Filing this under food therapies. I’ve called this soup Ofe Assorted because that is what it is, I’ve used the basic principle for cooking soups like Oha, Onugbu, Ofe owerri to make this soup, using 3 of my favourite vegetables together. I have also resisted the temptation of calling this soup Ofe Owerri as I have no intention of offering the “Guardians of ancient recipes”, as that is tantamount to offending the gods of the land.
I have stayed a safe distance from entering right smack into the controversy of what vegetable goes into Ofe Owerri. I understand the importance of preserving ancient recipes, if you must tweak it, by all means mention that you put a spin on it but don’t say that is gospel.
I’m a Yoruba girl raised in Ibadan and I know that something as simple as a Ewedu soup has to be made as simple as it is yo stay true to it. Just Ewedu, iru water, salt ,seasoning and if you want to add potash to soften it. Addition of Egusi , fish and all what else is a spin on it, don’t sell it as the original recipe.
1 1/2 cup shredded Oha leaves
1 cup shredded Uziza leaves
1/2 cup shredded Utazi leaves
1 litre Stock
3 tbsp fresh pepper blend
1/2 Cup Palm oil
Assorted Meats (cooked)
3 tbsp ground crayfish
1/2 cup mini snails
1/2 cup periwinkle in shell
1/2 cup shredded Stockfish
1/2 cup shredded Bonga fish
1/2 cup shredded smoked Eja Osan
2 Bouillon cubes (I used knorr)
1 tsp Ogiri (optional)
1 tbsp dried Achi
Salt (to taste)
Cook your assorted meats till they are tender and you have about 1 litre of rich stock. To improve the flavour of your stock for this soup add some Stockfish or smoked fish head while cooking your meats.
Add your fresh pepper blend and palm oil, ground crayfish and cook for about 10mins.
Next add your smoked fish, stockfish, snails and periwinkle , cook for about 5 – 7 mins.
Add your achi , stirring it in carefully . Cook on medium heat for about 3 mins.
Add your vegetables, giving the Utazi and Uziza a 2 minutes head start before the Oha.
Turn the heat off after cooking it for about 5 mins.
This recipe is courtesy of an amazing lady i met on facebook, Ngozi Ogwuegbu Nnopuechi. She made the “awesomest” Ugba Salad for a hangout some time back and she was kind enough to share her recipe with me when i asked her. This is a shout out to her. I sent her a picture of my first attempt below.
2 Cups Ugba,
3 Uziza leaves sliced thinly ,
4 Utazi leaves sliced thinly,
1/2 tsp Powdered Crayfish ,
Ehuru (2 seeds ground finely),
1 tsp Potash,
1/4 cup Palm Oil,
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste preferably cayenne pepper)
*Garden Eggs optional
Soak your stockfish in hot water until the fish is tender. Rinse your ugba thoroughly , some people prefer to wash it with warm water and salt.
To make the base, heat up your palm oil in a pot or wok. Dissolve the potash in 1 tbsp Water. Pour the dissolved potash into your heated oil. The oil will froth and cuddle, turn down the heat and stir well.
Once base is done add Ehuru it has a strong aroma and salt
Add the Stockfish, Ugba and then pepper crayfish seasoning
Add the thinly sliced Uziza leaf and utazi leaf and you’re done
You can serve with smoked fish or fried fish. I experimented with dodo (Fried Plantian) and it was absolutely delicious.
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.
– 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.
Anytime I see Afang Soup, it brings back fond memories of my first year in University. Brief story. I was allocated to Obafemi Awolowo Hall at the University of Ibadan, how I got there is a story for another. My roommates in F49 made my year really memorable. Unfortunately I have lost touch completely with all the ladies whom I know sadly by only their first names, I can’t recall the last names. Chinasa, Olatunde and the hardly ever around Motunrayo.
Anyway, Chinasa was engaged to wonderful Calabar man called Victor. He loved to cook and his soups were the truth. Each time he came to school to visit his woman , he never came empty handed, he also came with a pot or two. My first ever encounter with Afang soup was from Victor. He brought his lady a pot of Afang one time she fell ill and the rest of us also descended on it like locust and devoured it. That was the day I fell in love with Afang!