I’ve had this recipe sitting in my draft for a while now. Asides being plagued with a bad phone, I have been very preoccupied. I’m not from the south eastern part of Nigeria but more often that not, people ask me if I’m igbo, probably due to my fair skin.
I love soups from the south east of Nigeria, that doesn’t mean I’d give up my love for Ewedu and Gbegiri any time soon. Nsala soup asides being great with starchy accompaniments, it is spicy and perfect for a cold rainy day or as a remedy for a flu.
• Cat Fish: 4 one-inch thick pieces
• Fresh or dry Utazi Leaves
• Thickener: White Cocoyam/ White Yam / Yam Powder / Potato Puree or Achi
• Scotch Bonnet (Ata Rodo/ Habanero peppers). I like to use Yellow and Red using more of Yellow.
• Salt (to taste)
• Crayfish (a handful for 4 cuts of fish)
• 1 bouillon cube
• Ogiri Okpei
– Wash properly and cut the catfish into 1 inch thick cylindrical discs and remove the intestines.
– Place in bowl and pour very hot water on the fish. This process of pouring hot water on the fish toughens the
skin of the fish so that the pieces do not disintegrate while cooking the soup. Leave for about 2 minutes and wash the fish with cold water. You should also wash off any slimy
substance on the outer skin of the fish at this time. (See Tips for cooking catfish )
– Boil a few cubes of cocoyam. When soft, pound with a mortar and pestle till a smooth
paste is formed, then set aside. I use a blender because it is faster and I get a smooth puree.
You can substitute white yam with yam powder , cocoyam powder or potato
puree for the thickening.
– Wash and pound/blend the utazi leaves, the chilli pepper and the crayfish and set aside.
Utazi is bitter in taste and only used for flavouring so one or two leaves should be enough especially when using the fresh leaves.
– Place the catfish in a pot and pour enough water to cover the fish. Add the seasoning and
cook till done. Feel free to add dry fish to this soup recipe.
– When the catfish is almost done, add the crayfish, pepper and utazi leaves blend. Also add
the yam paste in small lumps and salt to taste.
– Cover the pot and allow the contents to cook at high heat till all the yam paste have
dissolved.While cooking, if you think that the yam paste will make the soup too thick, you
can remove some that are yet to dissolve.
Your Ofe Nsala is ready to eat alone or with a starchy accompaniment e.g Eba, Semo, Pounded yam e.t.c