Onugbu soup, one of the delicacies of the South eastern part of Nigeria is made from bitter leaves; the herb responsible for the ancient African living long, and healthy; with strong, white teeth and a sturdy and powerful manhood that could impregnate the lot of several wives, simultaneously(laughs). Don’t forget that scientifically, bitters have been proven to be immune boosters and help with resistance against cancer and all. Try it and see! Wash the onugbu, so it doesn’t taste too bitter and try to drink it’s water right after, to savour the taste. Onugbu a known herb, is known to be good for the skin. I am working on a post about herbs and their uses. I hope to make that post on my sister blog www.motherlandsfinest.com. If you think it’s only Nigerians/Africans that use bitters; then google is your friend. Google the American Indian tribes, Australian aboriginals, Maoris, Indians, etc., to find out about their own bitters; Then thank me later
Now to the recipe. I like Onugbu i.e. bitter leaves. Apart from the regular bitter leaf soup, it is great in Egusi, Ogbono and I do have a recipe with Okra. Onugbu soup is known to be cooked mainly amongst the Anambra speaking Igbo people of Nigeria. As easy as the soup is to prepare, it is also quite easy to get it wrong. Some Igbos like to wash and cut their leaves into small pieces; while others wash and use the leaves as is while cooking. This reminds me of what happened a while ago. I made some Onugbu soup and posted a photo of it on the food group. You need to have seen the fights over my bowl of soup. Some said it wasn’t thick enough, some said the leaves were too tiny and needed to be long. I was so tired of the comments. Even my description and mention of using only ogiri and salt didn’t help matters. Until one guy came and made my day…his words were “the soup looks confident.” I couldn’t even be angry at that….I guess what he was trying to say was that the soup looked good. What even made me laugh until I nearly peed on myself was when my friend posted this Nigerian gospel music as a comment in support of the guy’s comment 🙂 I call it the bitter leaf song 🙂
The fun part of making this soup these days is that you can use whatever type of thickener you prefer. Personally, I like Ofor. My mother prefers cocoa yam and my aunty prefers the oat meal blend. The best way to make and season this soup is by using ogiri(local seasoning made from fermented melon seeds or locus beans ). Forget that ogiri stinks oh! But it adds so much flavor to the soup.
I love onugbu soup when it’s made right. I tried it with some palm nut cream a.k.a akwu to the igbos and for some reason I do prefer the one made with palm oil as recommended by my mother and a real Anambra woman who happens to be friends with my mother.
Okay get cooking before this post gets any longer 🙂
- ½ lb meats(chicken,or beef)
- 1lb stock fish
- 1 large dry fish(washed and set aside for cooking)
- 4 tbsps. crayfish powder
- 3 tsps dry chili powder
- 100mls of palm oil or 2 cooking spoons
- 1 Habanero(ata-rodo)(crushed)
- 1 cup fresh or dry bitter leaves(washed and chopped. Chopping is optional)
- 2 cocoyam(cooked and pounded with palm oil),(you could also try 2 tbsps. ofor or achi powder, or cocoa yam powder, Or ½ cup oatmeal; smoothly blended with a little water) for thickening
- salt to taste
- Preparation wash the bitter leaves in water, making sure to squeeze and drain until it's no more bitter; then set aside. If the bitter leaves are dry, simply soak it in hot water and wash; then set aside to use for the soup.
- Place the meats and stock fish into a pot. Season with a little salt, 2 tsps. of the dry chili powder and 2tbsps of the crayfish powder. Pour water to the level of the meats and stock fish and cook until tender(making sure to add more water when needed). Once the stock fish and meats are tender add the palm oil and cook until the raw taste has disappeared. Add the remaining dry chili powder, bitter leaves, crayfish and whatever thickeners you intend using. Cook for a few minutes until thickened; then stir in the dry fish and habanero pepper. Check for seasonings; then cook for about 3 more minutes and set aside. enjoy with any swallow