So i woke up to tend my vegetable garden, which i had left unattended for a about two weeks or a lil more. I wear many hat’s like many people and the month of April right to the first two weeks of May was very busy. First i got NAFDAC approval for my products FDVie Juice yaaay! Then we were vendors at the GTB Food and Drink fair , then renovation of the production facility , plus daily life!
So my garden was overgrown with Waterleaf! I remember my first attempt at planting waterleaf with seeds, i waited many months it didn’t yield until my staff told me to propagate using stems instead. Now the plant is in every pot in the garden, just dispersing its seeds. That means I’d be having a lot of waterleaf soups.
So after pulling out a lot of waterleaf yesterday, i made Edikang ikong
In a pot, season your meats with salt and bouillon cubes (to your taste) *Don’t* season with onion. Add water and cook till the meat is soft and tender. I usually cook my meats with smoked fish heads for rich flavour
When your meat is cooked and the water is properly reduced, add your blended pepper mix and palm oil.
Taste to see if it requires additional seasoning, if it does add some more. Add, stock fish, smoked fish, crayfish and cook till the water is reduced completely.
When the water is completely reduced and you can see the palmoil glistening on the meats, add chopped water leaves.
(Let your washed water leaf and Ugu leaves strain in a seive to allow all the excess water get away, your chopped leaves should be near dry)
Stir in properly , the water leaf will wilt into the pot, let it simmer for about 3 minutes
Next stir in your Ugu leaves, stir it in well till it incorporates well with the waterleaf.
Cook with lid off , on medium heat for an additional 8 – 10 minutes.
Serve hot with your preferred accompaniment.
Please don’t tell my Yoruba ancestors that i almost denounced Efo Riro in favour of this tasty pot of goodness that is native to the Efik people.
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
• 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)
Grind pepper and set aside.
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.
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.
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.