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Amala – Nigerian Food

Today, we will be taking you to the southwestern part of Nigeria, where we will be learning how to prepare an African delicacy called Amala. Whether you are a fan of African cuisine or just looking to try something new, Amala is definitely worth a try.

When you have a good traditional dish, you tend to want people to try it too. That is why I’m sharing with you on this article about amala, a delicacy that has been part of the Yoruba diet for as long as anyone can remember.

What is Amala?

Amala is a traditional Nigerian cuisine that is popular in the southwestern part of Nigeria, particularly among the Yoruba tribe. It is a type of swallow made from yam flour and is usually served with a soup stew, such as Ewedu, gbegiri, Okro soup, Egusi Soup, efo riro, and Ogbono Soup, obe ata.

In Nigeria, Amala is not just food; it is a cultural identity. It is a symbol of the Yoruba tribe and is often served at important events such as weddings and funerals. It is an all-time favorite and a constant on the menu of most local restaurants, and it is also a common meal for families to enjoy together.

Amala is a lightweight swallow compared to pounded yam, eba, or fufu. This is so because amala is made from yam flour, which is made from sun-dried (dehydrated) yam. While yam is rich in starch, a lot of the starch is lost during the drying process. This makes amala a much lighter swallow food.

The texture of Amala is soft, smooth, and slightly elastic, with a distinct earthy flavor. The distinct earthy taste is the reason why it cannot be eaten alone without serving with soups or stews.

What are“Swallow Foods”

Swallow foods are pliable yet firm doughy meals, similar to America’s mashed potatoes but with more texture. Nigerian examples include pounded yam, eba, amala, starch, fufu, and many more.  The pliable texture makes it easy to eat with your hand (right hand only, please) and to swallow without chewing.

To eat swallow foods, cut out a morsel from the meal,  then form an indentation on it with the thumb, scoop some stew or soup over it, and swallow!

How To Make Amala

The process of making Amala is simple yet requires some skill. Although it may seem difficult for newbies, the process of making this local and traditional Nigerian soup is actually very easy.

Yam flour is mixed with hot water and stirred consistently until it forms a soft and smooth dough. The dough is then rolled into small balls and served with the soup or stew.

Even though it is straightforward and fast to make, you need to be careful while making it to prevent lumps from forming in it. An amala meal with lumps is very frustrating to eat, so I’m here to teach you how to make a fluffy, evenly textured, and lump-free amala.

What is Amala Made of?

  • Yam flour – Amala is made from Yam flour (true yam). Usually, the yam goes through peeling, washing, drying, and grinding processes to get the powdered flour. Yam flour can be found in almost every market in Nigeria, but if you live outside Nigeria, you can easily get it in African-Caribbean stores or on Amazon.
  • Water – The water must boil until the rolling point before adding the flour.

Varieties of Yam Flour

We have yam flour known as “elubo,” made from true yam, and we have other varieties like the one made from cassava flour known as “lafun,” and the unripe plantain flour is called “elubo ogede.”

  • Yam Flour (Elubo) – This is the most common type of amala. It is made from African yam (Dioscorea cayenesis), also known as the Puna yam. Yam flour has high starch and carbohydrate. Amala made from yam flour is dark because the yam changes color as it goes through different processes. Yam flour is common to the Oyo people in Nigeria. You can read more about the true yam to learn more.
  • Cassava Flour (Lafun) – This is made from dried cassava tuber. Unlike yam, cassava doesn’t change color while processing. So, amala from cassava is white. The Ghanaian version of amala made from cassava flour is called “Kokonte.”
  • Plantain Flour (Elubo Ogede): This flour from unripe plantain is lighter in color. Compared to yam flour, plantain flour is ideal for diabetic patients because it has low carbohydrates.

What does Amala look like?

Amala is black or dark brown after making it. You might wonder why the color is black since yam is white. The color is black because yam changes color as it goes through the drying process. On the other hand, amala made from cassava is white because cassava doesn’t change color.

Many people don’t find amala appealing to the eyes because of its color. Forget the aesthetics; it is unique and highly nutritious.

