Bitter leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu) : Nigerian Bitterleaf Soup

Nigerian Bitterleaf Soup, Bitter leaf Soup ,Ofe Onugbu
Bitter leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)
 Bitter leaf Soup also known as (Ofe Onugbu / Obe efo Elewuro or Miyan shuwaka) is a delicious traditional Nigerian soup.
  It is prepared with a bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) and although the name suggest that it is a bitter soup, that's not the case.

The bitter leaves used for this soup ,are properly  washed and squeezed ,until there is only a slight taste of bitterness left.

Here's a video recipe on How to Cook Bitter Leaf Soup and below is a detailed written recipe.Enjoy!

*Food Note: Bitter leaf soup is known as ''Ofe Onugbu'' in Igbo language, where ''Ofe'' stands for ''soup'' and ''Onugbu'' stands for ''bitter leaf''.

It is called  Obe efo Elewuro in Yoruba language, where '' obe'' signifies ''soup'' and '' efo elewuro'' stands for ''bitter leaf''.

 In Hausa language it is ''Miyan shuwaka'', where '' Miyan '' denotes ''soup'' and '' shuwaka'' stands for ''bitter leaf''.
+++See the health benefits of Bitter leaf +++
Ingredients for  Bitter Leaf Soup
   - 1 cup bitter leaf (that has been Washed and squeezed)
   - 6 corms Cocoyam ''Ede ofe'', made into paste
   - 200g Assorted Meat (cow foot, cow tripe(shaki) e.t.c)
   - 3 cooking spoonful Red Palm Oil
   - Dried Fish
   - Stock Fish
   - 2 tablespoonful Ground Crayfish

   - 1 teaspoon Ogiri/Iru oe dawadawa ( fermented oil seeds) 
   - 2 Maggi or Knorr cubes(bouillon cubes)
   - Pepper (to taste)
   - Salt (to taste)

Cooking Directions for Nigerian Bitterleaf Soup
1. If you are using raw cocoyam corms, wash and place the corms into a pot, pour enough water to cover the cocoyams and cook till soft. Peel of  the cocoyam skins  while its still hot(be careful not to burn you fingers) and grind to a smooth paste in a blender as shown here, or pound in a mortar and pestle.

Click to see How to make Cocoyam paste in a blender
 If you are using cocoyam powder, boil some hot water and make into a thick  paste as you do with semolina or fufu.

2. If you haven't done this already,wash the bitter leaves by squeezing and scrubbing the leaves in between your palms(and changing the dark green colored water occasionally) until the water is clearer and there is a faint taste of bitterness in the leaves;(you'll have to taste the leaves to be sure).

 Tip: if using dried bitter leaf, place in boiling water add a little baking soda or Akanwu(potash), boil for 15 minutes , strain the  leaves,rinse with water .
 The baking soda or Akanwu(potash) helps to soften the bitter leaves.

3. Wash and clean the dried fish and set aside.   
    Spice and Cook the meat , starting with the tougher ones first(the cow tripe(shaki)& Cow foot always takes longer to cook.Add the cleaned stock fish  and cook until  done.
(You can also cook the dried fish with the meat ,but these depends on how tough the dried fish is,so that it doesn't break to pieces in the soup :) )

4. Add the palm oil ,
cleaned Dried fish, ground crayfish,pepper, ground iru/ogiri & stock cube and cook for about 10 minutes.

5. Now scoop in the cocoyam paste , cover and leave to cook until the cocoyam lumps are well dissolved. Add
bitter leaves& salt to taste, mix thoroughly and leave to simmer for 2 minutes and the soup is ready. Enjoy!

