Amala Recipe from Niger - Flour and Water Dish


Amala Recipe from Niger - Flour and Water Dish
Region / culture: Niger | Servings: 4



Amala is a traditional West African dish, particularly popular in Nigeria, where it is considered a staple in many households. This dish is made from yam flour, known locally as elubo, which is derived from dried yams that are then ground into a fine powder. The result is a smooth, stretchy dough that is served with a variety of soups and stews. Amala is cherished for its unique texture, flavor, and the nutritional benefits it offers, making it a beloved meal among many.


The history of Amala dates back several centuries in West Africa, where yams have been a fundamental part of the diet. The process of making yam flour by drying and grinding yams was developed as a means to preserve yams and make them last longer. Over time, this led to the creation of Amala, which became a popular meal due to its simplicity, nutritional value, and the fact that it could be paired with a wide range of soups and stews.


  • Approximately 6 cups of elubo (amala flour)
  • Approximately 4 cups of water

How to prepare

  1. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Gradually add the elubo while stirring.
  3. Continue adding until desired thickness is achieved (you may not need all of the elubo).
  4. Once all the elubo is added, keep mixing until the texture is smooth and consistent.


  • While the traditional Amala is made from yam flour, variations include using plantain flour or cassava flour, which offer different flavors and nutritional profiles. These alternatives can cater to personal preferences or dietary needs.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To achieve the perfect consistency and texture of Amala, it is crucial to stir continuously and vigorously as you gradually add the elubo to boiling water. This prevents lumps from forming. Starting with a wooden spoon and then switching to a more robust cooking stick can make the stirring process easier. Additionally, the water should be boiling hot to ensure the flour cooks properly, and adjusting the water or flour as needed can help achieve the desired thickness.

Serving Suggestions

Amala is traditionally served with a variety of soups and stews, such as ewedu (jute leaf soup), gbegiri (bean soup), and ogbono (wild mango seed soup). These accompaniments provide a balance of flavors and nutrients, making for a wholesome and satisfying meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in making Amala is the continuous stirring required to achieve a smooth, lump-free dough. This requires some physical effort and the use of a sturdy cooking utensil to withstand the thickness of the mixture as it cooks.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those unable to find yam flour, substitutes like plantain flour or cassava flour can be used. Each will result in a slightly different flavor and texture but will still provide a similar culinary experience.

Make Ahead Tips

Amala is best enjoyed fresh and does not lend itself well to being made ahead of time due to its tendency to harden as it cools. However, the flour can be measured, and the water boiled in advance to speed up the cooking process when ready to eat.

Presentation Ideas

Amala is traditionally served in a mound with the soup or stew poured around it or in a separate bowl. Garnishing the soup with chopped scallions, cilantro, or slices of chili can add color and enhance the presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

In addition to the soups and stews mentioned, Amala pairs well with a variety of meats, including goat, beef, and fish. Pickled vegetables or a fresh salad can also complement the meal by adding a crisp texture and acidity to balance the flavors.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

If there are leftovers, Amala can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. To reheat, add a little water to the Amala to help it regain its soft texture, and warm it over low heat, stirring continuously until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A serving of Amala is relatively low in calories, with the exact count depending on the serving size. However, as with fats, the total caloric intake of a meal including Amala will be influenced by the soup or stew it is served with.


Amala is primarily composed of carbohydrates, as it is made from yam flour. A serving of Amala provides a significant amount of the daily carbohydrate needs, offering energy for daily activities. The exact carbohydrate content can vary depending on the specific type of yam used and the serving size.


Amala itself is very low in fats, making it a suitable option for those managing their fat intake. However, the overall fat content of a meal that includes Amala will depend on the accompanying soup or stew, as these are often made with oils or fatty meats.


While Amala is not a significant source of protein on its own, it is typically served with protein-rich soups and stews made with beans, fish, meat, or poultry, thereby contributing to the protein content of the meal.

Vitamins and minerals

Yams, and consequently Amala, are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, and manganese. These nutrients play various roles in the body, including supporting the immune system, energy production, and bone health.


Amala is gluten-free and does not contain common allergens such as nuts, dairy, or soy, making it suitable for individuals with these allergies. However, those with specific food sensitivities should consider the ingredients of the accompanying dishes.


Overall, Amala is a nutritious food that provides carbohydrates for energy, is low in fat, and can be part of a protein-rich meal when served with the appropriate soups or stews. It also offers various vitamins and minerals beneficial to health.


Amala is a versatile and nutritious dish that plays a significant role in West African cuisine. Its simplicity, combined with the rich flavors of the soups and stews it is served with, makes it a beloved meal. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or explore variations, Amala offers a delicious way to experience the culinary traditions of West Africa.

How did I get this recipe?

I recall the feeling of curiosity that washed over me when I found this recipe for Amala. It was many years ago, when I was just a young girl eager to learn the art of cooking from my own grandmother. She was a wise and skilled woman, with a vast repertoire of recipes passed down through generations. One day, as we were going through her old recipe book, I stumbled upon a worn and tattered page that caught my eye.

The recipe was for Amala, a traditional Nigerian dish made from yam flour. I had never heard of this dish before, but the ingredients and instructions intrigued me. As I read through the recipe, my grandmother noticed my interest and smiled knowingly.

"Ah, Amala," she said, her eyes sparkling with memories. "That was a recipe I learned from a dear friend many years ago. It is a dish that holds a special place in my heart."

I begged her to teach me how to make it, and she agreed. Over the next few days, we gathered the ingredients and set to work in the kitchen. My grandmother's hands moved with precision and grace as she showed me how to peel, chop, and cook the yam. She explained the importance of patience and attention to detail in creating the perfect Amala.

As the dish simmered on the stove, filling the kitchen with its rich aroma, my grandmother shared stories of her friend who had first introduced her to Amala. She described the joy and laughter they shared while cooking together, and the delicious meals they had enjoyed.

I watched in awe as my grandmother transformed the yam flour into a smooth and velvety Amala. She showed me how to serve it with a traditional Nigerian stew, made with tomatoes, peppers, and spices. The flavors mingled together in a symphony of taste, creating a dish that was both comforting and satisfying.

As we sat down to eat, my grandmother's eyes twinkled with pride. "You have learned well, my dear," she said, patting my hand. "Cooking is not just about following a recipe, but about love and memories shared with those we care about."

That day, I not only learned how to make Amala, but I also learned the true meaning of cooking - a way to connect with my heritage, my family, and my roots. I have since passed this recipe down to my own children and grandchildren, sharing with them the joy and love that comes from cooking together.

Whenever I make Amala now, I am transported back to that kitchen with my grandmother, surrounded by the smells and sounds of a meal made with care and affection. It is a dish that holds a special place in my heart, just as it did for her friend so many years ago.

And so, every time I make Amala, I am reminded of the bonds that tie us together, the memories that we create, and the love that we share through the simple act of cooking. It is a recipe that will always hold a special place in my heart, a connection to my past and a promise for the future.


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