Nigeria has countless cultures, just so is the diversity of vegetable soup. Nigerian Vegetable soup differs from tribe to tribe and the type of vegetable used are more popular than others. Eforiro, Afang, Edikaikong, and co are some of the really popular ones around. These vegetables are the constants in their native kitchens.
How to Make Vegetable Soup Using Ugwu and Water Leaf
- Kitchen knife
- Chopping board
- 2 bowls (medium/large)
- Cooking pot
- Fresh clean water
- 1 cup of palm oil
- 6 cups of ugwu leaf
- 2 spoons of ofor
- 12 cups of waterleaf
- 2-3 onion bulbs
- 500g dried fish
- 1 cup of grounded crayfish
- Salt (to taste)
- Pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup of periwinkle
- Stock fish head (medium size)
- Cut and wash the meat.
- Dice in 2 onion bulbs, add seasoning cubes (to taste) and any other spice, Parboil the meat. Cook till meat is almost soft for consumption.
- Wash the stock fish in hot water to remove the sand and other particles, then add to the meat on fire.
- Rinse the vegetables in cold water and slice it into separate bowls (water leaf and ugwu).
- Pour hot water into the bowls to soak the leaves for at least 3 minutes, then sieve out the leaves and throw away the water.
- Repeat the process until you are sure there is no more sand.
- Add 1 cup of palm oil to the boiling meat on fire, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook for 6-10 minutes, until there are very little traits of water.
- Add grinded crayfish, periwinkles, a spoon of grinded ofor (sprinkled) and stir.
- Leave to cook for 4-5 minutes.
- Add the water leaf, stir very well and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the ugwu leaf and stir.
- Leave to simmer for 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and allow it to cool off.
Your Edikaikong soup is ready to be served with your favourite solid meal, be it Eba, Wheat, Semo, Pounded yam or Fufu.
Please Note: Do not overcook your vegetables to avoid it losing it nutritional value. So, be careful with the timing.
How to Make Vegetable Soup Using Spinach
- 4 pounds of spinach chopped
- 1 pound of cooked meat/fish of choice
- A 1/2 pound of small freshwater shrimp
- 2 roma tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 large red onion
- 2 habanero peppers
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 cup palm oil/annatto oil
- 3 tablespoons of powdered dried shrimp
- Salt to taste
Blend Tomato Mixture & Saute Onions
Blend half of the red onion with the tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, and hot pepper. Chop the other half of the red onion. Heat the oil and sauté the onions in a deep saucepan or stockpot, over medium heat until its golden brown.
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Cook Tomato Sauce
Add the blended tomato mix, and allow to cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid burning. After 30 minutes, the sauce should be significantly reduced, at this point season it with powdered dry shrimp and salt to taste. If your cooking with cooked red meat, chicken or fish add them to the sauce at this point. If using dried mushrooms, re-hydrate and them at this point as well.
Stew the Spinach
Add the fresh shrimp to the sauce, and then add the spinach. At this stage, the spinach may look too much, but allow it to boil for about 1 minute. Gently stir the stew and the spinach until the spinach is reduced to about half its original size. Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste if necessary. This stew is best served warm and freshly cooked.
Please Note: If you wish, you may sprinkle some table spoons of grinded egusi (melon seeds) into the soup
How to Make Vegetable Using Ukazi Leaves (Afang)
This delicious soup like the Edikang Ikong soup is native to the Efiks, the major occupant of (Cross River & Akwa Ibom State). It really doesn’t matter your language, background or ethnic group; you can go ahead and try different foods from different Nigerian cultures and ethnicity.
It is also very nutritious as the soup consists mainly of vegetables. Afang Soup is prepared with a generous quantity of Water leaves and the wild herbal Okazi leaves.
- Sliced fresh water leaves (1kg)
- 1/2 cup of ground crayfish
- Ground fresh Ukazi leaves (200g)
- 3 cubes of knorr (sweetener)
- 1 stock fish head (medium size)
- 2 medium sized dried or roasted fish
- 1.5 cups of palm oil
- 1 cup of Periwinkles (optional)
- Snails (optional)
- Salt and Pepper to taste (red fresh pepper)
- Pkomo (Optional)
- 1-2 kg of any meat of choice.
Assorted meat is the most suitable for afang soup but if you can’t find it in your location you can use any meat you find.
Wash the snails with lime juice or grape juice and be sure it is rid of its slimy fluid. The periwinkle (isam) are usually cleaned by the sellers, you just need to wash.
How to Cook Afang Soup
- Parboiling the meat with all the necessary ingredients (2 cubes of knorr, half cup of sliced onions, salt and other spice of choice)
- Some people wash the water leaves before slicing them while others choose to slice them before washing. Slice and wash the water leaves and set aside in a plastic sieve to make sure that water is properly drained away.
- Most people don’t like a trace of water in their afang soup, that can be easily arranged, just try to squeeze the water leaves tightly before you add them to the soup.
- Soak the dried fish with warm water, remove the center bones and wash thoroughly with just water; also wash the stockfish head with warm water. Add them to the cooking meat and cook till they are soft and the pot is almost dry. Add the palm oil, stir all together.
- The ground ukazi leaves act as a thickener for this soup, use fresh leaves for your soup but if you can’t find fresh stuff in your location, go ahead and substitute with the dried alternative. Add a seasoning cube, ground pepper, snails and salt to taste, allow cooking for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the water-leaves; allow to simmer for 5 minutes before adding the periwinkles, ground ukazi, and ground crayfish
- Stir all together, cover the pot and allow simmering for another 5 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
It can be served with fufu, eba, pounded yam, wheat. Any nice soft drink would be a welcome addition.