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)

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Procedure

  • Grind pepper and set aside.

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  • 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.

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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.

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Ogiri

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  • 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.

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Serve with your favourite starchy side dish.

Afang Soup

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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!

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Ingredients

 •    1 kg Water leaf  (chopped)

•    200g  Okazi  (shredded)

•    Assorted Meats ( tripe, cow foot, ponmo, Beef, etc)

•    Assorted Dried and smoked Fish (Cod fish/Panla/Oporoko, Smoked Catfish)

•    *1 cup Periwinkle  (removed from shell) optional

•    2 tbsp Fresh Blended pepper  (preferably scotch bonnet i.e Ata Rodo, I used Cameroon Pepper)

•   1 tbsp Blended Crayfish

•    Bouillon Cubes

•    Salt

•    1/2  Cup Palm Oil

Procedure

–    Boil your meats with bouillon cubes and salt to taste. As the meat gets tender, add the smoked catfish, and  stock fish.

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–   While the meat cooks, pound or use a blender to blitz the shredded Okazi.

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–    Add the  roughly blended pepper

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–   Now add the crayfish and then palm oil image image

–    Allow to cook for about 5 mins and add chopped water leaves.

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–     Leave the pot uncovered  and allow to cook for 5 mins  then add the blitzed Okazi

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–    Stir in the Okazi. Once the Okazi goes in the water in the vegetable thickens a bit.

–    To avoid having watery soup, boil your meats with little or no water, because waterleaf already has high water content.

Enjoy with a starchy accompaniment. In this case 2 tone Eba.

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Creamy Surf Soup (Fisherman’s Soup)

The secret is out! I love seafood!! When Le Hubs and I were courting, he told me he believed he was allergic to seafood. The reasons he gave for believing so were quite vague. He’d eat fish and meals cooked with dried and smoked shrimps/prawns et al and he won’t react, it didn’t take long for me to realise it was just his mind because he didn’t particularly like what seafood except fish looked like. Needless to say, this right here is his favourite seafood soup, served with bread rolls. Last Night I served with Pani Poopo a Samoan Coconut Bread!

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This is soooooooo easy to make! !

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Recipe

Ingredients

•   1 kg  Fish (personal  preference Cod or Hake)

•   1 Kg Jumbo Prawns  (shelled and devined) •   Periwinkle *out of shell(le hubs is not a fan so I substituted with Snails)

•   Snails

•   Crabs

•   Calamari

•   1 Can Evaporated Milk

•   Seasoning Cubes

•   1/8 Cup Flour

•   20 g Butter

•   *1 tbsp vegetable oil

•   1 medium sized Onions

•   Stock (from the boiled fish)

•   4 Yellow Scotch Bonnet pepper (Milled) * You can use red but I love the heat and the flavour of this.  If you live in Nigeria, the igbo women who sell soup ingredients know it as fresh Cameroon pepper. If you live abroad you’d find yellow habenero pepper, please use only one, that pepper packs on too much heat for you to use more than 1

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Procedure

–   Make sure all your sea food and snail is properly washed and cleaned.

–   Season, boil, snail and fish. Debone and flake the fish

–   Chop onions

–   Melt butter in a pot on fire, add a liitle oil to prevent the butter from burning. If using margarine you don’t need oil.

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–   Add chopped onions and fry not to colour,  add flour to it and stir to make a white roux. (white roux is a mixture created by cooking flour and butter as a thickening agent).

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–   Remove roux from fire and pour hot  stock in it, making sure it does not form lumps, add more stock or water if too thick. If it forms lumps you can remove and sieve.

–   Put back on fire, allow to simmer for 10 mins when removing the scum then season  with salt, seasoning cubes, pepper and  evaporated milk

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–   Add snail, and all your seafood, leave to simmer for about 15mins and add flaked fish. Turn off the heat. Serve hot soup with bread rolls.

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Banga Soup

Finger licking goodness, a delicacy of the Deltans of the South – South of Nigeria. Made from creamy palm nut extract and brought to life by mix of exotic spices, and fresh water fish banga  soup is one King of a soup.

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One of my aunts had a Nanny, Mama Onome who would make a big batch of banga  soup and store in the fridge for us to eat. The woman made it look so easy to make, my first time making it especially since I was make the palm nut extract myself I realised how much work it was. You don’t have to make the palm nut extract, buy the canned ones. The rest is a breeze. See how good it looks, It tastes great too

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Recipe

Ingredients

•   3 Cups Palm Nuts

•   1.5 kg  Fresh Fish e.g Tilapia or Croaker (I used frozen Cod fish).

•   1 Oburunbebe Stick

•    I tbsp Scotch Bonnet  (less or more depending on how much heat you can take)

•    1 tsp Banga Spice (this a mixture of the exotic spices that make banga soup what it is, I won’t even attempt to spell the spices cause I would get it wrong)

•    Smoked Prawns

•    1 Cup properly washed and cleaned periwinkle in shell

•    Smoked Catfish

•    *Fresh Prawns (optional)

•    Stock Fish

•    1 tbsp dried crushed Bitterleaf  or Obeletientien   Leaves.

•    Salt and Bouillon Cubes to taste

Procedure

To make Palm nut extract.

▪Boil Palm nuts till the skin is tender and pliable.

▪In a mortar pound till the skin falls off from the kernel.

▪Add about 3 cups of  warm water and rinse the pulp, using a mesh seive,  strain the liquid and collect in a pot.

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To make Soup

–    Place Palm nut extract on heat , add the oburunbebe stick and allow it to heat up.

–    Add Blended pepper, stock fish, smoked fish, smoked prawns, banga spice, salt and seasoning. Bring it to boil.

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–    Add  Fresh fish and let it cook till done. Don’t use a spoon to stir the pot just shake it. Turn the heat down. Add washed periwinkles, fresh prawns if you are using any. Then add the crushed dried leaves, I used Obeletientien

* I learnt a tip when Dunni was in my kitchen not to over cook Banga after all the spices have been added as it tends to taste over salted.

•   You know your soup is ready when some oil starts to float at the top.

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Delicious like kilode!

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Starch and Banga Soup. Totally delish!

 

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