Bitterleaf soup is one of the most traditional soups in Nigeria. It is native to the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria and most Igbos will tell you that this is their favourite soup in the world.
Try the low carb keto friendly Bitterleaf Soup.
The name is quite misleading in that a well prepared Bitterleaf Soup should not have even the slightest bitterness. This is achieved by washing and squeezing the bitter leaves (and changing the water at intervals) till all traces of bitterness has been washed off.
One will be deemed a bad cook if his/her Bitterleaf soup tastes bitter. Heres all need to know about how to cook Bitterleaf soup.
Ingredients for cooking Banga Soup
Washed and squeezed bitterleaf – A handful
10 small corms Cocoyam
3 cooking spoons Red Palm Oil
Assorted Beef: Includes best cut, shaki (cow tripe)
Assorted Fish: Dry Fish and Stock Fish
Pepper, salt and ground crayfish (to taste)
3 stock cubes
1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (traditional seasoning)
Notes on the ingredients for Banga Recipe:
If you are outside Nigeria, you can use dried, washed and squeezed bitter leaves but you need to first of all make the bitter leaves soft and fresh again before adding them to the soup.
If you cannot buy cocoyam corms where you live, you can use cocoyam flour. An alternative to cocoyam flour is potato flour.
Ogiri Igbo is optional, it gives Bitterleaf Soup a traditional taste.
Before you cook Bitterleaf Soup
Make sure that the bitter leaves are well washed, such that there is no trace of bitterness left. If not, wash and squeeze it more. If the bitterness cannot be completely washed off (which is usually the case with most washed bitter leaves sold in the market), boil it for about 15 minutes and wash in cold water.
Wash and cook the cocoyam till soft. Remove the peels and use a mortar and pestle to pound the corms to a smooth paste (as shown).
Boil the shaki (cow tripe), stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water till they are well done. First sign of a done shaki is that the cuts will start curling on itself.
Wash the beef and add to the pot of shaki etc. and continue cooking. When the meat is done, add 3 cubes of Maggi/Knorr and cook for 5 minutes.
Add pepper, ground crayfish, bitter leaves (if they have not been parboiled) and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the cocoyam paste (in small lumps) and the palm oil then go to step 5. Note: If the bitter leaves were parboiled to remove the bitterness, then for step 3; add pepper, ground crayfish, the cocoyam paste (in small lumps), the bitter leaves and the palm oil. In other words, add all the ingredients at this stage.
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.
Add salt to taste and the soup is ready
If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to Bitterleaf soup, you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Bitterleaf Soup Online
Nigerian Banga Soup or Ofe Akwu is native to the Niger Delta and the South Eastern parts of Nigeria. In the Niger Delta areas, Banga soup is commonly eaten with various fufu recipes: Starch, Pounded Yam, Semolina, Garri and Cassava Fufu. In the South Eastern parts of Nigeria, Banga Soup is referred to as Ofe Akwu where Ofe means Soup / Stew and Akwu means palm fruit and is used mainly as stew for Boiled White Rice. Below is a step by step guide of how to cook banga soup.
The palm fruit oil extract used in cooking Banga Soup / Stew is quite different from the red palm oil used in cooking Nigerian food recipes. Palm Oil is pure oil extracted from the palm fruit pulp at high temperatures while the palm fruit oil extract used for the Banga Soup is extracted at a very low temperature and is a mixture of oil and water. Palm fruit oil extracted for Banga Soup contains less saturated fat than palm oils.
Ingredients for Banga Soup
1 kg Palm Fruits or 800g tinned Palm Fruit Concentrate
Vegetable: Scent Leaves for Ofe Akwu or dried and crushed bitter leaves for Delta-style Banga Soup
Cook the beef and the dry fish with 1 bulb of diced onion and the stock cubes till done.
