Bitter Leaf Soup, also known as Ofe Onugbu is a very famous Nigerian soup that originated from the Igbo tribe of Eastern Nigeria.
A lot of non-Igbos tend to shy away from bitter leaf soup because they believe that, true to its name, it is a very bitter soup, but they are very wrong.
Bitter leaf Soup, aka Ofe Onugbu, does not taste bitter in the slightest. The leaves just have to be washed thoroughly to get rid of the bitterness before it’s added to the soup.
On the contrary, it leaves a sweet aftertaste in your mouth when eaten.
Bitter leaf soup also has a lot of health benefits. Regularly taking bitter leaf can help to regulate the blood cholesterol level, which is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
In addition, the leaf itself can be consumed to treat fever, feverish conditions, joint aches, different levels of intestinal complaints, stomach aches, as well as diseases caused by parasites like malaria.
Here are the ingredients and recipe for how to make bitter leaf soup at home.
Ingredients for how to make bitter leaf soup at home
- Assorted meats (Beef, goat meat, Ponmo, Shaki are ideal)
- 2 Cooking Spoon Palm oil
- 1 Cup Bitter leaves (Fresh or Dried)
- 3-4 Medium Size Cocoyam (Ede)
- 2 Smoked Fish (Optional)
- 2-3 Stockfish (Optional)
- 3 Tablespoons Ground Crayfish
- 1 Tablespoon Ogiri Okpei
- 3 Tablespoons Ground Dry pepper or 2 Scotch Bonnet blended
- 2 Bouillon Cubes
- Salt to taste
Method of preparation
- The first step is to thoroughly wash your meats. Then proceed to boil your meats, start with the tougher meats like Cow leg and Shaki first. When they’re slightly tender, add beef or other softer meats. When all the meats are tender, add the Stockfish, leave to cook till soft.
- Please note: Do not add Onions, Curry, or Thyme!
- While the meats are boiling, boil the Cocoyam with the skin on. Do not add salt, boil till soft, this should take roughly 20 minutes on medium heat.
- When they are soft, gently peel the skin off and pound till smooth in a mortar. Alternatively, chop them into small chunks and purée in your electric blender or food processor till smooth, then set aside.
- Wash the Bitter leaves with hot water to get rid of as much bitterness as you can. There should be almost no hint of bitterness left in the leaves after washing.
Pro tip: If you find yourself struggling to get rid of the bitterness, simply boil the leaves with enough water 15 times, then rinse with cold water.
- If you’re using dried Bitter leaves, you’ll need to soak in warm water to plump it up and also get rid of dirt.
- When the Meats and Fish are all soft, add Crayfish, smoked Prawns, then add the ground or blended pepper. Stir and combine.
- Add Palm oil, leave to thoroughly combine for 3-4 minutes.
- Now, turn the heat done to low, add the blended Cocoyam into the stock in small dollops, be careful not to add too much. The consistency should be semi-fluid.
- The Cocoyam will dissolve; thickening the soul, leave to dissolve, and combine for 2-3 minutes.
- The thickness will depend on your preference. Ofe Onugbu is light and semi-fluid though some people prefer it thick and creamy.
- Then add the Ogiri, stir and combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
- Then add the washed Bitter Leaves, leave to cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook your vegetables.
- Your delicious soup is ready!
- It can be served with any swallow of your choice.
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