Back in the day, i used to have a phobia for preparing this soup. This was because the very first time i cooked it, i ended up throwing the whole pot of soup away due to the unbearable bitter taste - the whole fam went to bed hungry that day and i didn't hear the last of it for the rest of the week. The next time i made it, i unknowingly released a stink bomb throughout the whole house due to adding excess ogiri. This was a milder blunder compared to the first and the smell left within a day after emptying about two cans of air freshener. I guess my experiences made me a pro in the preparation and right now, i can proudly say i'm totally in love with onugbu soup.
Ofe Onugbu "bitter leaf soup" is a tasty Nigerian soup native to the igbos from the eastern part of Nigeria. The name 'bitter leaf soup' is derived from the fact that the leaf used in preparation Vernonia Amygdalina is bitter until washed thoroughly. Preparation is quite easy as i'm about to show you. Click HERE to view full list of Nigerian leafy vegetables
Prep Time: 15 mins
Total Time: Over an hour
Serves: 4-6 people
•3 handfuls Bitter leaf
• 600g Red Beef
• 500g Assorted meat: Tripe, Ponmo - Optional
• 1 Cup Periwinkles (Isam) - Optional
• Stock fish/ Dry Fish
• 1 Red scotch bonnet pepper - diced
• 2 cooking spoon Palm oil
• 1 cooking spoon Crayfish
•2 Seasoning cubes
•Salt to taste
Step 1: The major misconception about this soup is that it's bitter. In actual fact, it's not meant to be bitter if prepared well. The first thing to do is to wash the bitter leaf by hand thoroughly to remove the bitter taste. A shortcut to this would be to place it in a pot and boil for 10mins. While doing this, make sure the pot is left uncovered otherwise it'd bubble out. Once you're done boiling, strain with a sieve and rinse severally with cold water. Squeeze off excess water - Set Aside.
Step 2: Place the Washed beef, assorted meat, Periwinkles (Isam), Stock fish/ Dry Fish, pepper in a medium sized pot, add some salt and boil with little water for 15 mins. Pour some more water just enough to cover the content of the pot.
Step 3: Check for salt and add more if necessary, add the crushed seasoning and ogiri into the pot and mix. Leave to boil for 5mins till the liquid in the pot starts to bubble.
Step 4: Gently add the Cocoyam paste, leave to dissolve in the bubbling liquid. Remember, the cocoyam being used is the non-edible type that draws and not the edible type that can be boiled and eaten like yam. As it boils, it'd begin to thicken. Add the palm oil and Crayfish - Leave to thicken further.
Step 5: By now you should notice a considerable reduction in the volume of liquid in the pot. Gently add the washed bitterleaf and mix to incorporate. Leave to boil further for 10mins more before turning off the burner. Serve hot with your favorite swallow