Wash and cut the scent leaves into tiny pieces. The scent leaves give the Banga Stew (Ofe Akwu) its unique aroma and taste. If you are outside Nigeria, this may be hard to find, so you can use pumpkin leaves or any other vegetable in place of scent leaves. If cooking Delta-style Banga Soup for starch, you should either cook this soup without vegetables or use dried and crushed bitter leaves.
Cut the remaining bulb of onion. Pound the crayfish, ogiri okpei and pepper in a mortar and set aside. You can also grind them with a dry mill.
Set the pot of palm fruit extract on the stove and start cooking at high heat. Leave to boil till you notice come red oil at the surface of the Banga Stew. If you think that the Banga Soup is watery, cook till the soup has thickened to the consistency you like for your stews.
Now, add the beef, dry fish and stock, the onions, crayfish and pepper and leave to boil very well.
Add the scent leaves or other vegetables and salt to taste. Leave to simmer for about 2 mins. The Banga Soup is done. Serve with White Rice or use the Delta-style Banga Soup to eat Starch, Garri, Semolina, Amala or Pounded Yam.
Cooking Directions for those using tinned palm fruit concentrate
When the beef and fish are well done, add the palm fruit concentrate and add water to get the consistency you like for your stews. Leave to boil very well.
Add the onions, crayfish, pepper and ogiri blend and let it boil very well.
Add the scent leaves or other vegetables and salt to taste. Leave to simmer for about 2 mins. The Banga Soup is done.
If you used bitter leaves to prepare it, serve with Nigerian fufu meals especially Starch. If you used scent leaves to prepare it, serve with boiled white rice. If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to Banga soup, you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Banga Soup Online
The Nigerian Afang Soup, like the Edikang Ikong soup, is native to the Efiks, people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states of Nigeria but enjoyed by all Nigerians. It is also very nutritious as the soup consists mainly of vegetables. Afang Soup is prepared with a generous quantity of Water leaves and the wild herbal Okazi leaves.
The Nigerian Afang Soup should not be confused with the Okazi Soup native to the people of Imo and Abia States of Nigeria. While Afang soup is prepared with basically vegetables, Okazi Soup is simply the Nigerian Egusi Soup cooked with thinly sliced Okazi leaves.
Ingredients for Afang Soup
400g sliced Okazi/Afang leaves | about 4 handfuls
250g Water leaves
20 to 25 cl red palm oil (about 1 drink glass)
Beef, Kanda and Dry fish
2 tablespoons ground crayfish
Pepper and salt (to taste)
2 stock cubes
Notes on the ingredients
Great alternative to water leaves is Lamb’s Lettuce, known as Canonigos in Spanish.
Yes, you need that much palm oil.
Before you cook the Nigerian Afang Soup
Wash, drain and slice the water leaves into tiny pieces. Grind or pound the sliced Okazi leaves. In Nigerian markets, the sellers of these sliced Okazi leaves have a machine for grinding it. You can also grind it with your blender with a small quantity of water.
Grind your pepper and crayfish and cut the onions into tiny pieces.
Boil the beef and Kanda with the diced onions and stock cubes in a very small quantity of water. When done, add the dry fish and cook for about 5 more minutes.
Now add the palm oil, crayfish and pepper. Once it starts boiling, add the afang (okazi) leaves, water leaves and periwinkle. When the okazi leaves have softened and the water has dried up a bit, add salt to taste and leave to simmer for about 5 minutes. The Afang soup is ready
Serve Afang Soup with Semolina, Amala, Pounded Yam, Eba or any other fufu meal. It also goes well with boiled white rice. If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to cook Afang Soup , you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Afang Soup Online
Edikang Ikong Soup with Ugu and Water Leaves This is the recipe for that authentic Edikangikong, the one prepared with water leaves and ugu (Nigerian pumpkin leaves).
I already have a recipe for alternative vegetable Soup for those that cannot buy ugu and water leaves where they live a.k.a. those that live outside Nigeria.If you can buy ugu and water leaves, continue reading for the recipe for the real deal Edikang Ikong.
