Yam and Fresh Fish PepperSoup

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And we welcome the cooler season with some fresh fish and yam pepper soup! kai! This recipe reminds me of a dry fish and yam pepper soup, which I hope to share in the future.  I am having sort of a tough time typing this as I had to borrow ajebutter two’s tablet to post this. Yes it is no news that my camera and notebook have jointly been frustrating me. I got so sad at some point, but life goes on innit? ? Any way, while brooding over my gadgets, I got some refreshing news which kept me encouraged. I was featured on CNN’s 5 African foodbloggers you need to start following and on  Ventures Africa. I was so excited about this feature. And I have GOD to thank for HIS mercies. After my first feature on CNN here I have been so encouraged and not only because of my feature, but because African food; especially Nigerian food is making it to the global food map. In the words of Freedes of myburntorange.com  “Nigerian food should have a category of it’s own in the sea of African cuisines. It alone is diverse and needs to be translated even to other African food bloggers like myself. I humbly declare that Nigerian food as a stand alone cuisine must be respected because it is so so diverse”

As a Nigerian chef and blogger, you never run out of recipes. the country and its recipes are so diverse. Just as much as there are different ethnic groups in the country, so are the recipes. I have quite an amount of old recipes handed down to me. Recipes of which are from the time of our ancestors. Although, some are fading out; I feel as Nigerian bloggers, it is our job to kind of bring them back into existence. I love old recipes and sometimes, I tweak them to fit, but I never let them get lost in the midst of others. I want my readers to be able to keep that wonderful nostalgic feeling from their childhood or whenever it was that they ate a particular dish.

Any way back to this dish. Have you ever had a cold that left you pretty much beside yourself with wonder? Trust me, I have been there and this soup always seems to do the trick. I think it’s potency has a lot to do with the fresh ginger. Ginger is known to be great for colds. And it works great with this recipe

This recipe is so versatile in the sense that you could eat it with unripe plantains, potatoes or even by itself. If you are not a lover of cat fish, you could use tilapia or red snapper.

For convenience you could use the already grounded peppersoup spice. There are different types. There is the one with some added powdered ginger and there is the one without it. The one with the ginger added is a much more lighter colored spice, but the darker spice has no ginger added in it. I used the spice with the added ginger, but I also grated some fresh ginger into the soup. Any of both spices would work for this soup, just have some fresh or dry ginger handy and add it to your taste. I’d like to say this though; as time passes, I have taken a liking to blending my peppersoup spices from scratch for maximum flavor. Anyway I am not lazy for nothing :), so the store bought spices is always also a kitchen favorite for me 🙂

By the way this is what the African yam looks like


African white yam. Image from sisi Kemi Kale


5.0 from 1 reviews
Yam and Fresh Fish Pepper Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 1small catfish (washed and gutted)
  • 1lb of mussels(optional)(you could use shrimp or prawns)
  • 6small cubes of fresh African white yam
  • 4tbsps of pepper soup spice powder (divided)(usually made out of, ehuru, Uda and the Uyayak pod)
  • 1small onion (divided)
  • 2-4 ata-rodo (depending on heat tolerance)
  • 1tsp. dry pepper
  • 1tbsp. crayfish powder
  • 4-6ehuru seeds
  • ½ inch of fresh ginger ginger (grated) or 1tsp ginger powder
  • any bouillon cube of your choice
  • a handful of basil or scent leaves
  • 1tbsp. palm oil (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Pour some really hot water over the catfish, let sit for a few seconds; then quickly pour out the hot water. Pour some cold water into the fish; then using your hands or a butter knife, peel the slime off the fish. Then rinse and drain
  2. Season the fish with 2 tablespoons of the pepper-soup spice and some salt; then set aside to marinate for 30minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, in a lidded bowl filled with warm water, shake the mussels vigorously to remove dirt. Drain and repeat three more times and set aside(also make sure to pull out any strings hanging from the mussels). Lightly toast the ehuru by burning over fire or in a pan(this enables it to release it's sweet aroma and taste); then blend it with half of the onion and the ata-rodo.
  3. Place the yam in a soup pot and pour some water over it. Season with salt, the bouillon cube and the ehuru and pepper(ata rodo) blend. Bring to a roaring boil; then reduce the heat and add the catfish to the pot, chop in the left over onion, add the other half of the pepper soup spice, crayfish and dry pepper. Cover the pot and cook on low for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how big the fish is). In the middle of cooking the fish, dump the mussels into the pot and cover. Once the fish is done and the mussels are opened up, turn off the heat and stir in the palm oil, ginger and basil(scent) leaves; then serve.(dump any unopened mussels)
Some people have a little trouble with keeping the fish whole whilst it is being cooked. The tendency is for it not to disintegrate in the pot. So here’s what I do: I soak in hot water, promptly remove, and sometimes after soaking it in hot water, I run some cold water on it before cleaning it. Then I refrigerate after seasoning.



  1. Dammy B says:

    Thanks Nma for sharing…I just learnt a new way to wash catfish. I always run away from any dish that has to do with catfish because of the slime…lol

  2. kay says:

    what ehuru and pepper blend, i have read through twice and dont see where youve said blend the ehuru with pepper or something. you spend a lot of time telling stories and less time actually focusing on the meal which is why we are here. or no?

    • Nma Okpara says:

      I’m really sorry my stories are not your thing. You could jump the story telling part and go straight to the recipe. There is nothing missing in the recipe. Ata rodo means pepper. I hope this helps 🙂

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