Nigeria – Abak Atama Soup

by Verdzekov Bernard

This is still on a Nigerian delicacy. Nigeria and many African countries have stood the test of times when it comes to spicy, delicious meals. They have so many spicy dishes that is nutritional and that are of important for body growth and good health.  Most meals in Africa are soups that have their accompaniments. These soups are of different kind and are from different tribes of the country. This goes same for other African countries like Cameroon, Ghana Etc. This are countries that have sub tribes in them. In Africa alone, there are said to be more than 700 different languages spoken. With different languages, comes people and with that, comes a tribe. This tribe helps to bring the people together and too to help them to be easily identified.

This people with their different tribes, have meals and other things that are unique just to them. Though it could be shared among other tribes and the country at large and even other countries. 

Today, you will be reading about Abak Atama Soup. This is a delicious soup popular amongst the Ibibios of Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria. Unlike some other soups, this meal got its names from the ingredient used for preparation. That is palm kernel and Atama Leaves.  The method of extracting the oil from the palm kernel for the preparation of Abak Atama Soup is quite different from the palm kernel extracted for the preparation of other African traditional meals. Why is this said so? The Palm kernel extracted for the preparation, is extracted under high temperature, while the other palm kernel used for the preparation Abak Atama Soup is extracted under low temperature and with water, at such it helps to make the Abak Atama soup to be less saturated with fats. 

To prepare this meal, follow guide below;

Cooking tools

  • Pots. One normal and one deep pot for heating up your palm kernel 
  • Blender 
  • Knife 
  • Sieve 
  • Bowls
  • Mortar and pestle  
  • Strainer
  • Blender  


  • Dry fish 
  • Onions 
  • Stock Fish 
  • Smoke Fish 
  • Cow skin (Canda)
  • Ground crayfish 
  • Atama leaves
  • Pepper 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Dry meat 
  • Maggi 
  • Palm fruits (Palm Kernel)


  • Wash your caw skin well using a punch. Make sure you wash and scrap off all the inner layer with a knife. Wash and rinse well. Heat water and boil well. Remove and throw the water. Rewash and rinse your caw skin. Boil again until it is ready with some salt to taste. Keep aside. 
  • Wash your dry fish, smoke fish, stock fish. Put in a bowl, add fresh water and salt to taste and keep aside.
  • Wash your dry meat well and boil with some diced onions until ready. This should take about 25min under intense heat.
  • Wash your palm kernel and put in your pot with some fresh water. Heat with low heat. When you start realizing the water yellowish as a result of some discharge of oil from the palm kernel remove and turn the palm kernel in a mortar, then using your pestle, pawn well.
  • Using a sieve, squeeze your palm kernel and extract the oil. When done put aside. 
  • Chop your onions and keep aside. 
  • Chop your Atama leaves, wash drain and keep aside.
  • Put your extracted palm fruit concentration in your main cooking pot, heat up until thick. 
  • Drain your steep fish and add into the pot. stir well. Reduce heat. After about 2min, add your cooked meat and Caw skin, stir well and allow for 10min under low heat. Make sure you don’t cover the pot. 
  • Add your chopped Atama leaves and ground crayfish and stir well. Add your chopped onions and blend pepper, stir well. If too thick add the rest of your meat stock if still there. If not use water. Add your salt to taste and maggi. Stir well and make sure it blends well. Allow for 10min, remove and serve, your meal is ready. 
  • Serve with any swallow like cooked Kwacoco, yams, cooked fufu corn, or even garri. 


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