Ofe Nsala (Igbo White Soup) : Nsala Soup

nsala soup, ofe nsala , nigerian white soup

Ofe Nsala (Nsala Soup) is a delicious soup, popular in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is also known as ‘‘white soup” because of its light color , due to the absence of palm oil.

The authentic Nsala soup recipe calls for fresh whole Cat Fish, which gives this soup its unique taste. But in the absence of whole catfish, catfish fillets or conger eel can be used.

Ofe Nsala is also similar to Afia Efere, which is the Efik-style white soup, but the extra condiments added to Afia Efere is what differentiates it from Nsala.

So here’s a simply Ofe Nsala  recipe, using Fish only, I also included some tips on how to cook this delicious soup, with assorted meat and dried fish. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients For Nsala Soup:

– 1 medium sized Cat Fish (use conger eel if you can’t find Catfish in your area, they taste almost the same)

– 5 small sized raw Yam cubes OR Yam Powder (Potato Puree can also be used)

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– 2  tablespoonful chopped Utazi Leaves or parsley(optional)

– 1 tablespoonful ground Crayfish

– 1 teaspoonful Ogiri or Iru (fermented locust beans)

– Quarter teaspoon ground uziza seed

– Quarter teaspoon ground Uda seeds

Quarter teaspoon  ground Ehuru

Quarter teaspoon  ground (optional great for postnatal stagein new moms)

– 1 tablespoonful chopped Onions(optional)

– Chili pepper/chopped Scotch bonnet peppers (to taste)

– 1-2 Stock/Seasoning cubes(maggi, knorr etc)
– Salt (to taste
For a richer (orisirisi) soup, you can also add

– dried fish (to taste)
– Stock fish (to taste)  
– 5 pieces Chicken
pieces or
10 pieces Beef pieces

 Preparation :

1. If you want to add beef, chicken or stock fish or dried fish to your Nsala soup; season and cook the meat or dried fish , with onions, seasoning cube and salt to taste. Cook until done and set aside

2. Peel the yam cubes and boil until soft, then pound to a smooth paste, using a mortar and pestle.

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In the absence of a mortar and pestle, you can place the cooked yam in a food processor/blender, add a little hot water and blend until smooth (you can use the hot water you cooked the yams in).

If what you have is yam powder, boil some hot water,add the powder and stir continuously until you get a smooth paste (just like the texture of pounded yam) .

Then, Set the yam paste aside for later use.

3. Next, place the catfish into a pot, pour enough water to cover it, add the chopped onions, seasoning cube and salt to taste. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is almost done.

** The large/medium sized catfish takes about 20
minutes to cook through, but a  small sized catfish, takes a shorter time, always check for doneness ** 

Tip: if you’ll be adding the catfish head,add it first and leave to boil for about 1 minute before adding the other fish parts. This is because the head of the catfish is a bit tough and if added at the same time, the other fish parts will cook faster and even break to pieces before the fish head is done.

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4. Now, add the pepper, crayfish, uziza, uda, ehuru, ginger(if using) and ogiri/iru.

if you’re cooking this soup with chicken/beef or dried fish,this is the time to add the cooked
meat and dried fish(in step 1) to the pot

Also, add the yam paste bit by bit and leave the soup to cook until the paste is completely dissolved and the fish is well done. 

5. Finally, add the utazi leaves, taste for salt and simmer for 30 seconds. 
Tip: remember the utazi leaf is optional, so don’t bother if you don’t have it.

Now you have a delicious Nsala Soup .

Ofe Nsala ( Nsala Soup)  is usually served with Pounded Yam , Fufu, Amala,  Eba, Semolina OR Pounded Yam


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  1. Grace
    December 18, 2021 / 11:16 am

    Wonderfully analysed . Well done ma’am you are the best

  2. Uju
    September 11, 2021 / 11:43 am

    Can I use flour to replace yam

  3. Nay Precious
    April 5, 2018 / 2:27 pm

    Hi namesake can I add uziza leaf and utazi to my nsala soup? Not Precious

  4. Anonymous
    September 9, 2017 / 9:52 am

    Enter your comment…plsss what are dose greenish spices dat is in dis nsala pix? is is ugwu leave is wot?

    • Cynthia
      February 28, 2022 / 8:35 pm

      Is uzizA leaves

  5. Anonymous
    December 24, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    Enter your comment…what of making nsala soup with intestine.

