What is amala made of? This is a question that many people have asked, and for good reason. Amala is a popular Nigerian dish that has many health benefits. In this blog post, we will discuss the health benefits of amala and tell you what it is made of!
What is Amala?
Amala, also known as elubo is a type of flour that is popular in Nigeria. It is made by grinding dried yams, cassava, or plantains into a powder. Amala can be used to eat a variety of different dishes, most especially ewedu and gbegiri soup.
How is the Amala Powder Gotten?
Amala can be made of three main starchy products: yams, cassava and unripe plantain flour.
Amala Made from Yam
The most common type of amala is made from yams, usually called Amala Isu. Yams are a type of tuber that is native to Africa. Yam is the common name for the species of the genus Dioscorea, and it is majorly grown in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Oceania; the majority of this species, however, is cultivated and harvested in West Africa. The best yam to use for amala is the Dioscorea cayenensis because it has a high starch content.
They are an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Yams are also low in calories and fat.
Yam can be cooked and eaten by steaming, roasting, frying, baking and powdering; however, because it is likely to perish quick, due to its high water content, it is advisable to process it into a non-damaging product like yam flour, which goes through a drying process.
Amala Made from Cassava
Another type of amala that is popular in Nigeria is made from cassava. This type of amala is called Amala Lafun. Cassava is a type of root vegetable that is also native to Africa. It is an excellent source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre. Cassava is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Cassava is a shrub of the family of Euphorbiaceae. The largest cassava-producing country in the world is Nigeria.
Amala Lafun is when dried cassava is processed into dry powder. Cassava can also be processed by fermenting and becoming flaky powder, called Garri, and when made with boiled water, Eba, which is mostly eaten by the Ijebus of southwestern Nigeria.
Amala Made from Plantain
The last type of amala that we will discuss is made from plantains. This type of amala is called Amala Ogede. Plantains are a type of fruit that is native to Africa. Plantains are staple foods of the genus Musa, the major group of banana varieties. Although plantains have more starch content than bananas, they have lower carb content than their counterparts, yam and cassava, making them a reasonably good diet for diabetic patients, or others who prefer foods with lower carbs.
They are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Plantains are also low in calories and fat.
The unripe plantain is processed into dry powder as Amala Ogede.
What Does Amala Look and Taste Like, and What is the Texture?
Amala is a whitish-light brown powder before it is prepared, and then dark brown in its dough form. Amala has an earthy and slightly bitter taste. The texture of amala is similar to that of wheat flour.
What is the History of Amala?
Amala has been a staple food in Nigeria for centuries. It is thought to have originated from the Yoruba people. The Yoruba people are a large ethnic group that is native to West Africa. Amala was originally made from yams, but it has since been made from other starchy products like cassava and plantains. The Yorubas usually eat amala with ewedu soup and gbegiri soup.
Amala Health Benefits
Now that we know what amala is made of, let's discuss the health benefits of this popular Nigerian dish. Amala is a very healthy flour. Amala is a good source of dietary fibre, which is important for digestive health. Amala is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Some of the vitamins and minerals that amala contains are vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Amala is also low in calories and fat.
The nutritional benefits Amala adds to the body include;
-It helps in the regulation of blood pressure
-The dietary fibre present aids digestion
-The vitamins and minerals improve the immune system
-The antioxidants present scavenge harmful toxins
-It is a good source of energy
How is Amala Processed?
The yams, cassava, or plantains are peeled and then cut into small pieces. The pieces are then dried in the sun or in a dehydrator. Once the pieces are dried, they are ground into a powder using a miller or a grinder. The amala powder is then sifted to remove any large pieces.
How to Prepare Amala?
Amala can be eaten in a variety of different ways. The most common way to eat amala is with ewedu soup and gbegiri soup. To make amala, the powder is added to water while it is boiling and stirred continuously to give a consistent mix, and then packed as a dough. Once the amala is packed or dished, it can be eaten with ewedu soup, gbegiri soup and stew, which is popularly referred to as Abula.
To make ewedu soup and stew, you will need Ewedu leaves, Red palm oil, Onions, Tomato and pepper puree, Broth, Salt, Pepper, Crayfish, and Meat (beef, chicken, or goat meat).
Blend the ewedu leaves with a little water to make a puree. In a pot, boil the ewedu puree, add salt, and set aside. In another pot, fry the onions in the red palm oil until they are softened. Add the tomatoes and pepper puree and fry for a few minutes. Add the broth, salt, pepper, crayfish, and meat. Simmer until the meat is cooked through. Set aside also.
To make gbegiri soup, you will need Black-eyed peas or brown beans (peeled), Fresh pepper, Red palm oil, Ground crayfish, Knorr cubes, Salt, and Assorted beef (boiled). Soak the beans in water for 3-5 minutes and wash to peel the skin. leave the skin. Boil peeled beans with enough water until soft. Blend cooked beans in a blender for a smooth puree and set aside.
Place a large pot on medium heat, add palm oil and heat for about three minutes. Pour pureed beans in palm oil and add water if needed. Add the assorted beef and fresh pepper, and stir properly. Reduce the heat and leave to cook for about 10 minutes. Check the soup at intervals to avoid it from getting burnt.
Add the crayfish, knorr cubes and salt. Continue to cook until all ingredients are well combined. Check for seasoning and salt. When it is done cooking, serve Amala by pressing it on the plate, and then pouring some ewedu soup, gbegiri soup, and stew on it.
Amala can also be eaten with other soups like Okro soup, Egusi soup, and Vegetable soup. Amala can also be eaten with stews like Chicken stew, Goat stew, and Fish stew.
Things to Take Note of When Making Amala
Preparing amala is quite easy and fast, however, there are certain things to keep in mind when making amala so it does not have lumps — amala is best enjoyed when it is smooth throughout.
Stirring the amala into a smooth paste is the most difficult part of making amala. If it is not stirred constantly, it could develop lumps. So, stirring throughout the preparation is one easy hack to have a lump-free amala.
Make sure the water or the flour is not more than the other, they have to be equal to first be evenly mixed before further heating brings it to the dough stage. Most times, expertise helps one know how to measure the water and flour, but if you are not an expert, it is better to take from the boiling water, turn the flour into the water left in the pot, and then add more water immediately when you notice the powder is still more.
Make sure amala is prepared on LOW HEAT, so it does not burn through before it is even done cooking. Boiling the water can be done on medium heat though.
How to Store Amala?
Amala powder can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to six months.
Where to buy Elubo (Amala flour)
Elubo can be bought from your local markets or in an African supermarket. It can also be bought on an African online store. If you are in the UK, and you are looking for an African grocery store to get your amala flour, you can try us at Niyis. niyis.co.uk is an online African and Caribbean grocery store that offers quality grocery and household items from ethnicities around the world, at affordable prices. Shop with us today.
Amala is a popular food in Nigeria and it is made from yam flour. It can be eaten with soup or stew and it is usually served with ewedu soup, gbegiri soup, and beef stew. Amala is best enjoyed when it is smooth throughout and it can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to six months. Amala can be bought from your local markets or in an African supermarket. It can also be bought on an African online store. Visit our store to get your elubo and other grocery items.