Bitter leaf soup, or ofu onugbu, is a wide-loved traditional specialty. The variations of bitter leaf soup recipe are numerous. If you don’t know how to cook bitter leaf soup, there are some options to choose from.
Ingredients for Nigerian bitter leaf soup
There are some must-have ingredients: you can cook bitter leaf soup with egusi, achi, ede, ofor, or ogbono. The most common recipe is bitter leaf with cocoyam. Bitter leaf and meat are also obligatory ingredients, but the rest can vary.
How to prepare bitter leaf soup with cocoyam
- Bitter leaf
- Meat – 2 kg (you can choose)
- Dryfish – 2, medium size
- Stock fish head – 1, big size
- Ground crayfish – ½ cup
- Onion – ½ cup
- Seasoning – 3 cubes (Maggi, Knorr, or other)
- Palm oil – 250 ml
- Pounded cocoyam
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soften the leaves to remove the bitterness. For this, boil them for 10-15 minutes. As an alternative, you can add some potash and boil only for 3 minutes. However, this ingredient will influence the taste, so you should wash them thoroughly to remove the taste.
- Parboil the meat with 2 cubes of seasoning, 1 tablespoon of salt, and onions. Cook the meat for approximately 10 minutes, until it is tender.
- Wash the fish. Then cook until tender.
- Add more water, palm oil, ground crayfish, remaining cube of seasoning, and some salt and pepper to taste. Stir and wait till it boils.
- Add cocoyam and ogiri.
- Continue cooking until the cocoyam dissolves. It will take approximately 10 minutes. Then add the bitter leaves, some more salt, and cook for 3 more minutes.
Read also: Bitter leaf side effects
How to prepare bitter leaf soup without cocoyam
As an alternative, you can cook cook bitter leaf soup with ogbono.
- Ogbono seeds – 2 handfuls
- Meat and fish (use a mixture of any: beef, cowfoot, ponmo, shaki, dry fish, stock fish)
- Bitter leaf – a handful
- Red palm oil – 3 tablespoons
- Meat stock
- Dried crayfish (a handful)
- Onion – 1 bulb, minced
- Seasoning – 2 cubes (Maggi, Knorr, or other)
- Chili pepper (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Grind the ogbono seeds thoroughly with the help of blender.
- Wash the assorted meat and fish and cook.
- Chop the onions, grind the pepper.
- Pour the oil into a dry pot. Set on low heat and add the onions (optional).
- Puff off the heat and add the ground ogbono. Stir until dissolved.
- Put the pot back on low heat, add some water, cover, and leave to boil for a minute.
- Add shredded bitter leaf and boil for 15 minutes. Constantly check and stir to prevent burning.
- Add other leaves (if you decide to use some) and salt. Stir well. Leave to boil for a minute and put off the heat.
How to prepare bitter leaf soup: simple recipe
If you are not sure your cooking skills allow using one of the recipes above, here is how to make simple bitter leaf soup without meat.
- Greens (kale, turnip and mustard greens) – 1 kg
- Onions – 2, minced
- Chili pepper – 1 piece
- Vegetable oil – 4 tablespoons
- Canned tomatoes – 2 cups
- White rice – ¼ cup
- Heat vegetable oil in a large pot. Put onions in and cook during 5 minutes on a medium heat till they become transparent.
- Seed and mince chili. Add tomatoes (without juice) in the pot. Add chili. Cook for around 10 minutes.
- Cut greens and chop them into pieces. Stir into the soup pot. Cover and cook until the greens are limp, approximately 5 minutes.
- Add tomato juice and chicken stock. Boil and add rice.
- Reduce the heat from medium to low. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, until rice is tender. Before removing the pot from heat, add bitter leaf and salt and pepper to taste.
Bitter leaf soup benefits
Excellent taste is not the only reason to cook bitter leaf soup. There are around 30 positive health effects of bitter leaf that have been proven. Among the other advantages of consuming this plant:
- Maintaining skin health
- Lowering hypertension
- Increasing endurance
- Regulating sugar levels
- Normalization of digestive functions
- Reducing toothache
- Treatment of venom insects and inflammations
- Dysentery treatment
- Treating kidney diseases
- Prophylactics of respiratory tract infections
- Treating typhus, tuberculosis, and malaria
- Cancer prevention
The great part of benefits is preserved regardless of the form they are consumed. Bitter leaf soup is the proof that healthy food can be very tasty. Just remember about moderate consumption and undesirability for pregnant women: bitter leaf soup and pregnancy are not a good combination.