Ofe Ugba

Ofe Ugba

Ofe Ugba
(Translation Ugba Soup)

I’ve often spoken about my love for Ugba. Ugba is also known by the following names, “Ukpaka” (Igbo) “Apara” (Yoruba) “Ukana” (Efik)

African Oil Bean Seed
Image credit Google.

Ugba is made from African oil bean seed (Pentaclethra macrophylla). The seeds are collected from pods, and boiled for several hours, to remove the seed shells, the softer seed cotyledons are boiled again for several hours, left to cool and then sliced thinly. Ugba is then salted and left to ferment for 3-5 days before it can be sold for consumption.

Ugba Slices.
These have been fermented and ready to eat. This is how they are sold in the open markets.

Ugba features in a lot of Eastern delicacies like Isi Ewu, Nkwobi, Ugba Salad, sometimes Abacha etc and of course Ofe Ugba. I’ve made Okra with Ugba a couple of times without even realising a was an actual delicacy, it was just me adding Ugba to everything because I like it.

Ugba taste like some sort of mushroom but with a lot more umami and umph.

Here is how to make Ofe Ugba

Recipe

Ingredients (the quantities were eyeballed, so please cook with your heart)

  • Ugba (ensure to rinse with warm water before using)
  • Chopped Okra (Okro)
  • Blended peppers of choice🌶 (avoid tomatoes and onions because the acidity can affect the viscosity of the okra)
  • Palm oil
  • Crayfish powder
  • Smoked fish
  • Stock fish
  • Assortment of cooked meats
  • Salt
  • Water
  • *Sliced vegetables (optional, however, you can add sliced Ugu, Utazi, Uziza, I recommend uziza because it is very flavourful)
  • *Seasoning cubes(optional)
  • *Ogiri (optional)

Procedure

  • Heat some palm oil in a pot, and add the blended pepper
  • Add cooked meats, smoked fish, stock fish, crayfish, ogiri, salt and seasoning cubes, and water.
  • Allow them to cook and boil together for at least 10 minutes with the lid of the pot on. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  • Add Okra and Ugba, stir properly into the soup, and turn the heat down to let it simmer for about 5 minutes with the lid off.
  • If using vegetables, add last,8 stir it in properly and turn the heat off after about a minute.
  • Serve with your accompaniment of choice

Let me say something real quick about the “swallow” I made to go with this soup. Late last night I remembered we used to have a neighbour several years ago who would pound Eba into pounded yam. I never tried it, but I thought to make it and try. A few people on my Facebook timeline said the reason people made it like that was to help new yam bind when it was made into pounded yam. A few also mentioned that in some culture Fufu is pounded into pounded yam to bind it make it more elastic. The mere suggestion had a couple of pounded yam purists clucking their pearls. Well, I’ve had it, it’s not altogether bad, but I won’t be having it again. No hard feelings

Fufu in the Nigerian context is a starchy mound made only with fermented blended cassava, it is not to be confused with Ghanaian fufu.
Eba/Pounded Yam combo.

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