Oha soup is a delicacy from South Eastern Nigeria. It is similar to the bitterleaf soup but cooked with Ora leaves instead. This soup is special because the ora leaves used in preparing this soup recipe are seasonal unlike bitterleaf which can be found all year round.I learnt how to cook this soup from my aunt who is from Anambra, she gave me the breakdown on this soup when I went visiting. So here comes my oha recipe. Picture credit Dooney’s Kitchen
2 handfuls of Oha/Ora leaves
Uziza leaves for extra flavour
1 cup of palm fruit or 1/2 cooking spoon of palm oil
1 wrap of Ogiri
3 pieces of cocoyam
3 pieces scotch bonnet/habanero pepper (ata rodo)
1 piece of Stock fish
1 piece of smoked fish
- Season and boil your meats with the stockfish until tender.
- Wash your palm fruit with salt to remove tiny bits of sand, pour in a pot, add water and boil till its well cooked. Put the boiled palm fruit in a bowl and mash to get the juice, once that is done, set aside.
- Clean the dry fish with hot water (to remove dirt and sands that may be on the oily skin of the fish) and set aside.
- Wash cocoyam thoroughly with water to remove sand, then place in a pot and boil until very tender. Once you confirm that its done, strain out water, peel of the brown skin and pound the cocoyam in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have mortar and pestle here is another alternative. You can use blender to get a soft stretchy paste.
- