How To

How to Cook Afia Efere (4 easy steps)

Afia efere or Calabar white soup is a soup that is very particular and peculiar to the efik and Ibibios (Calabars) in Nigeria, Calabar white soup is cooked without palm oil, it is cooked with goat meat or chicken and most time with beef, in which case the soup is termed “afia efere ebot” or “afia efere unen” respectively, depending on the type of protein it is cooked with.

Ingredients for cooking Afia efere.

  • 1 kg of fresh goat meat, I used chicken
  • 3 medium smoked fish
  • 2 medium sized fresh okra, sliced (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons ground crayfish
  • One tuber of medium sized yam
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper or 3 scotch bonnet peppers
  • 1 uyayak pod also known as tetrepleura or Aidan fruit
  • 2 cups of chicken broth or clean water
  • 3 pieces of Ehura-ehu or local nutmegs
  • 1 cup of chopped odusa (uziza) leaves or fluted pumpkin (ugu, spinach or curry leaves)
  • 3 chicken stock cubes to make it tasty.
  • Salt to taste

Before cooking Afia efere

  • If you are the type that loves viscous soup consistency, you can choose to add 2 pieces of chopped okra to your white soup, but this is optional.
  • Use meat broth, for instance the liquid you used in boiling your beef, got meat or chicken meat to cook this soup; it gives a full meat flavour.
  • Aidanfruit (uyayak ) is one of those spicy seasoning normally added to Afia efere, it gives some kind of nutty favour to the soup. Uyayak should be removed from the soup after the soup is cooked, it is not to be eaten it is just a spice just like thyme sprig.
  • Another spice that makes up Calabar white soup is the ehu seeds (local or calabash nutmeg); it produces a nice and earthy flavour in the soup while it cooks.
  • Pounded yam is the best bolus for Afia efere. However, you can serve the soup with semolina, eba or fufu if you are unable to prepare pounded yam.
  • Instead of using mortar and pestle to pound your yam, there is a pounded yam machine that can do the work faster without waste of time.
  • For thickening of afia efere, pounded yam is the main thickener but you can use yam four. if you are able to get yam flour, you can use achi or corn flour, but note that the taste might slightly change.
  • The leaves or vegetables should be add in just a little quantity not more than a cup or a handful, otherwise, the soup would look or taste like vegetable soup.
  • Do not add palm oil to the soup, if you do, it will change the taste and the colour of the soup
  • Also, the crayfish should not be too much; otherwise, it will diminish the flavour of other ingredients in the soup.
  • additionally, stockfish (cod)and snails can be added to afia efere; stockfish adds a smoky taste to the soup too.

How to cook Calabar white soup (Afia efere)

1. Bring an empty pot on heat, add cooked meat, the meat water, dried or smoked fish, uyayak and bring to a boil. In a large pot, combine goat meat, chicken, pepper, blended crayfish, salt, maggi, uyayak, uda, and smoked fish. Add enough water to just cover the ingredients.  Stir to combine. Set on high heat and bring to a rolling boil. reduce heat to medium-low and leave to simmer for 25 – 30 minutes

2. Cut pounded yam into smaller chunks and add to the content and leave it to dissolve while bubbling into a soup bowl and serve with pounded yam.

3. As the content bubbles, add ground crayfish, pepper, salt, dried fish, nutmeg and seasoning cubes and leave it to simmer for 20 minutes for all the spice diffuse in the soup.

4. Add your chopped vegetables and stir the soup thoroughly to enable all the ingredients to incorporate. Taste for seasonings and adjust if need be. leave the to simmer for 5 minutes more for the flavor to keep coming out.

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