Abak Atama Soup Recipe

Abak Atama Soup is a delicious soup popular among the Ibibios of Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria. Its name comes from the two best dominant ingredients:Palm fruit concentrate (Abak) and the Atama leaves. The base palm fruit concentrate used to prepare Abak Atama is similar to the original Bangga soup of the Niger Delta and the Akwu soup of the Igbo people, but the difference is the spices and vegetables used for these soups and stews.



The palm fruit used to cook Abak Atama soup is very different from the red palm oil used in Nigerian cooking. Palm oil is a pure oil extracted from the pulp of the palm fruit, while Abak Atama soup is extracted from the palm at a low temperature and is a mixture of oil and water.

 Palm oil extracted for Abak Atama soup contains more saturated fat than palm oil.


 4 serving (s)

Total time:  45 minutes

Ingredients for Abak Atama Soup

  • 500g of palm fruit or 400g of tinned palm oil.
  •  Assorted meat and fish. You can use: (beef or goat meat,cow skin,smoke fish,dry fish, stock fish).
  • 1 handful of thinly slice Atama leaves.
  • 1 onion.
  • 2 tablespoons ground crayfish .
  •  2 milk cups unshelled perewinkle.
  •  Habanero pepper (Atarodo, ose oyibo, atarugu: to taste).
  • 2 small stock cubes

 Salt (to taste)
Notes on the ingredients


  • In Nigeria, we have "agric" and indigenous palm fruit. "Agric" palm fruit have more flesh and can extract more oil and extract while native palm fruit are smaller but give your stews and soups a nice flavor. It is best to combine the two when possible.
  • Atama leaves (English name unknown) give the soup its unique aroma. Just ask atama in the Nigerian market where the soup is sold. The leaves dry quickly, so if fresh ones are not available, you can use dried ones. New Atama leaves have a bitter taste.
  • Please note, unshelled periwinkles are used for this recipe. Fresh fish (fresh fish) also goes well with this soup, so you can use it instead of dry fish.

 You may also read:EKPANG NKWUKWO RECIPE

Before cooking Abak Atama soup

  • Extract palm fruit concentrate from the fruits. If you are using a can of palm fruit concentrate, open the can and set aside.
  • Cut the onion, mix the fresh pepper, wash and cut the ponmo into small pieces and set aside.
  • Soak, debone and clean the dry fish. Debone and clean the smoked fish, wash in cold water making sure they are free of sand. Then divide them into the desired pieces and set aside. 
  • Use the blunt side of a knife to cut off the base end of the periwinkle shell. This is called periwinkle size. This can be done for you in the Nigerian market. Wash them thoroughly to remove all dust and sand. Wash several times until the water runs clear.
  • Put the periwinkles in a pot, cover it with water and cook with a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes, drain the water and keep the periwinkles (this point is optional. you can put your periwinkle directly into the atama soup without pre-cooking the perinwinkle).
  • Wash the atama leaves well and cut them into thin slices as we cut the afang leaves. Dealers can sell you the Atama in the Nigerian market. If you want to reduce bitterness, squeeze and rub the leave between your palms and fingers just like you wash bitter leaves. Change the water several times. Dried leaves are not as bitter as fresh Atama leaves, some of the bitterness is lost during the drying process.
  • Clean all the meat thoroughly. 

Cooking Directions:

 Put the beef or goat pieces, the ponmo pieces and the stock fish into the pot. Add as little water as possible, add onion (diced) and stock cubes and cover and cook until soft. Add the debone dry fish and smoked fish as soon as it is almost done.

Pour the extracted palm fruit concentrate into another pot, put the pot on fire and start cooking on high flame. Let it cook until you see a little red oil on the surface of the palm. If you think it's watery, cook until the extract has thicken to a medium consistency. 

Add meat and fish cooked in meat broth, crayfish and pepper, cooked periwinkles or uncooked, the atama leaves and salt to taste, stir gently and leave to simmer for five minutes.

NB: Don't worry if the soup seems light. Abak Atama soup thicken the next day. It can also get too salty in an instant, so add less salt.

Serve with any Nigerian swallow of your choice: semolina, pounded walnuts and many more. 

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