Amala (Oka): Preparation and Nutritional Value
Amala is a morsel-like food which when combined with gbegiri (beans soup), ewedu (jute) and stew completes a palatable dish called Abula. It is one of the most popular traditional food in Nigeria. Because it’s in solid form, it is called “swallow”. Other typical swallows include; Fufu, iyan, eba, semolina, wheat, etc.
Amala is prepared with white yam or plantain flour. A tuber of white yam is cleaned, peeled, cut into tiny pieces and then sun dried. When sun dried, it turns brown and retains it’s brownish colour until it’s ground into powder, this powdered form of white yam is known as “yam flour “.
Yam flour is commonly produced and eaten by Yoruba Clan. Yorubas refer to yam flour as “elubo”.
Since yam flour is made from yam itself, it contains same nutrients as the yam and even more because in this case the yam peel is ground together with the yam flesh to make yam flour……
The beautiful thing about amala is that, it is super easy to prepare and is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Nutritional benefits of Amala
The following are the benefits which can be derived from regular Amala consumption;
Calcium : It helps in building stronger bones and teeth while supporting skeletal structure and function. It also plays a vital role in muscle contraction, cell signaling, blood clotting and proper functioning of the nervous system.
Zinc : Zinc is necessary for sense of smell and taste. It also helps to defend the immune system against infection and diseases. It promotes sperm motility and heals wounds.
Iron : Helps our muscles store and use oxygen, hence, if one’s body does not have enough iron, it cannot produce enough healthy oxygen-carrying red blood cells.
Copper : Helps make melanin, bones and connective tissue. It also helps keep the blood vessels, bones, nerve and immune system healthy. It also aids iron absorption.
Magnesium : Magnesium is needed in the body system to stay healthy. It helps in the regulation of muscle, blood sugar level, blood pressure and nerve functions.
Potassium : Helps maintain the balance of acids and bases in the body.
Cooking time : 20 minutes
- Boil 450cl of water in a cooking pot (may be less or more), depending on the quantity of yam flour to be prepared. Ensure the boiling water has bubbles, take out some hot water from the boiling water.
- With the use of turning stick, immediately, begin to turn yam flour in boiling water in circular motion to prevent it from getting lumpy.
- When a smooth paste is achieved, continue to add yam flour while still turning. Add water or/and yam flour when necessary to achieve your preferred thickness.
- Allow to cook on low heat for 5 minutes, then bring down from heat and Continue to turn until a smooth, lump-free and fluffy Amala is formed.
Preferably served with gbegiri & ewedu soup with stew, egusi soup and other kinds of soup……