How To

How to Cook Bitter Leaf Soup (5 Easy Steps)

Bitter leaf soup or Ofe Onugbu is a native soup for the Anambra people, bitter leaf soup is very delicious, most Igbo men love this soup so much, back then as kids whenever we are visiting our grandma, we always request that she makes our favorite native soup. Even Igbo mothers prepare the soup for their children and husband whenever they are coming home after a while. Do not get it wrong it can be eaten any time of day but some days are special when our mothers prepare the soup especially for the loved ones.

Don’t be confuse about the name Onugbu soup, the name is not what you think, it is very delicious, it is not bitter after preparation especially when you wash the leaf properly. To get the taste of Onugbu you have to wash it properly by squeezing the bitter leaves, use oil, change the water till you can’t find the taste of bitterness.

One will be deemed a bad cook if his/her Bitter leaf soup tastes bitter!

Ingredients For cooking Bitter leaf soup

  • Washed and squeezed bitter leaf – A handful
  • 10 small corms Cocoyam
  • 3 cooking spoons Red Palm Oil
  • Assorted Beef: Includes best cut, shaki (cow tripe)
  • Assorted Fish: Dry Fish and Stock Fish
  • Pepper, salt, and ground crayfish (to taste)
  • 3 stock cubes
  • 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo (traditional seasoning)

Important information about bitter leaf soup

  1. If you are outside Nigeria, you can use dried, washed, and squeezed bitter leaves but you need to, first of all, make the bitter leaves soft and fresh again before adding them to the soup.
  2. If you cannot buy cocoyam corms where you live, you can use cocoyam flour. An alternative to cocoyam flour is potato flour. See how to prepare the cocoyam flour or potato flour before adding it to your soup at How to Cook Nigerian Soups with Flour as Thickener.
  3. Ogiri Igbo is optional, it gives Bitter leaf Soup a traditional taste.

What you should do before cooking Bitter leaf Soup

  1. Make sure that the bitter leaves are well washed, such that there is no trace of bitterness left. If not, wash and squeeze it more. If the bitterness cannot be completely washed off (which is usually the case with most washed bitter leaves sold in the market), boil it for about 15 minutes and wash it in cold water.
  2. Wash and cook the cocoyam till soft. Remove the peels and use a mortar and pestle to pound the corms to a smooth paste.

How to cook bitter leaf soup

These are the steps you should take to prepare your delicious bitter leaf soup.

  1. Boil the shaki (cow tripe), stockfish, and dry fish in 1 liter of water till they are well done. The first sign of a done shaki is that the cuts will start curling on themselves.
  2. Wash the beef and add to the pot of shaki etc. and continue cooking. When the meat is done, add 3 cubes of Maggi/Knorr and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add pepper, ground crayfish, bitter leaves (if they have not been parboiled) and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the cocoyam paste (in small lumps) and the palm oil then go to step 5.
    Note: If the bitter leaves were parboiled to remove the bitterness, then for step 3; add pepper, ground crayfish, the cocoyam paste (in small lumps), the bitter leaves, and the palm oil. In other words, add all the ingredients at this stage.
  4. Cover the pot and leave to cook on high heat till all the cocoyam lumps have dissolved. You can add more water if you feel that the soup is too thick.
  5. Add salt to taste and the soup is ready

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