Atama Soup

Atama soup is a traditional soup that originates from the Efik people of Cross river state. Some of the unique ingredients includes atama leaves and palm fruit.

You need meat too and periwinkles. You can use any kind of meat, beef, chicken etc.

I used cow head in this recipe and it turned out lovely.

Unlike most other Nigerian soups that are made with palm oil, this particular soup is made with palm sauce, just like banga soup and banga soup.

I have listed the complete ingredients for atama soup below.  

Atama Soup Ingredients

8 cups palm fruit (banga)
200g Dried fish (mangala)
Atama Leaves
1kg/2.2lb meat (cow head)
1/2 cup crayfish
2 seasoning cubes
3 cups unshelled periwinkles
5 scotch bonnet peppers
Salt to taste

Serving: 6 people
Preparation time: 60 minutes.

Atama Ingredients

The photo above shows some of the major ingredients for making Atama soup.

1. Palm fruit (Banga)
2. Meat (cow head)
3. dried fish (mangala)
4. Atama leaves.

Atama soup is a traditional soup that originates from the Efik people of Cross river state. Lots of Nigerian are learning how to cook atama soup and enjoying every bit of it.

How to Make Atama Soup

Step 1
Boil the banga for 15 minutes and pound using a mortar and pestle. You are going to squeeze out the sauce the same way we do for banga soup and black soup.

Set the palm fruit sauce aside. It should be thick and about 8 cups.

This soup does not require extra thickener, hense the reason we use thick palm fruit sauce just like banga soup.

Step 2
Season the meat with a teaspoon of salt and two stock/seasoning cubes. I made this soup with cow head.

Step 3
Wash and slice the atama leaves. Transfer to a mortar and pound using a pestle. You don’t want it pount to paste.

Transfer to a bowl, and water, then wash and squueze 2-3 times. set aside.

Step 4
Wash the periwinkles severally. If you purchased them directly from Nigerian market, you will need to cut (trim) the pointed ends of the periwinkles using a blunt matchette.

Sometimes, if you ask, they do the trimming for you in the market for free.

Washed trimmed periwinkles severally until the water runs clear.

Step 5
Boil the periwinkles with just water and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes. No need covering the pot.

Wash again, set aside.


Step 6
Wash the dried fish using warm water, remove the bones. Add to the boiling meat on heat.

Add more water and continue to cook till the meat is soft and water is almost dried.


Let the meat/fish cook till the water is almost dried but not burnt. You can bit the meat to see that it is soft and easy to chew.

Step 7
Add the banga (palm fruit) sauce to the cooked meat and fish.


Let the soup boil and further thicken for another 5-8 minutes. Allow more time if it doesn’t thicken after this time.

Step 9

Taste your soup, add pepper, salt to taste, you can also add a seasoning cube.

Add the washed periwinkles, stir, allow 5 minutes, stir, then add the leaves. 

Atama Leaves

Stir and let it simmer for 3-5 minutes and your atama soup is ready. It should look just like the image below.

A delicious looking pot of abak atama

Pot of Soup

Serve with anyone of the Nigerian locally made swallows (eba, fufu or even pounded yam.

Don’t forget to leave a comment below.

Atama Soup

Atama Soup Recipe from The Efiks in Akwa Ibom State.

ffd843708f86963a9ffd4b59e8f23a1e?s=30&d=blank&r=gChef Chidi
Atama soup is delicious, I was totally hooked the first time I tried it. This recipe is easy and I believe anybody can follow it to replicate the exact image you are seeing. I used whole periwinkles in this atama soup recipe, if you like, you can use already shelled periwinkle or avoid it altogether in case you don't like it.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Nigerian Cuisine
Servings 6 People
Calories 539 kcal


  • 8 cups palm fruit banga
  • 200 g Dried fish mangala
  • Atama Leaves
  • 1 kg/2.2lb meat cow head
  • 1/2 cup crayfish
  • 2 seasoning cubes
  • 3 cups unshelled periwinkles
  • 5 scotch bonnet peppers
  • Salt to taste


  • To squeeze out the palm fruit (banga) sauce, you need to cook the banga with just water for 15 minutes. Pound with a mortar and pestle, then add water and squeeze out the palm sauce. It should be thick.
  • Then set aside, it should be about 8 cups.
  • Season the meat, wash and slice the atama leaves then transfer to a mortar and pound a little. Add a little water, then wash and squeeze the slimy juice, then set aside.
  • Trim the pointed ends of the periwinkle with a cutlass, they do this in most Nigerian local market. Then wash periwinkles severally till water runs clear. I like using unshelled periwinkles for atama soup, you can use the shelled ones if you like.
  • Boil the the periwinkles with just water and a pinch of salt
  • Wash again, set aside.
  • Wash the dried fish and add it to the boiling meat on fire. Cook them till they are soft and easy to chew.
  • Add the banga (palm fruit) sauce to the cooked meat/fish and bring to boil and thicken for the next 10-15 minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper and you can also add another seasoning cube if you like. Stir and taste. Add the atama leaves and you are done making atama soup.
  • Serve Atama soup and pounded yam or garri (eba)
Keyword Abak Atama, Atama soup,



5 Responses

  1. Atama is one of the best soups for the Efiks, I have grown to love this soup. I never knew how to make it till my adult life. I am Igbo and have been stock with Igbo foods only. Thanks for this

  2. 5 stars
    It was love at first sight, I didn’t know I will be loving foods from other ethnicity, first it was afang soup then Atama soup happened. I will be trying other foods from other ethnicities too.

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