Yes, it was my first time making this delicious soup Ofe Onugbu. I have always wanted to try it but I used to see it as one difficult meal and I am sure some other people (especially from the western part of Nigeria) also see it as a difficult meal to try.
Why I tried Ofe Onugbu
Enough of the regular meals! I tried making this soup now because I want to change things a little. Currently, I am taking a new learning curve, where I would be making some African dishes, especially the ones from the Eastern part of Nigeria.
There are a lot of soups to try from the East, mouth-watering delicacies for that matter, haha…. When I finished cooking this Bitterleaf soup, we enjoyed it so much that we are already planning on when and how we will cook another Ofe Onugbu.
Cooking The Bitterleaf Soup for the first time.
After watching numerous videos from food YouTubers who are experts in cooking soups, especially the Igbo delicacies, I decided to give it a try…lo and behold… I made it!
I still can’t believe I did that, like seriously… When I made Ofe Onugbu, the taste was super great and it was as if I have cooked it several times in the past. Come on! I salute myself!!. This made me remember a saying that you can’t say you know a skill until you have touched or tried it. I am really happy right now because this meal has been added to one of our favourite meals and even my husband called it his number 1 meal at the moment.
How to cook Bitterleaf soup (Ofe Onugbu)
Ofe Onugbu, popularly known as bitter leaf soup is a soup made with bitter leaf and cocoa-yam paste as a thickener. This soup is originally from the eastern part of Nigeria and it is loved by so many Nigerians because of its special taste. You cannot attend any Igbo’s party without them serving this meal, yes, it is that special.
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Just because it is called bitter leaf soup does not mean the soup should be bitter if the bitter leaf is well prepared and cleaned before adding it to the soup.
This popular soup, although from the Igbo’s culture is a meal every other people from other parts of Nigeria wants to try. I have heard of this soup since I was young but I did not taste or cook it until now. It is a good soup to try because of its richness in taste and flavour. It is a very nutritious meal and if cooked with all the necessary ingredients, you will enjoy it to the fullest and even ask for more.
The ingredients and method I used in preparing my bitter leaf soup are as follow
Ogiri (2 wraps)
Coco-yam (8 pieces)
Smoked fish (4 pieces)
Stockfish or dried cod (2 cups)
Meat (beef, goat meat or assorted beef) (10 pieces)
Crayfish (1 cup)
Ponmo (6 pieces)
Dry prawn or shrimps (1cup)
Seasoning cubes (2 cubes)
Scotch bonnet peppers (Yellow and red) (4 yellow, 3 red)
Palm oil or Banga’s palm ( 2 spoonfuls)
Salt to taste
- Rinse and squeeze your bitter leaf to remove all bitterness from it. Rinse it many times until it appears that the leaf is not bitter again (just taste little from it). You can cook for about 15mins if you can’t go through the stress of rinsing and squeezing. Slice the bitter leaf into smaller pieces before using it.
- Cook your coco-yam for about 1 hour after rinsing (cook with the peels). Check if it is soft enough, you will know if it is well cooked by touching the cocoyam. It will be soft and you can easily cut out the peels with a spoon.
- Leave your cooked coco-yam to cool a bit but don’t allow it to be too cold so that you can easily remove the peels from it. Blend it while it is still warm with water to form a smooth paste. You can also use your small mortar and pestle to pound it until it forms a very smooth paste.
Note- It is important not to allow the cocoyam to be cold before blending or pounding so that there will not be lumps in it.
- Boil your meat for a few minutes, add your stockfish immediately especially if it is the dry cod, add ponmo, add seasoning cubes of your choice and add salt. Leave for about 15-20 minutes for the meat and dry cod to come to a boil.
- Grind your crayfish, Ogiri (Ogiri is a very important ingredient of this meal) and scotch bonnet peppers together. Add this mixture to the pot where you have the boiled meat, ponmo and stockfish. Add your smoked fish, add your dry prawn or shrimps and add Ponmo. You can add your palm oil or Banga palm at this point and leave them to boil together for 3-5minutes.
- Add your cocoyam paste, add it little by little and allow it to dissolve completely on its own before incorporating them together. You can add your bitter leaf at this point if your bitter leaf is soft or leave it for like 2minutes before adding the bitter leaf.
- Finally, add the sliced and rinsed bitter leaf into the mixture and wait till about 5minutes to simmer before removing it from heat. Now, your bitter leaf soup is ready.
- Serve your bitter leaf soup with Fufu, Eba or Pounded yam.
Healthy Benefits of Ofe Onugbu Soup
Bitterleaf soup is not only flavourful and delicious but loaded with tones of health benefits. It is highly proteinous with some essential vitamins and minerals. The bitter leaf which is the star ingredient has numerous health benefits like:
- It is good for stomach cleansing
- It reduce blood sugar level
- Detoxification of the body system
- Increases fertility
- Good for our bones and skin
- It helps in treating infections
- It can help to reduce body weight
These are just parts of the many benefits of this great bitter leaf soup.
Have you ever tasted or cooked this soup? Please share your experience with me in the comments. If you would also like to give this a try, please mention it too. I would love to hear from you.
If you would also like me to try a particular soup, you can suggest that here and I will be glad to give it a try and share my experience here!
Thank you so much for your time!