I am excited and my stomach is filled with butterflies as I watch my ajebutters eat this soup and love every single bite. In fact, I am full, but I want to go for seconds, just so I can savor the very delicate taste.
Ofe Okazi(also known as Ukazi soup) is one of the jewels of south east Nigeria. It’s one those soups that reminds me of my mother’s kitchen…My mother made this soup, but not always as it was just one of those soups, you don’t just cook just because……
In my mother’s kitchen, she used freshly cut beef and okporoko (stock fish). Sometimes, she would add kpomo(cow skin) to the pot. Ofe Okazi is one of those soups that seems so easy to prepare, but also very easy to mess up. The oil must be just enough to give it some color and please no dry Okazi biko! except you can revive it with some cold water. You want to use bright green Okazi leaves.
Back to my mother’s kitchen. Whenever she prepared this soup, she had me pound the achi seeds. But my favorite part was in the eating. I loved the beef, the soft and fresh beef she used. I remember biting into the one piece of meat in my soup bowl and I still relish in how soft the beef tasted in my mouth. I swear my mother is a good cook! You could taste the soup in the meat…ewo! Now I understand when Nigerians describe their food as fresh. Nawa!
In my early 20’s I had this boyfriend who spent so much time with me and loved my cooking. He requested Ofe Okazi once and said to me “Nna mekwa ya ka ya ro’aro.” Meaning, “Nne please make the soup thick for me.” These days, I prefer a light tasting Okazi soup. In my opinion, when the soup is too thick, it loses it’s essence.
For your pot, you could use, Achi or Ofor to help thicken the soup. Ofor tastes better, but Achi is also great thickener.
I promise any woman trying this recipe, that not only will you lock down that nwoke Igbo that has had his eyes on you, you would also win his folks over…To the guys, you just have to learn how to make this for those days you need to say sorry. Those days when your football club has a major game and you need to keep her mouth busy…I’m giving you the secret now oh. I promise you, she will melt in your arms…oya cook!
- 1½- 2lbs assorted meats
- 3-4 small dry fish pieces(soaked, washed and de boned)
- 1-1/2 cup sliced okazi(soaked and washed)
- 2 tbsps. crayfish powder
- 1tsp dry pepper powder
- 1tbsps. achi or Ofor powder
- 1tbsp uziza leaves
- ½-2tbsp ogiri paste
- 1 habanero pepper
- 2 tbsps. palm oil
- salt to taste
- wash and place the meats into a soup pot. Season with the dry pepper powder, bouillon(if using), salt, and 1tbsp crayfish powder. Pour water a little above the level of the meats and cook until soft.
- Meanwhile, in a mortar, mash the ogiri paste along with the habanero and uziza leaves and set aside. Once the meat is tender, mix some of the achi powder with some of the meat stock in a separate bowl until it looks like a slurry and set aside. Add the mashed ogiri paste and the oil into the pot and top the pot up with some water if needed. Cover and let the pot come to a simmer for about 10 minutes or until the oil is properly mixed with the meat stock and has lost the raw taste. Add the achi or ofor mix in little increments along with the okazi leaves and dry fish. (do not add too much of the achi mix; eye ball on how thick you want it to be). Lower the heat, check for seasonings and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with pounded, yam, fufu or eba 🙂