This rich and nutritious soup is usually prepared with the leaves of the African Pterocarpus soyauxii /Pterocarpus mildbraedi tree, known traditionally as Oha leaves. It is also thickened with either cocoyam paste , Achi, Egusi or Ofor, to give it it's unique consistency.
If you live in Nigeria, you'll be able to get the leaves at your local market, but for those of us in diaspora, we have to either pray that a relative comes visiting or settle for the frozen or dried Oha leaves; but whichever one you source, I can assure you that the soup will come out...D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S !☺
Here's how to prepare it.
*Click here to watch video recipe *
(Post updated on May 2016 with photos)
Ingredients For Oha soup/Ora soup/Ofe Ora
- 1 bunch Oha leaves
- A handful of Uziza leaves or a spoonful of uziza seeds (optional, but a lot of people add it)
- 8 medium sized Cocoyam(ede ofe) (use 2 handful of ofor or achi as a substitute)
- Meat of choice (chicken, ponmo(cow's skin),shaki(tripe), beef, goat meat or turkey)
- 1 large Stock fish head
- Dried fish (as desired)
- 1 handful Crayfish
- 2 cooking spoonful Palm oil/Palm nut paste
- 1 tablespoonful Ogiri/okpei or Iru (locust beans)(either fresh or dried will be okay)
- 2 seasoning cubes or 2 tablespoonful seasoning powder
- Pepper to taste(I like to use the yellow fresh or dried camerounian pepper because of it's distinct aroma, but the red will do just fine)
- Salt to taste
|Oha leaves (a bunch)|
1a. Wash the cocoyam thoroughly with water to remove dirt and sand, then place in a pot , pour enough water to cover the cocoyam and boil until very tender.
Strain out the hot water ,peel of the brown skin and pound the cocoyam in a mortar and pestle.
This can also be done in a blender to get a soft stretchy paste. See how to make cocoyam paste in a blender.
b. Clean and scrub the dried fish and stock fish with salt and hot water(to remove dirt and sands that may be on the oily skin of the fish).Remove bones, then rinse and set aside for later use.
Tip: you can also leave the stock fish to soak in hot water to further tenderize it.
c. Grind the crayfish, ogiri(iru) and the pepper together and set aside for later use.
d. Tear up/slice the oha leaves and set aside. Also slice the uziza leaves or grind the uziza seeds(if you're using any).
2. Clean your meat of choice and place in a pot. Add the onions, seasoning cubes and salt to taste. Let it boil in it's juice for a few minutes, then add the stock fish, add extra water and cook until tender.
When tender, add the cleaned dried fish, and leave to boil for 5 minutes
3. Add the palm oil, the ground ogiri/iru, ground crayfish, ground pepper and the cocoyam paste or any other thickener you choose to use.
Tip: if adding achi,grind to powder and dissolve in lukewarm water beforw adding to the soup.
Stir well and leave to simmer until the cocoyam dissolves and the soup is thickened.
4. Add the sliced uziza leaves or ground uziza seeds(optional), boil for about 1 minute and finally add the shredded Oha leaves adjust for salt, then simmer for 3 minutes , put off the heat , serve hot and enjoy.
Oha soup (Ofe oha) can be enjoyed with any ''swallow or bolus meals'' such as eba, amala, pounded yam, fufu, semolina or wheat meal.
Food for thought:
I once heard an old wives'tale that warned against cutting uha leaves with a knife, because it's assumed that if you do, the soup will turn out bitter.... Well, I tried out the recipe with oha leaves shredded by hands and another with knife, and there was no noticeable difference in taste.
So I'll leave you to ponder on that or run to your kitchen and get c-o-o-k-i-n-g(*wink*).
Here are other Nigerian Soup Recipes you might like:
* Nigerian Ogbono Soup :How to Cook Ogbono Soup
* Ofe Nsala (Igbo White Soup) : Nsala Soup
* Ofada stew (a.k.a Ayamase)
* Nigerian Yam and Fresh Fish Pepper Soup
* Efo Riro Soup Recipe
* Nigerian Catfish Pepper Soup (point and kill)
* Nigerian Goat Meat Pepper Soup
* Okra Soup with Fresh Fish and Assorted Meat
* Coconut Curry Sauce (gravy) with Chicken &Vegetables
* Egusi Soup With Fresh Fish & Vegetables
* Bitter leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)
* Ofe Akwu : Igbo-style Banga Stew/Soup
* Banga Soup : Efik Banga Soup Recipe
I love to hear from you, pls drop me a comment and your feedback if you try out this recipe :)
Click 2 Follow on Instagram