I conquered Afang and I had to pat myself on the back. If there is any soup I was ever afraid of cooking, it’s Afang; because any little mistake ruins an entire pot. I remember Nse sending me the picture of a pot she made towards Christmas, it looked so beautiful that I knew I had to make a pot.
In my opinion, Afang is the queen of all Efik soups. One reason I do not really cook it on a regular basis is because of the amount of oil used. Since I’ve been on fitfam, I can only make this on days I really need to take a break especially because of the oyel(oil) used 🙂
I have seen so many controversies about Afang and that added to my fear of preparing the soup until I spoke to Asandia. Asandia Hogan is a restaurateur and a fashion designer. When it comes to Efik recipes, Asandia prides herself as one of the preserver of the Efik cultures. I had to reach out to her for this recipe because of her passion for her people; which made me understand that she would share exactly what I needed with me. Here are a few of her hand work as a restaurateur and a fashion designer
I love Afang and how robust it tastes. I love the combination of vegetables and how the meats and whelks fight for who is more special in the pot of soup. I like how my fingers are stained with palm oil as I mold each morsel of swallow into the soup. The softness of the vegetables and the fragrance the soup emanates from the use of the fresh habanero peppers keep me wanting more. Afang to the Efiks is like Efo riro to the Yorubas and Ofe Owerri to the Igbos.
One taboo you must not commit when making Afang soup is adding onions, biko biko no. It’s like adding curry to Ofe Nsala i.e. the famous Nigerian white soup. I believe in preserving the methods with which our ancestors made our local dishes. I like to make certain dishes with a tweak, but when it comes to our really local dishes it’s totally uneccessary ehn….well sometimes 🙂
- 2lbs and 20oz spinach or water leaves(slice into little pieces. you could use the frozen leaves. just make sure they have defrosted)
- 2 cups Afang or Okazi leaves
- 1½ lb assorted meats
- 1 cup whole dried prawns
- 1 cup nko nko or whelks(deshelled periwinkles work)
- 1 hand full of head on shrimp
- 3 fresh habanero peppers(ata-rodo)
- ½ cup crayfish powder
- Dry fish(soak in warm water and wash out impurities)
- 1tbsp dry pepper powder
- ½-1 cup palm oil(eye ball your use)
- salt to taste
- To prepare the Afang (Okazi) leaves, (soak if using dry Afang to soften; then wash and drain as you generally would your vegetables) place it in a mortar with salt or bouillon, one habanero pepper and ¼ cup. crayfish powder; then pound. Pound the leaves and remove any stalks until you have formed sort of a paste with the leaves(use a blender if you want); then squeeze and set aside.(if using a blender, you do not need to add any crayfish or pepper to the mix. just add water and blitz into tiny pieces, drain and squeeze)
- Place the meats into a pot, season with 1 tbsp. of the crayfish powder, the dry pepper, salt and bouillon(if using). Pour water to the level of the meats and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cook the meats until tender and until the water has almost dried out. Add the water leaves, half of the oil being used, the remaining crayfish, whelks, dry prawns and a habanero pepper. Cover the pot and simmer on low. When the water from the water leaves is almost dry, add the Afang leaves, the remaining habanero pepper, the left over palm oil, dry fish and fresh shrimp. Taste for seasonings and cook for another 3minutes or until the shrimp has turned pink. Do not be tempted to add any water. Add more palm oil to loosen the soup if it's too thick. Cook for another 3 minutes to remove the raw taste of the palm oil and serve with any swallow of your choice.