Edikang Ikong Soup Ingredients
It is really hard to write down accurate quantities of some ingredients used in Nigerian cooking.
A big bunch of ugu leaves
Water leaves (⅓ or ½ of the quantity of ugu)
¼ red palm oil
Stockfish (dry cod)
Ponmo (cow skin)
1 handful crayfish
2 big seasoning cubes
1 cup shelled periwinkles
1 onion (optional)
Habanero pepper (to your taste)
Salt (to your taste)
Notes on the Edikang Ikong Ingredients
Click here to see a lady shelling periwinkles in one of my market visits. If you don’t have periwinkles, either skip it or use sea snails.
There’s always a fight about whether onions should be added to Edikang Ikong soup or not. Do whatever you wish, onions do not ruin this soup.
See the video below for the quantities of beef, stockfish and ponmo I used for a certain quantity of vegetables.
Before you prepare Edikang Ikong Soup
Pick, rinse and chop the vegetables.
Grind the crayfish, chop or pound the pepper in a mortar.
Chop the onions.
Directions for making the Edikang Ikong Soup
Cook the meat, stockfish and ponmo with the seasoning cubes and chopped onions till done. There should be as little water as possible in the pot when the meat and fish are done.
Take out the meat. Sieve the stock to ensure there are no tiny bones.
Pour the palm oil into the pot, add the shelled periwinkles, ground crayfish, cover and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring it often.
Add the chopped water leaves and the chopped ugu. Add the pepper.
Cover and cook for at most 1 minute.
Stir and add the meat and fish we removed earlier.
Stir till everything is well combined. Add salt to taste, stir again and it’s done.
Serve Edikaikong with Semolina, Amala, Pounded Yam, Eba or any other fufu meal. It also goes well with boiled white rice. If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to cook edikaikong soup, you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Edikaikong Soup Online
Are you one of those who say Ogbono Soup is difficult to cook because you dont know how to cook Ogbono Soup! You believe in myth that Ogbono Soup does not draw if you cover the pot! Ogbono Soup burns easily! Your Ogbono Soup tastes like soap, Ogbono Soup this, Ogbono Soup that.
Come with me let’s settle these Ogbono Soup complaints once and for all. On this page, I will show you how to cook the best Ogbono Soup you have ever cooked.
Best Nigerian Ogbono Soup Ingredients
These are the ingredients I used to cook the big pot of Ogbono Soup in the video below. Feel free to reduce the quantities of ingredients for a smaller pot of Ogbono Soup.
More information about some Ogbono Soup ingredients mentioned above
If you are not familiar with any of the ingredients mentioned above, use the links below to find out more about that ingredient.
If you don’t have ogiri okpei, skip it.
stockfish chin chin.
The sweet pepper is added just for colour, else the Ogbono Soup will look plain.
Tools and utensils you’ll need
The following are some tools you’ll need to cook Ogbono Soup:
Spice grinder for grinding the Ogbono seeds:
Pressure Pot for cooking the hard meats. My pressure pot is Fagor. They no longer make the exact model. There are similar great pressure pots.
Before you prepare the best Ogbono Soup
Grind the ogbono if it is the seeds you have. Click here to see the trick I use to get my spice grinder to grind ogbono seeds very well.
Grind the crayfish with the ogiri okpei. Break up the ogiri okpei into pieces before grinding so the spice grinder will do a good job of grinding it.
Wash and slice the vegetables. I tear up the soft vegetables with my fingers because I prefer the way they look in the soup when done that way.
Chop the sweet pepper and habanero peppers.
Directions for making the best Ogbono Soup
It is better to see this Ogbono Soup being cooked than reading about it. Watch the video below for details.
If using a pressure cooker, cook the meats and stockfish at the same time with the seasoning cubes and onions. If using a normal pot, start cooking the toughest meat first (cow skin) then add the others as you cook.
