Uncommon Stories

Alibo: The Yam Flour

Alibo: The Yam Flour

Before the war, Alibo (Yam flour) was a common food in the eastern part of Nigeria. They made it from yam. They sliced the tubers into pieces and allowed them to dry up. After, they would be ground to flour. This made it easier for storage and more secure. By so doing, they secured the damaged tubers or yams that were near spoiling.

This practice continued until the Nigerian – Biafra war started. When the war became intense, some families invented a new formulation for Alibo. The rich stuck to the normal peeling off the bark of the tubers before processing, but the have-nots picked those barks, dry them up and ground them into flour.

They prepare Alibo just like semo. While the boiling water is still on the fire, the Alibo is poured into the water and stirred with a wooden spatula until they achieve the soft solid formation. Unlike the regular, the latter recipe was too sticky and dark. The sight of it was less appetizing.

But during the war, the poor went around picking yam peels and converting them to Alibo. They then associated the dark meal with the extremely poor. After the war, businesses sprang up in the South East of Nigeria. Things got better and the consumption of the peels became outdated.

Research On Yam Peels

Recent research proved that yam peels are rich in fiber and are antioxidants that can help support a healthy gut and prevent chronic disease. Their ability to increase the feelings of fullness makes them a suitable meal for weight loss.

But since this invention was a product of necessity, no one took his time to study the meal that saved those in peril.

In a country like Nigeria, where we are battling with food insecurity and booming population, finding out the alternative uses of our food wastes will be of benefit. Besides, just like creative art, foods can be stumbled upon.

Ozii Baba, a TedX Speaker, is an Onitsha-based storyteller and social entrepreneur. He works directly with children and young people.

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