2 lbs Malabar Spinachaka Water leaf
57 g/ 2 oz dried Afang leavesmay be labeled Okazi/Eru in the African store
3 lbs goat meatcut into large bite size cubes
½ cup cooked shelled Apple snails
½ cooked shelled Clams
½ cup palm oil
2 red onions
2 scotch bonnet pepperssubstitute with habanero peppers
4 tbsp Ground smoked dried shrimpaka crayfish
3 tsp Chicken Bullion
2 tbsp cayenne peppercrushed red pepper flakes optional
Afang soup, made by the Efik and Ibibio people that live mostly in the coastal states of Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom, is a stew made with Afang leaves and another common green leafy vegetable locally called waterleaf, aka Malabar spinach.
Afang soup is quite the staple in the coastal cities of South Nigeria and heavily features in ceremonies and festivals of the Ibibio, Efik, and other residents of the ‘South South’, including weddings, christenings and even at funerals. Afang leaf, also called Eru in Cameroon and Okazi in other parts of Nigeria, is a flavorful green leafy vegetable, Gnetum africanum, that is commonly grown in West Africa and used in making different soups and stews. Afang is one of the most common leafy vegetables in Nigeria and is predominantly found in Cameroon, Gabon, Congo, and Angola.
How to Make Afang Soup:
- Slice the onions and scotch bonnet peppers and set them aside.
- On a low-medium heat in a large stock pot, braise the goat meat with the one of the onions, scotch bonnet peppers, 1 tsp bullion, and 1 tsp salt for 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
- Half way into braising the goat meat, add ½ a cup of water and stir the meat to prevent in from burning. Keep the pot covered at all times during the braising process.
- While the meat is braising, wash your Malabar spinach in cool water to get rid of any sand and dirt. Pick off the tough stems and save the tender stems and leaves. Chop and set aside.
- In a food processor, roughly grind the Afang leaves just to break them up a little. Afang leaves are mostly sold in African stores already shredded, but you can break it up a little more using a food processor or mortar and pestle so the shreds are not as long.
- Once the meat is tender and is done braising, set aside.
- In a deep pot, heat up the palm oil on a medium heat (be careful not to over heat the oil) and sauté the other sliced onion for 10 minutes until it starts to caramelize.
- Add the snails and clams, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
- Add the braised goat meat and reserve the braising liquid. It is a very flavorful stock.
- Add in 2 teaspoons of bullion, crayfish, and, if you are spice-inclined, cayenne pepper. Stir, then add in the chopped water leaf.
- Just like regular spinach, the water leaf will look like a lot at first but wilt down in a few minutes. Once the leaf starts to wilt, add the Afang leaves and stir. It is customary to add the water leaves before the Afang leaves, but due to the toughness of the Afang leaves, add it before the water leaves. Really, feel free to do it whichever way you like, the soup will still taste good.
- Add about 1 cup of the braising liquid to the stew, turn the heat down to low, and continue cooking with the pot covered for another 10 minutes.
- Taste the stew for seasoning and adjust the salt if necessary.
- Turn the heat off and allow the stew to sit for 5 minutes, then serve hot with usi (starch), eba, pounded yam, fufu, semolina, amala, wheat meal, tuwo masara, or your favorite African swallow (REALLY! IS THIS CORRECT?).