    • Uju
      September 11, 2021 / 11:43 am

      Can I use flour to replace yam

  6. princess
    September 24, 2016 / 10:39 pm

    Hi, yur nsala is awesome

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 27, 2016 / 7:19 pm

      Thanks princess 🙂

  7. princess
    September 24, 2016 / 10:37 pm


    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 27, 2016 / 7:19 pm


  8. Anonymous
    September 22, 2016 / 11:36 am

    Hi. I'm a little bit confused. What is yam cube?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 27, 2016 / 7:17 pm

      Fresh yam that has been cut into cube shape or small squares 🙂

  9. Joy E-N
    July 27, 2016 / 11:53 pm

    Nice job,I am igbo and nsala is not completely igbo nsala without uziza seed,then uda,ehuru, okpei,ginger are optional but a must for post natal stage mothers

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 27, 2016 / 7:11 pm

      Thanks for the info Joy 🙂

    • Pearly Pound
      February 9, 2019 / 3:44 pm

      Exactly dear

  10. Anonymous
    March 25, 2016 / 5:06 pm

    pls i need a proceed on how 2 cook chicken curry sauce

  11. Dr JICA
    February 15, 2016 / 10:04 am

    Im new to your page. Thanks for inspiring me. You have made cooking a fun affair. I find myself reading up new ingredients to add to my cooking.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 27, 2016 / 7:08 pm

      You're welcome Dr Jica 🙂

  12. Anonymous
    February 14, 2016 / 11:49 am

    U too much jooooooor

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 27, 2016 / 7:05 pm


  13. Anonymous
    February 12, 2016 / 6:09 pm

    Thanks for teaching us all this foods.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 27, 2016 / 7:05 pm


  14. bankole kikelomo
    December 3, 2015 / 9:25 am

    How do I subscribe pls.kike

    • Nky Lily Lete
      December 30, 2015 / 8:21 am

      Hi Kike,there is a subcribe button at the top right corner of this page:)

  15. bankole kikelomo
    December 3, 2015 / 9:23 am

    Thanks 4 d recipe.Kike

    • Nky Lily Lete
      December 30, 2015 / 8:28 am

      You're welcome Kike 🙂

  16. Anonymous
    November 27, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    Lovely recipe. it tasted like my granny's own. Pls do you know how to make Ofe achara? My late mum made it once and I loved it and I'm craving that soup. I'll be glad if you can help. Thanks

    • Nky Lily Lete
      December 30, 2015 / 8:12 am

      Thanks.Ofe achara is one of my favorite soups too. As soon as I get the ingredients here in Spain, I will post the recipe 🙂

    October 27, 2015 / 9:04 am

    I must say am woowed ?, av been looking for a way to prepare this particular soup which has been my favorite soup trust me, but i finally got it en am so goin to give it a try ASAP, tnk darlene, uve won a constant visitor to this site…..

    • Nky Lily Lete
      December 30, 2015 / 7:35 am

      Thanks Chioma, I'm so happy to have you here 🙂

  18. Sunny
    October 19, 2015 / 7:30 am

    Wow Nky this is beautiful. Am a guy but cookin is my hobby. With this i knw i wld be a better cook. Tankz alot.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      December 30, 2015 / 7:27 am

      You're welcome Sunny 🙂

  19. Ngozi Onwazebe
    October 10, 2015 / 7:52 pm

    Nky, tnx for d recipe. Just tried the nsala soup and it taste great. Keep d good work. God bless u. Ng

    • Nky Lily Lete
      December 30, 2015 / 7:22 am

      Ngo dear, Thanks for your lovely feedback 🙂

  20. Anonymous
    August 25, 2015 / 7:46 am

    Please how do I subscribe

    • Nky Lily Lete
      September 9, 2015 / 10:47 am

      Hi dear,there is a subcribe button at the top right corner of this page:)

  21. Anonymous
    August 25, 2015 / 7:45 am

    Please how can I subscribe?