When the meat and stockfish are done, remove them from the stock and set aside. De-bone and break up the stockfish into medium pieces.
Pour palm oil into a clean dry pot. Melt the oil if it is congealed then turn off the heat. Notice that I wrote MELT, no need to heat up the oil.
Add the ground ogbono then mix well with a spatula.
Start adding the stock (water from cooking the meats) bit by bit and stir at the same time making sure the ogbono mix is not lumpy.
When all the stock water is in the pot, turn on the heat. Cover the pot and start cooking.
Keep an eye on it and stir it often because Ogbono is prone to burning.
Cook for at least 20 minutes because that’s from when the nice aroma and taste of ogbono comes through.
After 20 minutes of cooking and stirring it often, add the ground crayfish including the one ground with ogiri okpei.
Add the chopped peppers and stir very well making sure there are no crayfish lumps.
Add the stock fish and the rest of the meat.
Add salt if necessary. Lots of ingredients that are already in the pot taste salty: stockfish, seasoning cubes, crayfish, ogiri okpei. So taste for salt and confirm it is necessary before adding more.
Stir very well, cover the pot and once it boils again, add the spinach/ugu and uziza leaves.
Cover and cook for at most half a minute. And it’s done!
Stir very well and transfer to a cool container immediately so the green vegetables do not darken.
Lots of people in this day and age still believe that covering the pot while preparing Ogbono Soup kills the elasticity of ogbono making the soup not to draw (be elastic). This is unfortunate because there are so many reasons why your Ogbono Soup is like Pepper Soup but covering the pot while cooking the soup is not one of them!
The following are genuine reasons why your Ogbono Soup does not draw. I will add more as they come to mind.
You are not using enough ogbono: Some people want to use one cup of ogbono seeds to cook Ogbono Soup for a large crowd. That’s not going to happen. The quantity of ogbono you are using should be commensurate to the quantity of soup you are cooking. If the soup is watery, no elasticity is happening.
You are using the wrong ogbono seeds: there are a few seeds in the market sold as ogbono seeds but those other seeds do not produce enough elastic sap to draw like the real ogbono seeds. Ogbono is Wild Mango but sometimes the seed from Bush Mango is sold as ogbono seeds. When buying ogbono, carry out a sap test by breaking one ogbono seed and rubbing the broken sides against each other, after some time, the elastic sap that forms will noticeably draw when you try to separate the two pieces of broken seeds.
You buy ground ogbono from African food shops: whenever you buy ground ogbono, in fact any ground Nigerian ingredient, you are taking a huge risk because you never know what is in there. It may look like ground ogbono but if you are lucky, there will be only 50% of ogbono in the pack.
You bought moldy ogbono: this is an extension of buying ground ogbono. You do not know when they ground the ogbono, first signs of mold may have set in but you will only see it if you look closely. Mold makes ogbono lose its elasticity.
Once you grind ogbono it starts losing its elasticity so again, if you buy ground ogbono from the shops, chances are that it has been a long time they ground the ogbono seeds so all the elasticity is gone by the time it goes into your pot.
The ogbono is too dusty: if you see where they are grinding these commercial ogbono, you will see how dusty the seeds are. The sellers do not have time to brush off the dust. This means that sometimes the ground ogbono you bought is 50% dust.
You bought old ogbono. Even when you buy the seeds, it may have been a 3 year old ogbono so the elasticity may have gone by the time you use it.
You fried the ogbono when preparing the soup. In the recipe above, I stated that you should mix the ground ogbono in melted red palm oil with the heat turned OFF. If you fry the ogbono on high heat, all the elasticity will be destroyed.
If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to Ogbono soup, you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Ogbono Soup Online .
Efo Riro is a rich vegetable soup that is native to the Yorubas of Western Nigeria. The vegetables that can be used to cook this soup are Efo Shoko or Efo Tete (Green Amaranth). If these are not readily available where you live, leafy or frozen spinach is a very good substitute.
