Achu and yellow soup

HOW TO MAKE ACHU AND YELLOW SOUP

Hello friends, today I am updating a very important recipe on the blog! It is Achu and Yellow Soup and it is so tasty. Now, this might look very strange to some of you and that’s okay. I can only imagine how this meal would have looked to me if I didn’t know it. But this is Achu – pounded cocoyams with a traditional yellow soup. It is my father’s heartbeat, his traditional meal. He hardly goes a week without devouring a plate of this, loaded with meat and lots of hot pepper. After that, he would sit in the parlor (living room), toothpick in mouth, legs crossed, discussing “political issues.” Ha!
Achu soup - Precious Core

Achu is the traditional meal of a number of villages in the North West region of Cameroon. It is the specialty of the Bamenda or “Bamda” people as I like to say. It is also widely eaten by the Bamilekes in the western region of the country. Another name for yellow soup is “Ndza Nikki.” In French, it is known as “sauce jaune”.

The meal starts with some nicely boiled cocoyams (taro), which are then pounded into the Achu fufu (a whitish paste). The pounded cocoyam is eaten with either a black soup made with cocoyam leaves (and sometimes groundnuts/peanuts) or a yellow soup. It is mostly eaten with the yellow soup which made up of “kanwa” (limestone), palm oil and a special blend of spices. In the absence of kanwa, I use baking soda because it has a component that is also present in limestone. Science-inclined people will understand this better. I am not one of them.

Now there has been an argument at home and abroad that kanwa is not good for health. So many people resort to making an alternative to kanwa called “Nikki” It is achieved by burning peels of plantains for a long time to achieve an ash-looking substance.  That’s what I used in this recipe but you will find me using baking soda in the video.

Ingredients for achu soup
Some ingredients for achu soup: achu spices, nikki and palm oil

The spices used in making achu soup are many and I do not know all of them. Traditionally, some are roasted then ground to a powder on a grinding stone.

To go the easy way, I purchase the premade spice blend. If you live abroad, you can get that from an African store – most likely an African store owned by a Cameroonian. If you can’t find it to buy, your best bet will be asking someone travelling from Cameroon to bring some for you. Or you could beg a friend for some. I beg friends here for spices all the time (the Nikki was given to me by a friend). No shame in that. When you are in the ‘abroad’ with limited access to authentic ingredients from home, you gotta beg!

Beef and stock for Cameroonian Achu soup

Making the soup is quite easy. You simply combine some beef stock with all the ingredients and mix until everything is well incorporated. The soup is not “cooked” on heat but rather “mixed.” Traditionally, it is mixed to perfection by pouring the soup from one pan to another over and over. Or by scooping the soup with a bowl and pouring back into the pot until it is well mixed. Well mixed here means the stock must not seperate from the oil. They have to marry and be one happy family. They must be one and indivisible.

Now I do not go down that traditional road at all. I simply pour my meat stock and every other ingredient minus the meat into a blender and pulse to perfection. I pour the soup back into the meat and mix. It is much easier and effective that way. Thank God for blenders!

Achu Soup

Achu soup is light and has a rich ethnic flavour: spicy, flavourful and hot if pepper is included. It is literally finger-licking good especially as the meal is eaten with the hands. No cutlery needed here. You just have to wash your hands and dig in!

Achu and yellow soup recipe - Precious Core

It is served in a very special way. A mound is formed on the plate with the pounded cocoyams then a hole is bored in the middle of the mound. That hole is where the soup is poured in. Achu is figuratively called, “one finger round the world” because you eat it by moving your finger round the pounded cocoyam mound and dipping it into the soup (you can watch me eating some in the video below.)

Achu and Yellow Soup

Growing up, I didn’t like this because I thought it was “boring contri food.” Now that I am older and wiser, oh man, I can never have enough! What was I thinking?? Sometimes I just want to drink up the epic soup. Besides, making achu just connects me to my Dad in a special way. Food awakens different emotions in us and to me, this spells HOME.

Pair your Achu meal with Egusi Pudding or Njama Njama and you are in for a treat!

Let’s cook!

 

4 from 1 vote
Achu and yellow soup recipe - Precious Core
Print
Achu and Yellow Soup
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

This is a Cameroonian traditional meal: pounded cocoyams eaten with a light yellow soup. It is intensely spicy - filled with ethnic flavours.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cameroonian
Servings: 8 people
Author: Precious of preciouscore.com
Ingredients
For the Achu Soup
  • 3 pounds boiled meats/fish of choice (I mostly make a blend of beef, beef skin (canda), beef tripes (towel), smoked/fried fish and mushrooms)
  • 4 cups beef stock (from the beef above)
  • 1/2 cup palm oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda (or kanwa/nikki)
  • 2 teaspoons powdered achu spices
  • 2-4 small seasoning cubes (Maggi)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 hot (scotch bonnet) pepper - optional
For the Achu
  • 4 pounds small cocoyams (taro) - you could add in achu banana (unripe bananas) and some large cocoyams if you so wish
Instructions
To make the achu soup
  1. Warm palm oil in a skillet (frying pan) for about 1 minute. Do NOT bleach it.