  22. stephanie
    August 22, 2015 / 3:40 pm

    Hello Nky, I'm new. Tried the nsala recipe. Altho I used semo as my thicker omo it didn't dissolve o.. not entirely at least. There was still balls of semo I the soup. Tasted great but the look wasn't so nice. Apart from yam and yam flour what else can I use?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      September 9, 2015 / 10:42 am

      Chai Stephanie, why did you use semo naa ?In the absense of yam or yam flour, you can make use of sweet potato flour.Let me know how it turns out 🙂

  23. Chioma Ezejiugo Ben
    August 6, 2015 / 9:35 am

    thank you so much,enjoyed every bit of it

    • Nky Lily Lete
      August 16, 2015 / 11:14 pm

      you're welcome hun 🙂

  24. Anonymous
    July 10, 2015 / 3:13 pm

    Hello madamI am pleased to visit your site today, and am glad with the good work that you do. Please do you have a book that covers all you have taught on your site and where can i buy itThanks

    • Nky Lily Lete
      July 23, 2015 / 9:06 pm

      Thanks for asking, the book is in progress and will be ready soon, I'll keep you updated on the website.

  25. maureen dorathy
    July 10, 2015 / 3:09 pm

    Hello madam. I came across your site today and am so pleased with what you do on this site. Do you have a book that covers all the food recipes that you have on this site. If yes where can i buy itThanks

    • Nky Lily Lete
      July 25, 2015 / 10:07 am

      Thanks for asking dearie. The book is in progress and will be out soon, pls subcribe to the website so that you will be one of the first to get updates when the book is ready 🙂

  26. Anonymous
    June 19, 2015 / 8:03 am

    Hello, tnx for ur recipes….I made shawarma using ur recipe and it was nice. I tried out ofe nsala and my catfish was all mashed up. Maybe I should have removed it before adding the pounded yam.Also if I add very very little oil will it still be white soup? I prefer soup with that bright color.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      June 22, 2015 / 8:59 am

      Thanks for the shawarma feedback.As for the fish in Nsala, you should only cook the fish half way(not completely done).And yes, feel free to add JUST A LITTLE oil if you want, after all, it is your soup and you can improvise as you want 🙂

  27. Anonymous
    June 11, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    Nice one ma! But in my house, I've always known nsala soup to be cooked with uziza leaf, that's the only leaf mum uses to make her nsala soup. We're from Anambra and the utazi leaf is kind of alien to us. What do you say?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      June 12, 2015 / 5:43 pm

      Hi dearie, anyone of the two can be used, but utazi is commonly used.

  28. Anonymous
    May 17, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    You are just too much abeg. Thanks

    • Nky Lily Lete
      May 24, 2015 / 3:34 pm


  29. Kehinde Falade
    April 29, 2015 / 10:06 am

    Hi Nky. I am a yoruba lady getting married to an Igbo man. I have been searching sites with great recipes for my man's kind of food. I am glad to have seen your site. Keep up the good job. I will try this Ofe Nsala recipe cos it is his best food n I can't go wrong with it.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      May 1, 2015 / 11:41 am

      Congrats dearie.Trust me, you can never go wrong with this recipeYou'll win him over and over again 🙂

  30. chinonso enimola
    April 25, 2015 / 6:04 pm

    Uw dear

    • Nky Lily Lete
      April 29, 2015 / 11:09 am


  31. chinonso enimola
    April 24, 2015 / 2:54 pm

    Nky how are u pls just wanted to ask u if u can create a blackberry channel bcus das the in thing now and u will have plenty followers

    • Nky Lily Lete
      April 25, 2015 / 1:12 pm

      I'm on it dearie ., thanks for the insight 🙂

  32. Anonymous
    April 14, 2015 / 10:39 am

    Can't I use cocoyam?

  33. lois
    March 25, 2015 / 9:07 am

    I like the work u are doing here, keep it up

    • Nky Lily Lete
      March 25, 2015 / 12:03 pm


  34. Anonymous
    March 24, 2015 / 4:54 pm

    Good day ma,Concerning the yam powder, is it cocoyam powder or one have to boil a tuber of yam and blend it?Thank you

    • Nky Lily Lete
      March 25, 2015 / 9:21 am

      It's the powder used in place of yam to make pounded yam. But if you have yam, then boil a little, pound it and use for this recipe.

  35. Anonymous
    March 17, 2015 / 6:09 pm

    hii nky..i have not tasted nsala soup for once cos of its appearance but hope i will enjoy it cos i want to try it out….tanks for the recipe..