If you cannot find the ingredients to cook Edikang Ikong soup where you live, Efo Riro is is a Yoruba version of Efik/Ibibio’s Edikang Ikong.
Ingredients for Efo Riro
Assorted meat and fish. use a combination of the following:
Shaki (cow tripe)
20 cl palm oil
500g Efo Shoko
5 tatashe peppers
2 tablespoons ground crayfish
2 red onions
2 small stock cubes
2 tablespoons locust beans (iru)
Salt & Habanero / Scotch Bonnet peppers (to taste)
The following are the two vegetables that can be used in cooking Efo Riro. The first one and the first choice is Efo Shoko, the second is Efo Tete (Green Amaranth). Both are available in Nigerian markets.
Other meats you can add to Efo Riro: The more the variety of meats and fish you can add to Efo Riro, the better so feel free to add: snails and other offals, ponmo (cow skin) etc.
Before you cook Efo Riro
If you are using the hard stock fish, soak it for a few hours. Soak the dry fish till soft and debone.
Cut the leafy vegetables
Deseed the tatashe and grind till coarse.
Prepare other ingredients: pound/blitz the pepper, dice the onions and grind the crayfish.
Start cooking the shaki first with as little water as possible as it is the toughest meat in the bunch. This soup should have as little water as possible so add small amounts of water at a time and top it up as you cook.
When the shaki starts to curl, add the dry fish and stockfish.
When the shaki is almost done, add beef, stock cubes and some of the onions and cook till all the meat and fish are well done. Set these aside.
In another pot, pour the palm oil and heat it up. Once hot, add the remaining onions.
Fry the tatashe peppers till there’s no more water in it. This should take about 15 minutes.
Add the locust beans, crayfish, and stir very well.
Add the cooked meat and fish, stir very well.
Add the vegetables, stir very well, cover and once it heats up again, add salt to taste and take the pot off the stove.
Serve Efo Riro with Semolina, Amala, Pounded Yam, Eba or any other fufu meal. It also goes well with boiled white rice. If you are too busy to cook or just don’t know how to cook efo riro soup, you can order online from Soup Embassy. Click to buy Efo Riro Soup Online
The How to Cook Egusi Soup recipe described on this page is the Fried Method of preparing Nigerian Egusi Soup (Ofe Egusi(Igbo), Efo Elegusi (Yoruba) / Miyan Agushi (Hausa)). This is the oil before egusi method.
Egusi Soup is another great and famous soup amongst most cultures in Nigeria. It is made of grounded melon seeds; which can be cooked with different vegetables such as Spinach, Bitter leaf, Ugwu and others.
This soup is cooked in different ways by the different cultures in Nigeria. This post is about a quicker way of making this soup; the Yoruba Style. I learnt this recipe after seeing my mum make this soup so many times. In my family, we call it ‘Mummy’s quick visitors’ soup’ because whenever we have visitors in the house, we would normally just see mum rush into the kitchen, and no more than 30 minutes later, she’s out of the kitchen with an amazing dish full of Egusi soup looking superbly delicious.
Egusi Soup can also be served with foods like Pounded Yam, Eba, Amala, Fufu, Wheat, Semolina, and even Rice.
I do hope you guys find this quick recipe helpful.
ways of cooking Egusi Soup:
Egusi Soup (Caking Method): I also call this one the Egusi Before Oil method. No frying is involved, making is a healthier way to prepare Egusi Soup.
Akpuruakpu Egusi: where the ground egusi is molded into balls and cooked in the soup such that you will be eating the egusi balls like meat while enjoying the meal. The surrounding egusi in the soup is prepared using the caking method. Go check it out.
If you have been with All Nigerian Recipes for some time, you will know that the fried egusi method is not my favourite way to prepare Egusi Soup. It is not my favourite because it involves frying the ground egusi (melon) seeds. This gives me heart burn. The soup also needs more palm oil than the caking method. But since I have been receiving requests for how to prepare it, here we go!
