Monday, 1 September 2014

Ofe Ukazi/ Okazi Soup Recipe

Yesterday, i came back from the market with my freshly brought periwinkles. For a moment, i thought they were all dead till i came back to the kitchen to find them everywhere on the kitchen walls. The actual thought that the main ingredient for my Okazi soup was crawling away sent shivers down my spine. It took me almost an hour to get every single one that crept away back in place. From that moment, i vowed never to leave periwinkles by themselves Unguarded (Kitchen Tip no 1...lol!).
Ofe Ukazi "Igbo" or Afang Soup "Efik" is a tasty Nigerian soup which is quite popular in the Eastern & south eastern (Cross river....Akwa ibom) parts of Nigeria. The major ingredient which the name of the soup was coined from is the wild spinach leaf (Ukazi/Afang leaf) "Gnetum Africanum" (View full list of Nigerian leafy vegetables here). It's got a tough (hard) papery glossy texture and is tasteless without any distinctive smell until cooked. Due to it's tough texture, its usually sold pre-sliced in the Nigerian market by the vendors.
Sometimes after it's sliced, it's further ground with a dry mill as this tends to bring out the taste more in soups. The igbos prepare Ofe Ukazi in two ways; With Egusi Or With Achi which serves as the soup thickener. Usually when it's being prepared with Egusi, Achi wouldn't be added as egusi serves as a good thickener. Also, When prepared with Achi, some igbos (Especially those in the riverine areas) prefer Grinding the Okazi leaves a little bit more after Slicing. This helps in bringing out the real taste of the soup. Similarly, the Efiks prepare Afang soup slightly different from the Igbo version. For afang, Waterleaf is usually substituted for Achi or Egusi (Just like edikaikong). Also, The Efiks grind the okazi leaves further after slicing.
Afang or Okazi leaves is a rich source of protein and both essential and non-essential amino acids. it also has an anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties
 

How to make Ofe Ukazi or Okazi / Afang soup
• Prep Time:   15 minutes
• Cook Time:  Over 45mins
• Serves:         4


Ingredients:::
• 450g Okazi leaves (4 Handfuls), Sliced thinly
• 400g Periwinkles "isam/ Mfi", Shelled - Optional
• 400g Red Beef
• A handful Achi (About 3 tablespoon full, ground)
• 2 Scotch bonnet pepper (Yellow)
• 1 Red Onion
• 2 Seasoning cubes
• 1 Small Stock fish part
• 1 small dry fish - optional
• 1 cooking spoon crayfish
• 1 cup Palm oil
• Salt to taste


Directions:::
Step 1: To prepare the Okazi leaves, you'd have to choose between Grinding, pounding or leaving the leaves like that. The consistency of the ground okazi soup is usually thick. If you intend using it like that, simply wash the sliced leaves and set aside. If you want to pound, wash and place the leaves in a mortar and pound with a pestle till it breaks up further. You can also grind the leaves at home or with a commercial mill in the market (This is usually done with a little bit of crayfish to make it grind smoothly). - Set this aside.

Step 2: Grind the Achi with a dry mill and set aside.

Step 3: For this meal, i used shelled periwinkles "Mfi/isam". You could either use the shelled or un-shelled type. To prepare, wash the shelled periwinkles thoroughly to remove the mud. Chop off the sharp edge of the Isam/ Mfi with a Knife or pincer as shown in the pic below, Rinse clean and set aside.

Step 4: Wash the Beef, Stockfish, Dryfish and place in a small pot. Add the ,Seasoning cubes, Salt, ground pepper and Onions. Add a little water, just enough to cover the contents of the pot and cook for about 15 mins till tender. At this point, add more water into the cooked meat. This would serve as a base for the soup.
Kitchen Tip: To reduce stress, you could add onion and pepper whole so that once the stock is done, they could easily be removed before the real soup preparation. This doesn't prevent it from giving you the needed flavor and basic nutritional benefits.

Step 5: Once the stock starts to boil, Simply add the palmoil and mix. Add the Achi , mix and leave to cook for about 15mins till the soup thickens. (When cooking afang, skip adding the achi)

Step 6: At this point, you can now add the Crayfish and Periwinkles, Leave for 5 minutes

Step 7:  Add the ground or sliced Okazi/ Afang (if cooking Afang, mix the afang leaves with chopped waterleaves). Leave to cook futher for 12-15mins more.

Turn off the burner and Serve with your favorite swallow; Garri/Eba, Fufu, wheatmeal, pounded yam, Semolina e.t.c. O! and don't forget to suck out the periwinkles, that's the best part ;)


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25 comments:

  1. my frnd used to make this.. very delicious... now I'm hungry :( Thnks for the recipe :)
    ladywannabeblog.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha! your friend must be a cooking pro. You are welcome Olufunmi :)

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  2. Never knew that you culd use periwinkle for Okazi soup,will try it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do keep us posted sharon :)

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  3. Very delicious delicacy. Wen it comes to vegetable soup...Afang soup and I prefer mine with water leaf. Tnx Dob

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    Replies
    1. Afang soup is always a hit anytime. Ofe Okazi also never disappoints too. you're welcome quin :)

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  4. Dobby won't kill me with her recipes. I'm definitely going to try this out. Thank you for this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol! you are welcome Adaeze :)

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  5. Hi Dobby,
    Status report:
    I prepared the following per ur site:
    Nkwobi - fair, ofe utazi - great, ofe nsala - great, jollof spag - good flaw: excess oil.
    Thanks to your site, am turning into confirmed chef!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the status report fab Melody, with time and Hopefully the ratings for Nkwobi and Jollof spaghetti would improve :D.

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  6. This is the first time I am seeing a recipe calling for Achi in Afang soup. Will try it out dis wknd and let you know. Will retry d shortbread too. Tnx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. please do keep us posted k ;)

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  7. Hello Dobby, grt job you are doing here, do kip it up. i ll like to know if pounded cocoyam can be used as a thickener instead of the achi?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi chigal,
      Pounded cocoyam (ede ofe) cannot be used instead of achi. It could only be used for OFE OHA
      Or OFE ONUGBU (Bitter leaf soup). You can Use "offor" instead of "Achi" for this recipe.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous6:31 pm

      Hi Dobby! I use baking flour as a thickner

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    3. No you can't use baking flour as a thickener for this.

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  8. Berius6:48 pm

    Can a blender bbe used to grind the leaves instea of a commercial mill?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. sure you can use a blender to grind it instead.

      Delete
  9. cindy6:01 pm

    Neva prepared dis food b4, buh my spouse left specification on dis soup...tnks 4 d recipe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you're welcome cyndy

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  10. I live in Chicago achi is hard to get here last time I want to African store with my husband I couldn't find it what can I use in its place

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:55 am

      You can cook it like that without Achi. Calabar people make theirs without it.

      Delete
    2. Other options include Cocoyam (ede ofe) or Offor.

      Delete

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