 Bitter leaf soup is usually served with Pounded Yam, Fufu, Eba, Tuwo, wheat meal ,Semolina  or Amala 


Other Related Recipes
* Health benefits of Bitter leaf ( Onugbu) 
* Nigerian Beef Stew
* Banga Soup : Urhobo Isoko Banga Soup Recipe
* Nigerian Chicken Stew
* How to Cook Okazi Soup (Ukazi Soup)
* Obe Ata Dindin : Nigerian Fried Pepper Stew
* How to Cook Edikang Ikong Soup 
* Nigerian Tomato Stew(Vegan Stew)
* How to Cook Afang Soup
* Nigerian Pepper Soup
* Nigerian Ogbono Soup :How to Cook Ogbono  Soup
* Nigerian Fish Stew (Obe Eja Tutu) 
 * How to Cook Nigerian Egusi Soup(Ofe Egusi/Obe Efo Elegusi)
* Ofe Owerri Soup
* Efo Riro Soup
Nigerian Bitterleaf Soup, Bitter leaf Soup ,Ofe Onugbu
Bitter leaf Soup made with dry bitter leaves (Ofe Onugbu)

by Nky Lily Lete


  1. thank you for this wonderful recipe given. God bless u n more of it

  2. this is wonderful, keep it up

  3. Thank you for this wonderful recipe given. Bitter leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu) is a delicious traditional Nigerian soup highly medicinal. am proud to be a Nigerian.

  4. Thank you for this wonderful recipe given. Bitter leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu) is a delicious traditional Nigerian soup highly medicinal. am proud to be a Nigerian.

  5. Anonymous11:55:00 AM

    Thanks for the information hope to read more of this and practicalise

  6. Anonymous5:17:00 PM

    @nky pls can achi be used in place of ede,if yes when do u add it.

    1. Hi dear, I have never used achi for bitterleaf soup because personally I think that bitter leaf soup is not complete without ede. But I know some people use it as a substitute, so even if I won't advice you to use it, it Iis usually added at the step where I added the blended ede. First dissolve in warm water before adding to the soup.

  7. Anonymous7:20:00 PM

    @nky can i make the soup without ogiri?

    1. Ogiri gives it a native taste, but you can do without it.

  8. Anonymous7:18:00 AM

    nky can u use pounded yam as your paste

    1. Some people use it as an alternative, but apart from thickening the soup, the cocoyam adds a different taste to the bitter leaf soup which you won't get with pounded yam.

  9. Anonymous12:17:00 PM

    Hi lily,
    Pls can u send me your instagram handle on appreciate it

  10. You are amazing. Same as your recipes.

  11. Anonymous9:34:00 AM

    Pls post recipe for oha soup

  12. Ogochukwu8:03:00 AM

    A job well done and properly tutored.. A learnt a whole lot, thanks a bunch.

  13. Wow..U need to see my pot of bitter leaf soup after Reading..thanks

  14. Wow you need to taste my bitter leaf soup after Reading this. Soo Tasty. Thanks

    1. Hi Nina, I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
      Next time send me pics and also keep me updated on your cooking dearie :)

    2. for the Ofe Onugbu in the absence of coco yam, can I use dissolved flour as a thickener

    3. Alice.(magenta catherers)6:58:00 AM

      Yes, but cocoyam is the best thickener for bitter leaf soupand gives better taste

  15. Use corn flour but d cocoyam has d native flavor

  16. Niky i mean it wen i say ur recipes are KPOMKWEM,get ibo dictionary

  17. Love your recipes. Can I use achi in place of cocoyam.

  18. I prepared this soup today for the first time, every one loved it. Thanks to Nigeria food TV my no 1 food blog. I wish to share picture but can't find the option.

  19. Hi Nky, I visit your blog everyday. It has helped me improved in my cooking skills and also, taught me how to cook different types of soup. I'm actually married to an igbo man, i'm not igbo but i've learnt how to cook igbo soups here.tnks

  20. Anonymous1:40:00 AM

    Just made and ate this. It is delicious! Thank you!


Hello lovely reader,
I appreciate your comments & feedback.Please kindly use a pen-name or nickname when commenting or asking questions regarding any of our recipes.
ANONYMOUS’ comments may appear as spam and could ignored.. thanks for your understanding.
With love...
Nky :)