  2. Pour the all ingredients except the meat and fish into a blender. Pulse until it is well mixed and yellowish. Taste to ensure that seasoning is perfect. Add a little salt if needed (I assume your beef stock is salted so you might not need to add a lot more salt).

    You might find some bubbles at the top of the soup. That is totally okay. Pour over the meat/fish and mix. Alternately, you could keep the meat seperately from the soup and put it on the side while serving.

    Serve with some achu!

To make the achu
  1. Wash cocoyams and place in a pot with skin on. If also using large cocoyams ("mami coco") and "achu banana", place the large cocoyams at the bottom of the pot then add in the small cocoyams and top with the bananas. 

  2. Boil until cocoyams are soft and the skin comes off easily.

  3. While they are still warm, peel and process to a paste in a food processor. Traditionally, they are pounded in a mortar but a food processor can do the job though it might not give you a very smooth paste.

    Again, if you are using "achu bananas", start by processing them first then mixing the banana with the first two batches of cocoyams so they remain warm.

  4. When it is all processed, place into a serving bowl and serve. You could also wrap the achu into lumps using warmed banana leaves or aluminium foil.

Recipe Notes

Achu soup keeps well for a couple of days.

To reheat, simply place the soup in a saucepan and warm it LIGHTLY, stirring from time to time. Do NOT let it get hot or boil the soup as the water will inevitably seperate from the stock. 

Achu soup thickens up when kept for a while so do not be surprised if you find it looking thicker than it was when just made.

If you make this, be kind enough to share a photo and tag me on Instagram @preciouscore.

Which meal connects you to home?pre-signature-pro

23 Comments

  1. If I ever have to cook achu I know where to look. Thank you for these videos and the effort put to transcript for the hearing impaired to benefit fully. keep them coming sis. But that achu nor… lef am!

  2. Awwww thank you for paying attention to the things I do!

  3. what is an alternative to the cocoyams? Where I live cocoyams are not available.

  4. Can you have access to cocoyam flour? I have seen little boxes of cocoyam flour that makes instant cocoyam fufu. Pounded yam flour could work well too.

  5. Can you please write out the recipe and the steps for the achu soup? I don’t know if it’s just me but the video went from you stirring the stock to you blending. I did not see when you added the oil or the achu spices. What quantity of achu spices are we to use? And how much oil? And how long should we blend? Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Maddie,
      You need 2 teaspoons of ground achu spices and half a cup of palm oil.
      So sorry about the video. I lost part of the footage so I had to write the instructions on the screen (which was equally not clear). But if you check the description part of the video, you’ll find more information there.
      I’ll eventually put up the full written recipe here.
      If you need any other thing, let me know.

  6. rachel hoskins

    hi where do I get the spice ( achu)

  7. rachel hoskins

    ANd thank you so much for all that you do

  8. rachel hoskins

    United States, state Oregon

  9. rachel hoskins

    There is one in Portland Oregon, I will try. I was asking cause I was hoping I could order it online.
    Thank you so much

  10. Oh boy, this looks just fantabulous! Lol! I’ve not had Achu in like a year I guess. My spices got finished. I asked mom to send me spices and guess what she did? She sent the spices separately and wrote a note saying ‘you need to learn how to mix these spice, if you need help, call me’. Needless to add that the spices have been sitting in my pantry, looking at me. But who know, I just my concoct something with those spices. Your soup looks really good!
    http://www.shapeupafrican.com

    • Hahahaha ah like me na ya Mami!
      Now go figure out those spices. I’m sure your soup will taste better with freshly ground spices.
      Thanks for the compliment sis!

  11. I have no idea what that soup tastes like but it looks wonderful. It’s making me feel adventurous
    Hmm Precious! If I should ever find myself in Minnesota.
    I like the soup in the middle of the Pounded coco yam.

  12. This soup looks complicated o, abi na for my eye?
    Pls invite me when next you are making it.
    Well done P.

  13. Pingback: Top 10 Africa’s Favorite Dishes| Africa Ranking, 2017 | Hobeyy

  14. I would love it if you could tell me where I could buy achu spice (I am in Green Bay, WI… so I’m sure it will not be here!).

    Also, the achu bananas…. can I use small green bananas, or is it really a specific varietal form Camer? Thanks!

    • Hi Kelsey, are there any African stores in your area? Specifically African stores owned by Cameroonians? You could get Achu spices from there.
      About the banana, you could totally leave that out and your Achu will taste great. If you really want to get it though, check Asian stores. They are labeled as “baby bananas” there. Hope this helps!

  15. Pingback: KWACOCO AND BANGA SOUP | Precious Core

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*