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Recipe For Ukana/Ugba Sauce

African oil bean seed is an excellent source of energy, protein, amino acids, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, vitamins, calcium, manganese and copper. It also contains phytonutrients, such as tannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, sterols, glycosides and saponins. African oil bean seed, popularly called Ukpaka/Ugba by the Igbo, Apara by the Yoruba, and Ukana by the Efik, is a nutrient-packed natural food, eaten as a delicacy and used as a flavouring for soup.

Ugba undergoes extensive fermentation before it is considered edible. The rich mineral composition of its fermented seed makes it a good, low-cost source of protein. The consumption of a good amount of African Oil beans lowers the chances of developing cataracts.

This Ukana/Ugba sauce recipe is culled from Afrolems blog

When I was a lot younger, this was a dish I slightly dreaded eating, because it smelled so much. I was also terrified of eating it the night before, because the waste produced may have been deadly, the next day in school. However, as I grew up, my taste buds acclimatized to the taste and I appreciated all the little details of the dish: the crunchy crayfish or stockfish taste, the spiciness of the sauce, and how well it is paired with either boiled yam or plantain. It made it all worth it for me. The beauty about this sauce is you can add any type of protein to it and still enjoy it. I worked with what was available at home. Hope you enjoy it.

FYI: Ukana is the name the Ibibio people in Nigeria call it, and Ugba is the Ibo name for fermented oil beans.


  • 1 cup of fermented oil bean
  • 1.5 cooking spoons tomato/pepper mix
  • A handful of chopped onions
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • A handful of crayfish
  • A handful of chopped fresh shrimp
  • 1.5 cooking spoons of  palm oil
  • 2 cooking spoons of  Water (optional)
  • 2 small stock cubes
  • Salt to Taste


  • Heat up your palm oil, and fry your onions and chopped peppers
  • Add the tomato/pepper mix and stir in.
  • Stir in the shrimp and crayfish. If you are using stockfish, this would be where you would add it.
  • Season with stock cubes, check if you still need an additional pinch of salt and add as needed.
  • If the sauce is too dry, add some water while cooking on medium heat.
  • Add the oil bean seeds and stir in. Leave for about 5-7 minutes on low heat.
  • Serve with Boiled Plantain or Yam.

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Amara Adanna Ogbonna

Amara Adanna Ogbonna is a Christian, foodie, and lover of arts. She spends most of her time on Facebook.

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