    • Nky Lily Lete
      March 25, 2015 / 12:29 pm

      trust me, you'll love it 🙂

  36. Anonymous
    January 20, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    hii. can it be eaten with starch?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      January 23, 2015 / 3:43 pm

      yes it can.

  37. Anonymous
    January 16, 2015 / 12:16 pm

    Must it b cat fish, wat if I want to use goat meat and others

    • Nky Lily Lete
      January 23, 2015 / 3:46 pm

      You can make use of other types of meat, that's how the Efiks cook theirs.

  38. Anonymous
    January 3, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    I jus try dis soup nw,so easy nd delicious nd also a fast one,my husband really enjoyed it.thanks

    • Nky Lily Lete
      January 4, 2015 / 11:02 am

      You're welcome dearie, I'm glad you all enjoyed the recipe 🙂

  39. chinonso enimola
    November 19, 2014 / 7:17 pm

    Making my nsala soup tomorrow can't wait.yippee.tnks nky u are d best

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 20, 2014 / 1:59 pm

      Thanks sweetie, I'm so glad to be of help, you also make all the effort worth it. Hoping to see the pics 🙂

  40. chinonso enimola
    November 19, 2014 / 7:17 pm

    Hello,im cooking nsala soup tomorrow tnks alot

  41. Anonymous
    November 12, 2014 / 6:37 pm

    Can quaker oat be used as tickner

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 13, 2014 / 2:18 pm

      I have never used it as a soup thickener.

  42. aythonya
    November 10, 2014 / 7:06 am

    Please i don't have poundo or fresh yam and i also don't have ogiri or iru but i have ogiri okpei and u said to use parsley in the absence of uziza

    • Nky Lily Lete
      November 12, 2014 / 9:53 am

      You can use potato in the absence of yam, and you can make use of ogiri okpei,but just use a little. And yes, make use of parsley if you don't have uziza.

  43. Anonymous
    October 16, 2014 / 12:24 am

    Can I add fresh tomato in it

    • Nky Lily Lete
      October 16, 2014 / 12:51 pm

      Hi dearie, you don't have to add fresh tomatoes, the soup is delicious, just as it is, but feel free to experiment if you want to.

  44. Pweety me
    October 15, 2014 / 9:50 am

    Hello ma'am pls can I still use ice fish since I can't get fresh catfish around here and what is conger eel

    • Nky Lily Lete
      October 16, 2014 / 12:49 pm

      In the absence of both fresh catfish and dried ones, you can use the frozen(iced) ones if you can get it.Conger eel fish is that fish that looks somehow like a snake, popularly known as ''snakefish'' in Nigeria.

  45. Anonymous
    August 23, 2014 / 9:17 am

    Hello. I am new here and I am loving this. But how can I get daily msgs?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      September 3, 2014 / 2:43 pm

      Welcome dearie, you can subscribe above the page to receive recipes in your inbox.

  46. Cheeomah Orphormer
    August 23, 2014 / 7:07 am

    Please can't we use those pepper soup spices? Like uziza, ehuru and uda? Will it taste nice?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      September 3, 2014 / 2:42 pm

      Yes it will taste nice. That's how the Efik people cook theirs 🙂

  47. Anonymous
    August 14, 2014 / 6:08 am

    Hi nky what if you don't eat cat fish love your blog. Ada

    • Nky Lily Lete
      August 15, 2014 / 11:13 am

      Thanks dear, you can make use of dried fish and stockfish.

  48. Anonymous
    July 23, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    Exciting dear. we don't like fresh fish in the house. Can we just use beef or snail? Chioma

    • Nky Lily Lete
      August 5, 2014 / 4:44 pm

      Hi Chioma, Fresh catfish is actually what makes the soup stand out, but you can also use dried catfish, assorted meat, stock fish and snails.

