Sunday, 17 April 2016

Two Nigerian soups in one: Ofe Oha (Oha soup) & Ofe Nsala (White soup)

Hi Guys!!!

Hope you had a great week?....I sure did.

Surprisingly, this week I was really hungry for my local dishes. From the Nigerian Puff-puff to some other recipes I'll be uploading soon, I just really needed that traditional igbo home touch. 

Now, my favourite south eastern Nigerian soup for a pretty long time was 'oha' also pronounced 'ora' soup. But it wasn't until last year I tried 'nsala' soup in a local bukka, and I was hooked. I definitely had to learn to make it, but funny enough, it had very similar ingredients as my oha soup. 

Now, although I'm igbo, I have no idea what the word 'nsala' means, so please don't ask But because its one soup that doesn't include palm oil in its preparation, I guess thats why its also called 'white soup'. However, the word 'oha' is actually the south eastern (igbo) name for the leaves used in making the soup. 
I would probably say the biggest challenge about making this soup here is actually the cost, especially here. Funny enough, the cost of the meat and fish used in this recipe, was actually the cheapest part of it. Thats probably b'cos I used the three most inexpensive proteins in the UK; mackerel (fish) (£1.79), gizzard (£1) and pork (£1.49). Now the two leaves, oha (£2) and oziza (£2) used, were actually the most expensive ingredients I bought. But the good thing is that, in Nigeria, its actually the reverse, the leaves are cheaper.

Fortunately, a while ago my mum had sent me about 500g of periwinkle and some 'ogiri' also known as 'ground locust beans' from Nigeria, so I didn't have to buy any here. Also, my boyfriends mum sent me about four huge stock fish pieces, and so I didn't have to buy any either.

I made both soups simultaneously (cos the ingredients are similar), and so I'm going to describe the entire process. If you want to make them separately though, you still can.

So here's how I made it....them rather #wink


  • 1 large Onion
  • 2 scotch bonnet peppers
  • Assorted meat (gizzard, pork, stock fish, mackerel)
  • A bunch of oha leaves
  • A bunch of oziza leaves
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp of ogiri (ground locust beans)
  • 2 tbsps of crayfish
  • 4 stock cubes (2 maggi crayfish, 2 maggi chicken)
  • 1 cocoyam
  • 1 tuber of yam
  • 1 tbsp of palm oil
  • 3 cups of water

  1. Blend the onions and pepper together, and set aside.
    Blended onions and pepper
  2. Chop the oziza leaves thinly, and the oha leaves too.
    Chopped oha leaves

    Thinly sliced oziza leaves
  3. In a pot, place the fish in a cup of water or more depending on how much fish you are using, and add a table spoon of the blended onions and pepper, a teaspoon of salt and 1 maggi crayfish cube, mix and allow to boil till its tender.
    Boiling the fish
  4. Remove the fish pieces from the broth, chop them into smaller pieces and set aside, alternatively, you could leave them whole. Add the stock fish into the broth and allow to cook till its tender add more water if you need to. 
    Chopped fish pieces
  5. In another pot, add the gizzard, pork, maggi chicken, the onion blend, a pinch of salt and a cup of water, and bring to the boil, add more water and top-up if you need to.
  6. Once the meat is done, separate them into the two pots (add some meat into the pot that had the fish broth) and put back onto the stove to boil.
  7. Cut up the yam and cocoyam, and boil in some water for about 20 minutes or until its fork tender. Remove from the water and set aside.
    Boiled yam and cocoyam
  8. Separate the yam from the cocoyam and blend both separately in a food processor. Starting with the yam.
    The yam about to be pureed in the food processor
    Pureed yam

    Checking the consistency and about to transfer
  9. Once the yam is pureed well, transfer it into the pot of meat for the nsala and allow to boil for about 10 minutes, until the yam clumps disappear. 
    Adding the pureed yam into the pot for the nsala soup

  10. Puree the cocoyam with some palm oil, and transfer into the pot for the oha soup, it acts as the thickener.
    Pureed cocoyam with some palm oil

    Add caption

    The cocoyam clumps added into the oha soup pot
  11. Add the crayfish and chopped fish pieces into both pots.
    Adding the fish pieces into the oha soup pot
  12. Then divide the ogiri/ locust beans and add it into both pots of soup and mix well.
    Adding half tsp of ogiri into the nsala pot
  13. Rehydrate the periwinkle in some water, remove the stubs on the head, and divide into two. 
    Soaked periwinkle

    Removed the stub heads from the periwinkle
  14. Place half into the oha soup and another into the nsala pot. 
    Adding the periwinkle
  15. Now, divide the chopped ozizia leaves into two and add them into both pots of soup and allow to boil for about 2 minutes. 
    Adding the oziza leaves
  16. Now add the chopped oha leaves into just the pot for oha soup and stir and take off the heat IMMEDIATELY. I also like to add a few oha leaves into the nsala too, just b'cos i like it.
  17. Take both pots off the heat source and its ready to serve with some semolina or eva or any swallow really.
  1. Remove the soup from the heat once you add the oha leaves, or else it would turn brown and look wilted not green-fresh.
  2. Some people like to add some ground egusi into their oha soup, which is also nice.

Nigerian Puff-Puff/ Ghanaian Kose

Hi Guys!!

Hope you had a wonderful week?...I sure did.

Ever had one of those days when all you want to eat is something fried, hot, soft and yummy, something from home that would be perfect for the horrible spring weather (cold and wet) we are having here. Well, fried yam came to mind first, but I just wasn't in the mood to go looking for yam tubers here in Sheffield.

