What is Nsala soup? It is a kind of white soup indigenous to The Igbos and the Efiks. It is called white soup because it is made with no oil. It is made with just the broth of the meat or fish that is being used to prepare it; along with some traditional spices. In the Efik language, this soup is called Afia Efere and it makes the use of only the Uyayak pod and pounded yam with Chicken mostly as it’s protein. Take note that these soups are both different with the similarities as the absence of Palm oil.
My memories of Nsala soup were not so fond until I started making mine. I remember my friend’s mom always made it while we were little and no one looked forward to enjoying a bowl of Nsala 🙂 As we have gotten older, our taste buds have matured and we have began to fall inlove with the soup. Nkem, you can testify 🙂
I have made this soup a few times, but I think this time I actually nailed it.
The Igbos make this soup slightly different from the Efiks. In the Igbo version, we use Uziza, Utazi, uda and ogiri okpei(fermented locust bean paste) and for the Efik version, there is the use of crayfish and the Uyayak pod ie Aiden fruit
for this recipe I did the Igbo version. Come on, I am Igbo 🙂 I have to represent my people o 🙂 I may do an Efik version in the future
This soup is best enjoyed with pounded yam, but other types of swallow work great
In fact, I am pleased to tell my friend’s mother that I beat the spirit of Nsala and that it has now become one of my favorites
- 5 pieces of medium cat fish
- 4 habanero peppers or ata-rodo
- 4pieces of boiled yam(You may substitute with Irish potatoes or garri)
- 4tbsps of crayfish
- 2tbsp fulls of Ogiri Okpei
- 11/2 tbsps. of Utazi(add more if needed)
- 2-3tbsps of Uziza leaves or seeds(if using the seeds, 1tsp should suffice; as it is spicy)
- 1tbsp dry pepper or red chili flakes
- ehuru seeds and uda are optional in this recipe(the recipe varies as to what you want in it and what part of the East you come from)
- 1 maggi crayfish
- salt to taste
- Boil the yam and mash into a smooth paste
- Put a pot of water to boil. Pour the boiling water over the clean and gutted catfish. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. You will see the slime come off. Drain after the 5 minutes and using a butter knife or a blunt knife, gently scrape the slime off and rinse.
- Roughly blend or using a mortar, mash the ata-rodo, Ogiri, utazi, uziza, ehuru, uda and crayfish
- Place the fish into a soup pot season with salt, maggi crayfish and dry pepper. Let it sit for about 10minutes. Pour in water enough to the level of the fish and bring to a boil; then add the Mashed ingredients including the yam and check for seasonings. Bring to another boil and cook for about 15minutes or until the fish has cooked through and until the yam has thickened the soup to your taste (Do not stir this soup, always shake the pot ever so slightly to mix the ingredients)
- Set aside and serve with any side
If using uziza seeds, mash or blend it along with the other ingredients.