4 cups (500g) Egusi (Melon) seeds
3 cooking spoons red palm oil
Beef: best cut and Shaki (cow tripe)
Fish: dry fish and stockfish
2 tablespoons ground crayfish
Pepper and Salt (to taste)
Vegetable: Nigerian pumpkin leaves, spinach or bitter leaf
3 small stock cubes
1 small ogiri okpei (optional)
Notes on the ingredients
To be honest, I may have put 3 cooking spoons of palm oil up there but you will need more. You want the quantity of palm oil that will turn every grain of the ground egusi yellow. See video below. If the ground egusi is not well coated, it will burn during frying and the resulting Egusi Soup will be dry and have a burnt taste. If you are concerned about the quantity of palm oil you will used for this soup, it is best to prepare your egusi soups using the Caking Method.
The best meat for Nigerian soups for swallows is red meat with beef being the most common. You can also use goat meat. I have seen some people cook Egusi Soup with chicken, that’s fine but the elders will not like it.
If you use chicken, please do not use dry fish and stockfish because those two cannot co-exist with chicken in the same Nigerian pot.
If using bitter leaves, add it a bit earlier because it is a tough vegetable (see the cooking directions below). Remember that they need to be washed to remove all the bitterness unless your family prefers it with the bitter taste.
Ogiri okpei is made with locust beans. It is known as iru in Yoruba. It adds a traditional taste to Egusi Soup.
Before you cook Egusi Soup
Before preparing the soup, soak the dry fish and stock fish till soft. If you are using the very tough stockfish, boil it for 20 minutes and leave in the pot with the hot water to soak for about an hour. If using the softer stockfish, you can just soak them in cool water till you can break them apart with your hands.
When the fish and stockfish are soft, de-bone and break them into sizeable chunks.
Much closer to your cooking time, grind the egusi with a dry mill. Grind the crayfish and the dry pepper separately and set aside.
Rinse the vegetables to be used and cut into tiny pieces.
Cook the beef and fish with the stock cubes till they are well done. You should start cooking the toughest meat and fish first and add the others as they get done. If using a normal pot, I will start with stockfish and shaki, add beef after about 1 hour and cook till done. I can add the dry fish when all the other meat and fish are cooked because it is already cooked, you just need to cook it long enough till it is soft and integrated with the rest of the ingredients. With a pressure pot, I do it differently but that is a process for another post.
Set all these aside.
Pour the red palm oil into a dry pot and set on the stove to heat. As soon as the oil melts, add the ground egusi and start frying. If the oil is not congealed, add the egusi as soon as the oil is translucent. Mix the ground egusi with oil till every grain of egusi turns yellow.
Start stirring the egusi on low to medium heat. Keep stir-frying for about 10 minutes.
Add the meat/fish stock (water from cooking the fish and meat) little by little while still stirring the egusi. So you add a bit of the stock, stir-fry for some time, add another, stir-fry and so on. When the stock is exhausted and you feel that the soup is still too thick, you can start adding hot water in the same way till you get the consistency you want. If your choice of vegetable is bitter leaf, add it at this time.
Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes, stirring at intervals. Also, top up the water when necessary. If you don’t stir it, it will burn. It takes 30 minutes to cook egusi properly else the soup will not taste nice to someone with authentic Nigerian taste buds. Also, egusi that is not cooked long enough may cause upset stomach. The egusi is done when you notice that the oil has separated from the mix.
Once you are happy that it is done, add the ground crayfish and pepper. Stir and add the Nigerian pumpkin leaves or spinach (alternative).
Stir very well and add the cooked stockfish, shaki and meat.
Add salt if necessary. If it is too thick, add some water to bring it to a consistency you like.
Cover and leave to simmer and it is done!
The perfect swallow for Egusi Soup is Pounded Yam. You can also serve it with Eba (Garri), Agidi, Amala, Semolina Fufu, Tuwo Shinkafa or Cassava Fufu.