How to Cook Bitter Leaf Soup
Popularly known as Ofe Onugbu to the eastern parts of Nigeria, it is quite a favorite. And sometimes it feels weird explaining to people that being called bitter-leaf doesn’t necessarily make it bitter. If cooked properly, it is something you would enjoy. Ofe onufgbo is a low-carb soup because the properties of the leaf serve as a body cleanser and help you to maintain your weight. You can cook it in three different ways, such as bitter leaf with egusi (melon seeds), bitter leaf with ede (coco-yam), bitter leaf with achi, bitter leaf with offor, and bitter leaf with ogbono.
In this article, I will be discussing how to cook bitter-leaf soup with coco-yam because it is my favorite style for bitter leaves. If you’ve read the previous article on Oha soup, you will realize that preparation is still the same. The only difference is the leaves used to cook.
Also, note that the list and quantity of ingredients are enough for at least ten people. Feel free to increase the amount if you have extra people to feed. Also, unlike some exotic soups that you have to finish in one sitting, bitter leaf soup can be refrigerated and eaten at a later date. You can store bitter leaf soup in a refrigerator, but ensure that you eat it before the expiration of two weeks.
To prepare bitter leaf soup, you will need the following ingredients:
Nigerian Bitter Leaf Soup
Popularly known as Ofe Onugbu to the eastern parts of Nigeria, it is quite a favorite. And sometimes it feels weird explaining to people that being called bitter-leaf doesn't necessarily make it bitter.
- 2 Kg Protein (Beef, chicken, pork, or turkey)
- Bitter leaf
- Small bulb of onions
- 1/2 Cup Ground crayfish
- 3 cubes Seasoning
- Ogiri (a seasoning made from the fermentation of castor oil seeds)
- 2 Mid-size Dry Fish
- 4 Cooking Spoon Palm oil
- 1 Large Stock fish head or the flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Coco Yam
Preparation of the Nigerian Bitter Leaf Soup
Before cooking the soup, you would have to wash the bitter leaf properly to reduce the bitter taste. To get the bitterness to the barest minimum, soak for at least one hour. The first thing to do is to rinse the leaves, and then scrub them. While scrubbing the bitter leaf, you will notice dark green foam oozing out. Continue washing until the foam that oozes out is white. At this moment, the bitterness is at a minimum level. Boil the leaves for 10 to 15 minutes, drain and set aside.
The boiling process helps to soften the leaves and reduce the bitter taste if it is still bitter. It is optional; some people wash and use it for cooking. This process is quite long and can be unpleasant because of the bitter taste it leaves on your fingers and the coloring on your fingernails. The best option will be to buy it already squeezed and washed from the market. However, it is better and hygienic to wash these leaves on your own.
Next, wash the coco-yams, peel the top and bottom, and boil until they are soft. Peel off the skin, then pound the coco-yam until it is a sticky white paste. Some people add a little oil to the paste to color it. It is optional, just for decorative reasons. Also, I heard that the oil helps to reduce the stickiness of the coco-yam against the body of the mortar. Once this is done, dish the paste onto a plate and set aside.
Next, wash your meat and season it with chopped onions, one seasoning cube, and salt to taste.
Do not add water. Place your pot on the fire, and leave it to boil.
The liquid from the meat or protein will seep out and cook the meat. Make sure you check it often so that it doesn’t dry off. Also, if the water is about to dry off, add a little to aid the parboiling process. While the meat or protein is parboiling, boil a little water and use it to wash the dried fish and stockfish.
Make sure you remove the entrails and clean the skin of the fish to eliminate sand particles. After about 8 minutes, add the stockfish and dried fish to the pot, then add the maximum amount of water to cook the soup.
After about ten minutes, add your oil, crayfish (not the full cup, just three spoons out of the quantity meant for cooking) and pepper and leave to boil for another 6 minutes. At this point, the oil has adequately mixed with the water, making it a bit pale yellow. You can add the coco-yam paste.
Ensure that you drop it into the pot, bit by bit so that they don’t gather as a lump at the bottom of the pot. Stir the soup and add the ogiri. Leave it to cook for four minutes, then add the remaining cubes, crayfish, and bitter leaf. Leave the soup to simmer for another 5 minutes, and turn off the heat. Your bitter-leaf soup is ready to be eaten. You can take it with eba, fufu or semolina, depending on what you like.