  49. Anonymous
    July 2, 2014 / 12:33 pm

    Nky Nwayioma can you do something on crab soup ie Ofe nshikor and Ofe umgborogu

    • Nky Lily Lete
      July 7, 2014 / 1:50 pm

      Sure dear, I'll be shopping for crabs this weekend, you'll be seeing the recipe up soon 🙂

    • Anonymous
      July 9, 2014 / 12:03 pm

      Hmmm yummy

    • Nky Lily Lete
      July 10, 2014 / 3:41 pm

      thanks 🙂

  50. Anonymous
    June 14, 2014 / 12:34 pm

    Gud day ma, pls i need ur website

    • Nky Lily Lete
      June 27, 2014 / 10:11 am

      This is my website dearie 🙂

  51. Anonymous
    May 24, 2014 / 6:25 pm

    I am new on this blog, I want to try this out but i am not sure about the leaves, i got both the utazi and the uziza leaf, which do i use and how do i differentiate both. Thanks so much

    • Uchenna Umeh
      April 6, 2017 / 7:52 pm

      Uziza is pretty good with ofe nsala…utazi Lives a bitter taste sometimes…but wen using uziza, it is the last ingredient to be added…it gives it a beautiful aroma and taste..

  52. Anonymous
    March 7, 2014 / 1:33 am

    Thanks for this recipe. I tried the party jollof rice and it was awesome! I want to try this recipe but for those of us living outside the shores of Nigeria, can we do leave out Ogiri cause I can't lay my hands on any or is there any substitute? Also I planned using parsley in place of utazi.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      March 8, 2014 / 1:49 pm

      Hi dear, you can leave out the ogiri if you can't find any and yes, you can use parsley in place of utazi 🙂

  53. Anonymous
    March 6, 2014 / 11:25 pm

    I cooked mt nsala today and it taste so good thanks mama

    • Nky Lily Lete
      March 8, 2014 / 1:48 pm

      Thanks for your feedback dear 🙂

  54. Anonymous
    March 2, 2014 / 11:05 am

    Hello, where am staying we don't have yam powder, but i have poundo yam

    • Nky Lily Lete
      March 3, 2014 / 3:30 pm

      Poundo yam will work fine dear 🙂

  55. Anonymous
    February 17, 2014 / 11:12 am

    I'm inspired! I've been in a food slump lately and bored with the usual fare, when I found your website while looking for what to do with my over-ripe plantains. However, I am not a fan of cat fish… what other fish can I use?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      February 18, 2014 / 6:30 am

      Hi dear, thanks for sticking around. Hope you were able to do something with your over-ripe plantains.As for this recipe,you can make use of conger eel or carp, if you don't like catfish 🙂

  56. Ekanem Orijis
    February 14, 2014 / 3:05 pm

    Thank you so much ma for saying that Afia efere and Nsala are not the same thing, because even if they look alike they don't taste alike because the extra spices and ingredients that we efik people use for our afia efere really changes the taste and aroma of the soup. This really shows that you are a great cook ma, I also saw your banga soup recipe and I am so WOWED by it, it's like you learned from real traditional cooks. God bless you, continue with what you do ma.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      February 15, 2014 / 8:33 am

      Thanks Ekanem, It feels good to get a confirmation from a real efik woman. God bless you too dear 🙂

  57. Anonymous
    February 14, 2014 / 1:10 pm

    will try dis out tomorrow.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      February 15, 2014 / 8:28 am

      ok dear 🙂

  58. Anonymous
    February 13, 2014 / 2:09 pm

    Just saw this on your facebook page, thanks, I'll be trying it today.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      February 15, 2014 / 8:28 am

      Ok great 🙂

  59. Amaka
    February 13, 2014 / 2:00 pm

    New feed subscriber here, welldone &thanks for all your cool recipes.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      February 15, 2014 / 8:09 am

      Thanks for subscribing dear 🙂

  60. Anonymous
    February 13, 2014 / 1:57 pm

    Thanks , very easy recipe.

    • Nky Lily Lete
      February 15, 2014 / 8:09 am

      You're welcome dear 🙂

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2015 / 4:57 pm

      Nice & simple recipe. Pls how can i prepare sauce for rice?

    • Nky Lily Lete
      January 23, 2015 / 3:41 pm

      Check our sauce recipes above.

  61. Tinuke Omoike
    February 13, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    Nky, you are just too much. My hubby and I ate one nsala soup at the party and it had enough orisirisi in it. I have seen other recipes but, yours is the only one with tips on how to use dried fish and stock fish. I am new to cooking, so thanks sweetie, for this, I'll send my feedback, this is going to be my valentine soup for hubby .

    • Nky Lily Lete
      February 15, 2014 / 8:08 am

      Thanks Tinuke,I'm glad you like it 🙂

      • Hajjmal
        January 6, 2019 / 11:11 am

        I’m from north but I will to no more of this

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