Ofe Oha

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 (Ora) soup was in 2009 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 in 2011, 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 spicy Oha Soup. That was the only food I could ingest, it worked like a charm and my appetite came back. I love Oha Soup.

Recipe
Credit; Allnigerianrecipes.com

Ingredients

• Oha leaves a handful

• Cocoyam – 8 small corms or Alternatively 1 1/2 tablespoon of ground Achi

• Red Palm Oil – 2 cooking spoons

• Assorted Beef meats

• Assorted dry Fish

• Fresh peppers (scotch bonnet / habenero /ata rodo) – i like the flavour of fresh Cameroon/Nsukka pepper so i use it. It’s yellow scotch bonnet-.

• Salt to taste

• Crayfish (powdered)

• Bouillon Cubes

• 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (for the traditional taste but optional)

image

Procedure

  • Grind pepper and set aside.

image

  • 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.

image

Blended cocoyam.

  • 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 i 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. If using achi, just stir it in, starting with 1 tbsp first. Achi is a thicken and it sometimes has a slightly slippery consistency.

image

Ogiri

image

image

image

image

  • 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 3 – 5 minutes with the lid off.

image

Serve with your favourite starchy side dish.

Imoyo Alatasuesue (Spicy Imoyo Stew)

Imoyo is a light watery fish stew. I’m hoping it did the stew enough justice while taking the pictures and editing it, i know i had to work on optics. So I’m wondering if it looks light and fluid enough in the pictures.

Well Imoyo is light and more runny than your regular rice stew, or beef stew.

I like my Imoyo stew to be a little spicy because i find that pepper helps to improve the flavour of fresh fish. I also like to cook my Imoyo with a combination of vegetable oil and palm oil, just because i like that.

Recipe

  • 1 litre blended pepper mix [Tomatoes/Tatashe (Red capsicum)/Ata rodo (red Scotch Bonnet)/Onion] {I use a ratio of 8:2:4 for the pepper mix and you can tweak the pepper quantity depending on how spicy you like it}
  • 1 small Onion
  • 1 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup Palm oil
  • 2kg Fresh Obokun (Blue Catfish) – you can use your own fish of choice.
  • Salt
  • Bouillon cubes
  • Stock (optional)

Procedure

  • Clean and salt your raw fish and set it aside while prepping for your stew. Doing this will allow the fish to be seasoned through before adding to your stew. Just salt is okay, no over the top marinate so as not to lose the flavour of the fish and even the flavour of the stew
  • Chop the small onion and set aside.
  • Set a clean dry pot on medium heat and heat up palm oil. As it heats up add the onions and allow it to fry till it sizzles, (you may take it out if you leave it till it crisps) . Add the vegetable oil and let it get hot.
  • Pour in the blended pepper mix. Season with salt and bouillon cubes (i will use 2 cubes)
  • Bring the stew to a boil, the oil and the stew will mix. If you have stock, add it now.
  • Cook on medium heat for about 20 mins with the lid of the pot on. If you cook with lid off, you’d lose steam and water will vaporize from the stew. Remember its a runny stew.
  • Now add your fresh fish, turn the heat down and let it cook for 10 mins with the lid on. Please taste your stew before you add the fish because, when you add raw fish (especially if it isn’t frozen) it can easily disintegrate in the pot.
  • Don’t stir, just shake the pot using it’s handles.
  • *It’s okay to add a little water if you find that your soup is starting to thicken.

Once cooked, turn the heat off. Imoyo gives definition to “Omi Obe “. It pairs well with Ewedu soup, okra soup, and can be eaten as a broth too.

Nkwobi

Nkwobi is a happy hour meal.

Busy as Lagos is, it has an interesting night life. After the stress of the hustle and bustle of the day, people seem to find a way to unwind after. Hence you’d find a lot of out door cool/happy hour spots and night bars scattered across the metropolis of Lagos. The city is a sort of melting pot for people of different ethnicities and culture across Nigeria, thus you’d find the influence of different cultures in the cuisine.
Popular amongst them is Isi Ewu, Nkwobi, Point and Kill Pepper, Asun, Suya which feature prominently on the menus of most outdoor (indoor too) night bars and cool spots.

There seems to be a sort of marriage with alcohol and spicy food, which might be responsible for there popularity. Personally I’ve found spicy food to be my alcohol antidote, once i start to feel light headed i hit it with something extra spicy.

Recipe

Ingredients

• Cow foot (cut into sizeable pieces, I used 12)

• 50 grams Stock Fish

• 20cl (200ml) Palm Oil or Palm nut Cream.

• *1 tablespoon powdered edible potash (Akanwu/Kaun/Keun) – you won’t need this if you are using palm nut cream-

•1 teaspoon ground Ehu seeds (Calabash Nutmeg)

• 2 tablespoons ground crayfish

• Yellow Scotch Bonnet / Habanero peppers (to your taste)

• 1 medium onion

• 2 big stock cubes

• Salt (to taste)

• Ugba

To garnish

• 1 medium onion

• 10 Utazi leaves

Procedure

– Wash and season your cow foot along with stock fish, and cook.

– Add the bouillon cubes (crushed) and the chunks of onion.

– Add a small quantity of water and start cooking at medium heat till well cooked. Add just enough water to prevent burning as you cook. There should not be any stock (water) in the pot when the meat is done. If the meat is tough, I’d recommend you cook with a pressure pot or just cook for longer. I prefer to use a pressure cooker to cook the cow foot as it can be tough.

– While the meat is cooking, pour the palm oil or crean into a clean dry pot.

* If you are using palm nut cream, skip the next 3 steps.

– Mix Potash with some water to dissolve and seive. Pour in the potash mixture (sieved) into the oil.

– Stir with a wooden spatula as you pour the potash. You’ll notice the palm oil begin to curdle and turn yellow.

– Keep stiring till all the oil has turned yellow.

– If you are using Palm nut cream ensure there is no water contained in the cream. To achieve this you can either use the canned ones or, after extracting your cream from the palm nuts, set it aside for the cream to collect at the top or put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes for the cream to set.

– Heat up the cream for about 5 minutes and proceed to the next step.

– Add the ground crayfish, pepper and ehu seeds. Stir very well till they are all incorporated.

– Add the well done meat and Ugba to the palm oil paste and stir very well with the wooden spatula.

– Leave it on heat till the Soup is piping hot, stirring all the time to make sure it does not burn.

– To prepare the garnish, cut the onions into rings and cut the utazi into long thin slices.

I served it traditional style in a wooden mortar
Add the thin slices of utazi and onion rings on top for the full effects.

Normally Nkwobi is served alone accompanied with alcohol or soft drinks but for some reason I also enjoy pairing it with white rice.

.