Ugu & Kilishi Salad

Funke Koleosho's Ugu Kilishi Salad

My Ugu & Kilishi salad is pushing my foodie boundaries to the very least this would be what my Nigerian peeps would be thinking.....

But you only need to investigate and understand the character of Ugu leaves to know that there is logic in the matching. (Read more about ugu leaves here).

I have often heard remarks that Nigerian cuisine does not feature a lot of fresh vegetables. The truth though is, there is a lot of vegetables used but the difference when compared to other types of cuisines is that virtually all forms of vegetables used are cooked. I do not know of many dishes served with raw uncooked vegetables, except of course it its being used in a medicinal concoction.

 Ugwu & Kilishi Salad

In recent times, Nigerians will eat salads made from the common salad leaves such as lettuce....actually only lettuce. Other ingredients include carrots, cucumber and white cabbage. That's it. Nothing else. These were the only common or available salad ingredients.

After living in the UK for many years, I have become so used to eating salads. I love to enjoy those different tastes, textures and flavours that the individual ingredients bring to the salad. Then of course, the dressing.....aaahhhh the dressing makes the salad; in my opinion.

I find salads to be a really great food to eat to give the system a break from the high sugar, fat and carbs foods we normally have. So eating salads gave me a feeling that I am taking care of myself.... it gave me a feeling of well being!

Also salads were eaten mostly in the summer. Most of them were served cold. Eating cold salads has a really cooling effect on body least its what I thought. So I ask, why don't we eat alot of salads in Nigeria where it is always sunny and warm?

I don't think I know the answer to this question....but I can only guess that its got something to do with our unwillingness to change our diet and inability to be creative with food and try new things.....(just saying)

Anyway, here is an opportunity to start exploring the possibilities of creating salads with indigenous vegetables.... Make this salad and discover something really astounding in taste, Its fresh and earthy and full of goodness. I have used very basic ingredients this time but the possibilities are endless. Add bits of bacon or chicken with a rich dressing of your choosing......Enjoy

 Ugwu Salad

What you need
  • Young shoots of ugwu leaves
  • Cucumber
  • Carrot
  • Vinegar
  • Lime or lemon juice
  • Kilishi (Nigerian beef jerky) Instead of this you can use beef jerky or bacon or grilled chicken
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Good salad cream (or make your own basic dressing using virgin olive oil/coconut oil. salt. lime juice, black pepper)

What to do
  1. Ensure you pick only the very tender young shoots. These are not tough and are preferred because they possess more of the nutrients.
  2. First rinse the leaves thoroughly with fresh clean water to remove all traces of sand and other debris.
  3. Then thinly slice the leaves. The thinner the better. This aids chewing.. Rinse the leaves again in some water with added vinegar or lime juice. 
  4. Wash the carrots and cucumber then thinly slice then also. Best use a potato peeler to get the effect shown in the picture.
  5. Place the sliced ugwu leaves, sliced carrots and cucumbers into a large bowl. Toss all together. Cut into bits and add the kilishi. Add your salad dressing and toss all together to combine all ingredients. Serve.

 Ugwu & Kilishi Salad

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