How To Prepare Ugba Sauce (Ukpaka Sauce)

Owolabi Oluwasegun
4 Min Read

I’m a food blogger and a professional dreamer, sometimes an artist but mostly a scientist. When the mood is right I get inspired to prepare a not too regular but traditional meal and whenever this happens, it tends to lift the spirits of those around which makes me glad every single time. Today I’d be going all traditional and since we’re in a festive mood ‘thanks to the holidays’, I’d be sharing with you one of my secret recipes which was passed through generations down to my momma and then me.

Whenever I prepare this dish, I usually make sure I have more than enough to go round because before I say ‘Dorougba’ the whole pot of sauce would have been emptied. You just can’t get enough of Ugba sauce once it’s served and like Oliver twist the fam would always ask for more. In the eastern part of Nigeria where it originates, it’s known either as ukpaka sauce (Anambra) or ugba sauce (Imo, Abia, Enugu) . I love using yellow pepper for this dish because of the unique flavor it adds to it but you could actually use any type of pepper in the preparation. Also, 200g of Ugba might look really small at first but when you combine the remaining ingredients and grind, the volume increases. Utazi is bitter on its own but most people love its appetizing taste (This should be added sparingly though). This sauce is mostly served with Boiled/Roasted yam or plantain. (Are you on instagram? Do follow me @dobbyssignature)

How to make Ugba/Ukana/Ukpaka sauce

• Prep Time: 15 minutes
• Cook Time: 15 minutes
• Total Time: 30 minutes
• Serves: 7



•200g Ugba (also Known as Ukpaka)
•1 medium sized smoked/ Dry fish
•2 Yellow scotch bonnet (also Known as Yellow pepper/ Nsukka pepper)
•4 Cooking spoon Palm Oil (Or Less)
•1 Cup whole crayfish
•1 Red Onion
•10 Utazi leaves “Gongronema latifolium”
•1 Seasoning Cube
•1/2 tsp. Salt


Step 1: Wash the smoked fish with clean water, remove the bone and gut, rinse clean and set aside. Peel the Onion skin, rinse and set aside. Rinse the yellow pepper and set aside.

ugba shrimp 1

Step 2: Rinse the Ugba 2-3 times with clean water and place in a blender. Add the smoked fish, yellow pepper, Onion and Crayfish.\

ugba step 2

Step 3: Blend everything together. It shouldn’t be smooth but chunky.

ugba step 3

Step 4: Pour the palmoil in a medium sized pot and heat it up on medium heat for about 2mins. Gently pour in the blended Ugba mixture into the oil.

ugba step 4

Step 5: Add the salt, crushed seasoning cube and stir. Cover the pot and leave to cook on medium heat for 15minutes.

ugba step 5

Step 6: While the sauce cooks, wash the utazi leaves. Place the leaves together and roll up. Cut off the stalk and discard. Then, chop the rolled up leaves into tiny slices and set aside.

ugba step 6

Step 7: Once the sauce is ready, Turn off the burner and serve the sauce with boiled or roasted yam or plantain sprinkled with chopped slices of utazi leaves.

ugba step 7

ugba step 8

Bon Appetit!

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