Oha soup is native to the South Eastern Nigeria. Oha (also spelt and pronounced as Ora) is a delicate vegetable and has a very unique flavour.
The first time I tasted Oha soup was 6 years ago in the restaurant of the High Court of the FCT. I had gone to court early that day and by lunch time I was famished, especially after sitting through all the proceedings, I was in the mood for something more exciting. Food is exciting, that is why I don’t miss practice. So back to my story, they had Oha on the menu, I had no idea what it was but I was willing to try. I was hooked!
I remember when I had my son, I came down with a bad flu, adjusting to my new life as a mum was stressful. My husband’s aunt made me a bowl of Oha Soup. That was the only food I could ingest, it worked like a charm and my appetite came back. I love Oha Soup.
• Oha leaves a handful
• Cocoyam – 8 small corms
• Red Palm Oil – 2 cooking spoons
• Assorted Beef meats
• Assorted dry Fish
• Fresh peppers (scotch bonnet / habenero /ata rodo)
• Salt to taste
• Crayfish (powdered)
• Bouillon Cubes
• 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (for the traditional taste but optional)
– Grind pepper and set aside.
– Wash and boil the cocoyam corms till soft.
Remove the peels and in a blender , blend to a smooth paste you can also use a mortar and pestle , that is the more traditional approach.
– Wash oha leaves. Using your fingers, cut the Ora (Oha) leaves into tiny pieces. It is said that this technique is to prevent the vegetable from becoming darker in colour which happens when you cut the ora leaves with a knife. I’ve tried cutting oha with a knife and it didn’t turn dark, but then o cut and used immediately. I’d say whatever rocks your boat. Set it aside.
– Season and boil the meats, when then are tender add stock fish and dry fish.
– Add the pepper, ogiri Igbo and ground crayfish and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cocoyam paste in small lumps and then the palm oil.
– Cover the pot and leave to cook on high heat till all the cocoyam lumps have dissolved. You can add more water if you feel that the soup is too thick. * Remove smoked catfish Ifyou are using any at this point to prevent disintegration
– Add the oha (ora) leaves and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
Serve with your favourite starchy side dish.