In recent times I’ve done very little “cooking”, most meals have consisted of quick fixes, take outs or otherwise cooked by someone else. I had a rough start this year. Thankfully it’s been rough for the right reasons, Growth in my business Fontaine De Vie. Shortage of man power, break down of some machinery welcomed the growth, it was a gruelling time because we just had to meet up. I went from a production staff strength of 5 to 1 coupled with no domestic staff to help with the home front, I found myself borrowing more hours from the next day only to fall short. It’s amazing how my health didn’t fail in all of this. I made it through and I’m grateful for the lessons I learnt during the phase. Challenges are made to strengthen you, it won’t break you if you don’t let it.
Ofe Onugbu recipe is the same as that of Oha, only difference is the leaves, Oha and Onugbu (Bitter Leaf). I’m a yoruba girl who loves to cook eastern and south eastern soups, a little more pepper than the traditional requirement and I’m good!
• 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (for the traditional taste but optional)
– Grind pepper and set aside.
*If using Cocoyam
– 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.
Mashed Cocoyam using a blender
– Personally I buy, bitter leaves that have been washed in the market. However when I get home I pour boiling hot water over the bitter leaves and leave it steep for about a minute and strain, a friend advised I use salt to just wash it a little more instead of using hot water, to get rid of more of the bitterness. Now you may prefer to buy your own Bitter Leaf fresh , and wash from the scratch, I think it is tedious, but hey 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. Now add either Achi/Ofor powder mix or the cocoyam paste in small lumps then the palm oil
See Pictures below.
– 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 if you are using any at this point to prevent disintegration
– Add the washed Onugbu (bitter) leaves and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
* Ever since the Igbo woman who sells me spices adviced I use a combination of Achi and Ofor instead of Cocoyam, I have come to fall in love with it. The smoothness, the consistency, the taste, is so different from what I get with cocoyam. I love it.
Serve with your favourite starchy side dish. E.g Eba, Amala, Pounded Yam, even Rice.
Food should be an experience, one to be savored, explored, experimented with, played with and expressed.
I hope I can take you on different parts of my journeys with food through Ounje Aladun.
I'm Omolabake Bode-Matthew, a Foodie, Gardener, Entrepreneur ( I run a healthy beverage options company Fontaine De Vie), Mum, Wife, Lawyer by certificates lol, pretend art enthusiast, lover of good music, can't sing, can't dance...
And I welcome you to my blog.
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