1 ground cup Ogbono
Meator fish ( of your choice )
3 cooking spoons or more/less palm oil
1 big sized stockfish
Dried fishor smoked fish (of choice)
1 ground cup Crayfish
Bitter leafvegetable leaf or uziza leaf
1 onion bulbschopped
Peppersof your choice
Stock cubesof your choice
dried prawnsor shrimps
1 wrap of locust beans Ogiri
8 big sized snails
1 cup of unshelled Periwinkles
Bitter leafor pumpkin leaf or Uziza leaf
Dried fishor smoked fish
Meator fresh fish
dried prawnsor shrimps
dry peppersfresh peppers
Ogbono soup or Ofe Ogbono as it’s called by the Igbos in Nigeria is a delicious Soup that is similar to Okro/Okra soup because of its viscosity. In fact Nigerians almost always include it when cooking Okro/Okra Soup. This soup is also known as draw soup, is tasty and very easy to prepare.
Procedure Before Cooking:
- Grind/blend your ogbono seeds with either dry mill, dry blender, or hand grinding machine.
- Heat up your palm oil in a low heat, until it is hot, but not smoking, for about 1 to 2 minutes. Once melted, turn off the heat, and add in your ogbono inside the oil and stir to dissolve the ogbono with your palm oil and set aside OR Dissolve the ogbono with the cooking stock to create paste, before adding it to the soup. By adding the stock, it dissolves easily and it avoid lumps in the soup.
- Pluck, wash, and shred your vegetable leaves of choice.
- Wash the unshelled periwinkles, dried/smoked fish, stock fish, kpomo, and other ingredients and set aside.
- Chop your onion.
- Steam your proteins (meat, dried/smoked fish, stock fish, snails, kpomo and set aside.
- Grind/blend your peppers and crayfish, separately and set aside.
- Parboil your meat and other ingredients.
How to Cook Ogbono Soup:
There are 2 main methods of cooking ogbono soup. The choice is yours, to use any of these methods.
- Frying method
- Cooking method
- Pour palm oil to fry the ogbono into a dry cooking pot, and once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and locust beans and fry until the onion becomes translucent.
- Add the ground ogbono into the pot and let it fry for about 2 to 4 minutes on medium to low heat.
- Add in the meat/fish stock bit by bit and stir, so that it does not burn, cover and allow to boil for 10 minutes. When the meat stock is exhausted and you feel that the soup is still thick, you can start, by adding hot water in it, till you get the consistency of your choice.
- Add in the meat, dried fish and other proteins you steamed with the meat.
- If your choice of vegetable is bitter leaves, add it at this time and cover for 5 minutes without stirring it This step is optional and meant only for bitter leaves.
- Add in your steamed smoked fish or dried fish and periwinkles.
- Add in the ground crayfish, and ground pepper, stir and allow to boil a bit.
- Taste for salt and other spices. If you are using pumpkin leaf (ugwu leaf), this is the right time you will put it, cover the pot and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Always make sure your pumpkin leaf is half done.
- Turn off the heat and your ogbono soup is ready.
- Steam the meat, fish, stockfish, smoked/dried fish, kpomo and snail, to soft for consumption. When it has done, separate the fish and set aside, if only you don’t want the fish to disintegrate/scatter in the soup.
- Add in your palm oil and ogbono mixture, stir very well and allow to cook for about 15 minutes on medium heat to low heat.
- Add in your ground pepper, ground crayfish, ogiri, and stock cubes.
- If you are using bitter leaf, you can add it now, cover the pot, and allow to cook for 5 minutes before stirring it. This step is optional and it is only done if you are using bitter leaves to cook this soup.
- You can now add in your removed steamed fish and unshelled periwinkles into the boiling soup.
- Taste for salt and other spices.If you are using pumpkin leaf (ugwu leaf), this is the right time you will put it, and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Always make sure your pumpkin leaf is half done.
- Turn off the heat and your ogbono soup is ready. Your Ogbono soup can be served with either garri, fufu, pounded yam, semolina, semovita, or any swallow of your choice.
Tips for Preparing Ogbono Soup:
- Do not cover the pot after the ogbono has been added, covering the pot will make the soup watery and cause the ogbono to lose its slimy consistency.
- Ogbono soup can be prepared with either pumpkin leaf, bitter leaf or uziza leaf. Feel free to use your preferred vegetable to prepare your ogbono soup. You can still make the ogbono soup without adding any of the vegetables and cook it plain.
- You can cook ogbono soup together with okro.
- After grinding ogbono seeds, the ground ogbono may become lumpy or hardened; in this case, palm oil can be added to mix or dissolve the ground ogbono into a smooth paste. This makes it easy for the ground ogbono to dissolve and cook fast in the pot without much waste of time.
- You can still dissolve ogbono without having to mix it with palm oil. All you need to do, is to simply add the ground ogbono into a pot containing cold water and place on heat, as it boils, the ground ogbono will dissolve along, then add in the steamed meat and other ingredients you have prepared and kept aside, into the bubbling ogbono soup.
- Ogbono soup can be prepared into a watery or thick soup depending on your choice, but if you want it a bit runny or moderate, you may have to add a little water to the soup if you notice it becoming thick while simmering.
- Ogbono soup doesn’t really need much vegetables as in the case of others Nigerian vegetable soups. If you are going to add pumpkin leaf (ugwu leaf), a handful will be enough, you just need few bright leaves to float on top.
- Bitter leaf and uziza leaf can be used at the same time to prepare your ogbono soup and the taste is heavenly.
- If your ogbono soup is looking light brown, you can add another spoon of palm oil to get your desired colour.
- Cook your ogbono soup on medium to low heat.
- You can use any meat or fish of your choice.