients for ofe Onugbu are cocoyam, the famous local recipe Ogili, and bitter leaf.
Apart from been used for cooking, the bitter leaf is a medicinal leaf that its juice can be squeezed out for a sick person.
The Ogili even though has an awful smell gives the soup a distinctive taste while the cocoyam serves as a thickener. Ofe Onugbu is the soup for any occasion.
If you are familiar with Banga soup, this is like the Igbo version, it is native to the people of Anambra and Delta state.
Ofe Akwu is a traditional recipe of palm fruit concentrate, easy to cook.
Around the Delta areas, it is known as Banga soup, it is commonly served with fufu foods: Starch, Pounded Yam, Semolina, Garri, and Cassava Fufu.
In the Eastern region especially Anambra, it is referred to as Ofe Akwu which translates as Ofe means Soup / Stew and Akwu means palm fruit and is used mainly as stew for Boiled White Rice, yam, or plantain.
The palm fruit oil extract used in cooking Banga Soup / Stew is quite different from the red palm oil used in cooking. Palm Oil is pure oil extracted from the palm fruit pulp at high temperatures while the palm fruit oil extract used for the ofe akwu is extracted at a very low temperature and is a mixture of oil and water. Palm fruit oil extracted for ofe akwu contains less saturated fat than palm oils.
It can serve as a multipurpose dish, it can be served with fufu, rice, boiled yam, or plantain.
Ona is a local Igbo yam that is considered nutritious and medicinal. It is a species of yam that has more nutritional value than other yams commonly eaten, it is rich in carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. It comes highly recommended for diabetic patients as a better option in staple foods.
The Anambra people have a special sauce that takes you back to the roots, locally prepared Ugba, palm oil, or potash. This local sauce makes it special and indigenous to Ndi Anambra.
It is true that Ukwa is popular across Igboland, but the Anambra style of preparing it made it their own. It is like a culinary jewel amongst ndi Anambra, served to the
Ukwa (African Breadfruit) is a seasonal food that gets very expensive when it is out. An Ukwa fruit is as big as a watermelon, huge and very hard, hence, why it’s left to fall and ripen on its own. There is a certain delicacy in the process of the breadfruit, even if it will take years to fall it is never forcibly knocked from the tree.
Ukwa is one of the very versatile food around, it can be roasted, fried, or boiled for consumption. The oil is used as a flavoring in alcoholic drinks. A roasted version of Ukwa combined with Aki (coconut) is commonly hawked around as ‘Aki na Ukwa’, when prepared as porridge it is called Ukwa porridge.
Ukwa fruit is as nutritional as it is versatile. It is rich in potassium which helps in the regulation of the heart, an excellent source of vitamin C, and several other healthy body minerals.
This delicacy prepared in the Anambra style will have you hauling your bag around the world just to taste it again.
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