Àmàlà is a Nigerian food made out of yam flour and/or cassava flour. Yam flour is yam that has been peeled, sliced, cleaned, dried and then blended into a flour, also called elubo. Yam is white in color but it turns into a brownish color after it has been dried; this gives àmàlà its thick brown color. Àmàlà is derived from Western Africa and is eaten mostly by the Yoruba people in Nigeria. It could be served with a variety of ọbẹ (soup), such as ẹfọ(Vegetable), ilá(Okro), efo elegusi, ewédú, ogbono or gbegiri (black-eyed beans soup).
There are two types of àmàlà: àmàlà isu and amala lafun.
Yam flour (àmàlà isu)
This is the most common type of àmàlà. The flour used is derived from yam. Yam, a common name for species in the genus Dioscorea, is grown in Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Oceania and Latin America. 95% of yam is cultivated and harvested in West Africa. Yam can be barbecued, roasted, fried, grilled boiled, smoked and grated. Àmàlà isu is made with yam flour that has been dried; this gives it a black/brownish color when added to boiling hot water. Amala is high in carbohydrates and packs a lot of calories.
Cassava flour (àmàlà láfún)
The second type is àmàlà láfún, which is derived from cassava flour. Cassava is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. Cassava, along with yam, is the most important source of food carbohydrate in Nigeria; making Nigeria the world’s largest producer of cassava. Cassava flour when dried and powdery can be used to make àmàlà láfún. When it is fermented and flaky it is called garri (another common Nigerian cuisine). Àmàlà láfún is made with cassava flour that has been dried; this gives it a light brown color when added to hot water. It has more of starch, when it breaks down the end product is glucose. It is mostly eaten by the Egba people in Nigeria.
Plantain flour (Amala ogede)
Another type of Amala is amala/elubo ogede. The low carbohydrate level in the plantain flour makes a good food for diabetic patients and other illnesses that require less of carbohydrate food. It is also light hence it quickly digest. As a result of being easy to digest, it helps weight lose. Unripe plantain is pealed dried and grated into flour and turned in boiled water to become amala ogede. it is light brownish in colour when prepared.
The only ingredient needed when making àmàlà is boiling water and either one of the two types of flour. Once the water has come to a boil, the heat is reduced. The flour is added and stirred until all the water is absorbed. More hot water is added, then the dough is left to simmer for approximately five minutes. Then the dough is pulled along with the water until desired texture. The pulling of the dough into a smooth paste is the most difficult part of making àmàlà.
Amala can be eaten with various types of soups, they are:
- Egusi soup: this is made out of thickened melon seeds and leaf vegetable
- Okro soup: this is made from okra
- Efo riro: this is made from vegetables and a mixture of meat, fish, e.t.c.
- Ogbono soup: this is made from ground ogbono seeds and a mixture of Stock fish, locust beans is added for garnishing.
- Gbegiri soup: this is made from dried beans