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.

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