How to make Amala

Follow these simple steps to make a smooth and lump-free amala.

  • Step 1 – Bring the water to a rolling boil.
  • Step 2 – Turn down the heat to medium and stir in the yam flour as quickly as possible to prevent lumps until it becomes doughy.
  • Step 3 – Scrape down the sides of the pot, and add a splash of water. Then cover and let it cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Step 4 – Stir again and add more water if needed until the amala becomes sticky, light, and elastic.
  • Step 5 – Serve with your choice of soup or stew.

Equipments

  • A large pot – use the pot to boil water until it reaches the rolling boiling point
  • Scooping spoon – you need this to serve the food in sizeable portions.
  • A spatula – is used to roll and knead the amala into a dough.
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Health benefits of Amala

Amala is rich in potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, calcium, copper, and carbohydrate. Specifically, it has the following health benefits:

  • It has low cholesterol; it will help you lose weight if you take it in moderation.
  • It is rich in iron and carbohydrate.
  • It has high dietary fiber that will help flush toxins out of your body.
  • Vitamin A in amala lowers inflammation, helps in brain formation, and improves eyesight.
  • Lastly, it is lightweight and has high water content, making it easy to digest.

Notes

  • While making it, you must keep rolling the amala consistently to get a smooth and lump-free dough.
  • The water added to the yam flour should be moderate. If the water is too much, you can add more flour. On the other hand, if the flour is too much, I like to add more hot water.

Leftover

Amala is best served hot. It is perishable, so you can’t keep amala for more than 5 hours at a warm temperature. Cold amala isn’t palatable to eat.

How to serve Amala?

Amala is not a standalone food. It has a neutral earthy taste, so you must serve it with the soup of your choice. After adding soup, you can add any protein, like beef or peppered fish.

Serve your amala with any of the following soups;

Amala and ewedu with beef stew

Amala

Today, we will be taking you to the southwestern part of Nigeria, where we will be learning how to prepare an African delicacy called Amala. Whether you are a fan of African cuisine or just looking to try something new, Amala is definitely worth a try.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Nigerian
Keyword: Amala
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 serving
Calories: 227.5kcal

Equipment

  • A large pot – use the pot to boil water until it reaches the rolling boiling point
  • Scooping spoon – you need this to serve the food in sizeable portions.
  • A spatula – is used to roll and knead the amala into a dough.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Yam Flour sifted
  • 4 cups Water
  • ¼-½ cup extra water or add as needed

Instructions

  • Bring the 4 cups of water to a rolling boil.
  • Turn down the heat to medium and stir in the yam flour as quickly as possible to prevent lumps until it becomes doughy.
  • Scrape down the sides of the pot, and add a splash of water. Then cover and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes on low to medium heat.
  • Stir again and add more water as needed until the amala becomes sticky, light, and elastic.
  • Serve with your choice of soup or stew.

Notes

  • While making it, you must keep rolling the amala consistently to get a smooth and lump-free dough.
  • The water added to the yam flour should be moderate. If the water is too much, you can add more flour. On the other hand, if the flour is too much, I like to add more hot water.

Nutrition

Calories: 227.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 47.7g | Protein: 6.5g | Fat: 0.6g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 13.8mg | Potassium: 66.9mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 1.3IU | Calcium: 16.9mg | Iron: 2.9mg

Let’s connect on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram. I love keeping in touch with you; nothing brings me more joy than seeing pictures of your creations. Tag me @cheflolaskitchen on Instagram and Facebook.

Recipe Rating




Anonymous

Monday 25th of December 2023

Thank you so much. Pleas are the measurements in the recipe for 1 serving?

Lola Osinkolu

Friday 5th of January 2024

The recipe in given yields 4 servings. You can adjust the servings by clicking on the servings in the recipe box the move the bar to the number of servings you want.

Ireti

Friday 22nd of September 2023

Can one refrigerate amala and reheat either on stove or in microwave oven ?

Chef Lola's Kitchen

Friday 12th of January 2024

Ireti, amala is best eaten fresh.