How to make cabbage swallow

Most of us who grew up in African households have inexplicable bonds with ‘swallow’. I do apologise if I’ve lost you – ‘swallow’ is the term used to describe the malleable ball of carbs, usually served as an accompaniment to a variety of vegetable and protein-filled soups and sauces.

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This is a West African staple, and is prepared from a variety of carbohydrate-rich sources : cassava, yam, plantain, semolina, rice etc. The problem with a regular intake of these kinds of swallow, is that while they are very filling, they have a high carbohydrate count of about 79g of carbs per 100g of cassava.

When eaten regularly, the body  repeatedly receives high doses of carbohydrates. It takes the carbs it needs, and converts this into fuel. The excess carbs are converted to glycogen for storage in the liver and muscles through a process called glycogenesis.  When the liver and muscles have had enough, any more carbs that you pump into the body results in extra glucose, which is then converted to fat and stored in places like your love handles and your belly.

To combat this problem, some clever person has devised a way to swap carb-heavy ‘swallow’ for vegetables. This means that you replace your carbs with veg and in essence you’re eating veg with veg – genius! You can easily do this with any keto-compliant veg that you like the look of (some people prepare this with eggplants, instead of cabbage), a small affordable hand blender like the one pictured below and some psyllium husks. The psyllium husks are the magic ingredients. Beside binding the pureed vegetables together, but they also help to keep you full, while adding the necessary fibre to your diet.

Here’s how to prepare your cabbage swallow:


  • 1 medium cabbage
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of psyllium husks


  1. Chop the cabbage into small pieces
  2. Place cabbage pieces in a sauce pan, cover with water and boil for 10 mins
  3. Drain water from cooked, softened cabbage and blend with a hand blender
  4. Add a teaspoon palm oil for colour (optional)
  5. Add 2 – 3 table spoonfuls of psyllium husks per medium cabbage
  6. Keep blending with the hand blender until the mixture reaches a suitable texture

I have started using this Kenwood food processor for this, and it is absolutely amazing. All I have to do is ‘load’ my cooked cabbage into the processor and blend to a pulp. This probably only takes around 1 – 2 full minutes. I start adding psyllium through the aperture and the processor mixes and turns the whole mixture until it becomes a little hard. That’s it! Here’s a video of me using it to make my swallow in 1 minute:

If you want to purchase this exact one, you can get it on Amazon below for around £39

Comments (21)
  • Keto life style

    • It’s the best!

  • Pls i’m a resident of lagos @Akoka to be precise. I really need husk for my swallow. Tnx

    • Hi Joke,

      We are working on a way to sell this easily. For now, we are doing a giveaway if you join our newsletter.

  • Very good for obesity

    • You’re right – and it’s also an excellent way for diabetics to control their blood sugar

  • What’s this psyllium husk. Don’t know what it is and where to get it

    • Hi Goodness,

      Psyllum husk is a type of fibre made from plant seeds which are native to India. You can find it in health food shops or on Amazon:

  • Very good

    • Thanks, bro!

  • I like this page

    • Thanks, Nkechi! We like you too 🙂

  • Is there nothing local that can be used to substitute psyllium husk? What of unripe plantain flour?

    • Hi Susan,

      Thanks for your question. You definitely can’t use platain flour as it is too starchy, and will kick you out of ketosis. I have however heard some people use ogbono and stay in ketosis, so it might be worth a try.

      All the best, and let me know how you get on!

  • Can coconut flour or husk be used in place of psyllium husk?

    • Hi Chisalem,

      Actually Psyllium husks acts as a binding agent, so ideally whatever you use to replace it must be able to bind the flour together (as coconut flour does not bind at all. Some people use ogbono and find that it works effectively, so you could try that.

      Hope this helps

  • The video stopped at the blending stage. How do you make the pulp into a swallow? Do you mix in hot water like you do semo or amala?

    • Hi Funmike,
      I was adding psyllium husks through the gap at the top of the blender and this is what thickened the pulp into a swallow. Hope this helps

  • Great job. I want to join this keto Niger family. Thanks for the educative info

    • Thanks, Nonye. Our aim is to help you achieve your weightloss goals!!

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