So, I decided to try out a recipe from way back. Funny thing is, I might probably be the first or only Nigerian child that never actually had puff puff made at home. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, I don't remember my mum making it for us. I remember having it as a child though because one of my uncles bought it from a hawker on the street. 

I didn't eat it again until I went to Ghana. Its actually called 'Kose' in there, its made into very huge balls and is usually served as breakfast with some 'koko' which is pretty much very light and watery 'pap/akamu' in Nigeria.  From the kose-seller down my street, you would probably get about two huge balls of 'kose' with about a cup of 'koko' and that was a very filling breakfast... trust me!

So, I decided to re-create those fond memories of 'kose/ puff puff' without the koko/ akamu in this recipe, and make mine a bit more playful, and small for portion control. 

So heres how I made it.

  • 1tbsp of yeast
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of warm milk
  • 1tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 1 egg (optional)
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 2 litres of oil for frying
  1. In a bowl, place the flour, salt, nutmeg, egg (optional) and pepper then mix together. It might became sticky and almost doughy if you add the egg, if not it would just be the dry ingredients.
    Flour in the bowl

    Adding the nutmeg

    Adding salt into the flour and nutmeg
  2. Add the cup of warm water into the cup of milk, add the sugar and mix. Then add the yeast and allow it to activate for about 5 minutes.
    Yeast being added to the warm milk and water

    Activating the yeast
  3. Gradually add the yeast mixture into the dough or flour mixture and mix till it becomes slightly runny and sticky. 
    Adding the yeast into the flour

    Sticky batter
  4. Cover with a cling film or towel and place in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
    After 20 minutes, bubbles begin to form in the batter
  5. Place the frying oil in a deep pot and allow it to heat up.
    Heating up the oil
  6. Scoop the batter into the hot oil, and allow it to fry until it puffs up in the pan and the bottom begins to turn golden brown. Then flip it over and allow the other side to turn brown. (Mine had funny
    Placing the batter into the hot oil

    Flipping one side over
  7. Remove from the oil, and serve immediately.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Beef and Shrimp Pot sticker

Hi Guys!!

Hope you are having a great week? ....I certainly am!

So, over the weekend I had some girlfriends from church over for lunch. I had been procrastinating this get-together for a while now, just because I couldn't really find the time to host or cook something exciting, especially with all the school work I had going on. But after going over to Anna's place, and relaxing a bit, I figured it was about time. Of course,  keeping with my inspiration over at Bristol, a Chinese themed meal couldn't be half bad. 

So, I decided to make a three course meal for them, but I really didn't want to spend all day in the kitchen. I had also gone grocery shopping the day before, and just got the essentials I needed for the week. So, with this three-course meal, I was also on a budget. Usually, most Asian cuisines have a tonne of ingredients, which actually makes them pretty yummy. But this igbo chick wasn't going to spend any more than she had to. 

For my appetiser, I decided to make some 'Potstickers'. I felt it was probably the simplest, in-expensive and excitingly yummy thing to make. Plus I already had all the ingredients in my fridge from my shopping. So here's how I made them.

For the filling
  •  1 cup of minced meat
  • 1/2 cup of shrimps/prawns
  • 1/2 cup coriander
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper (fresh or dried)
  • 1tsp chopped garlic
  • 1tsp chopped ginger
  • 1-2 Mushrooms (optional)
For the dough
  • 1.5 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1tsp of salt
  • Rolling pin
  • Cling film
  • A cup or cookie cutter
  • Frying pan (with a cover or a large plate)
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 2 Tbsp of oil

  1. To make the dough, put the flour into a clean bowl, add the salt and mix. Gradually add the hot water into the flour, and mix to form a dough. Knead the dough on the work surface very well, and ensure it is not too sticky (add a little flour if it is). The dough should spring back when pressed. Place in a cling film to prevent it from drying out.
    Dough covered with cling film
  2. Add all the filling ingredients into a food processor, and pulse until its well combined, then transfer into a bowl.
    Coriander, mushroom, shrimps, beef mince, pepper (filling)

    Filling in the food processor
    The filling pulsed
  3. Roll out the dough (use half) with a rolling pin, until its about a millimetre thin. Use a cookie cutter to cut out large circular shapes from the dough.
    Circular shapes cut out of the rolled dough
  4. Taking one of the circular dough pieces into the palm of your hands and place a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the dough.
  5. Dip a finger into the extra cup of water, and create a seal round the edges of the dough. Then use your other hand and press both edges together and crimp. 
    Crimping the edges together
  6. You can make pleats with the dough for a more decorative look. Do this for all the others.

    Pleats on the dough
  7. Add about 4 tablespoons of water and 2 tablespoons of oil into the frying pan and place it on low to medium heat.

  8. Add the potstickers into the pan, and cover it. Allow it to steam for about 3 minutes.

    Steaming the potstickers
  9. Remove the cover and allow the water to evaporate, leaving the oil in the pan.
    The water evaporating from the pan

    Golden brown potstickers
  10. Once this is done, remove the potstickers from the pan, and serve.
  1. Potstickers can be served with a variety of sauces, from regular soy sauce, to teriyaki. But I used my Sweet and Sour sauce (recipe would be shown in the next post).
  2. 3-4 minutes is enough for the meat to cook by steaming because the dough wrapper is thin enough. 
  3. You can use any combination of meats you like as your filling. 

Try out the recipe and #eleanorzkitchen to share pictures on instagram and Facebook.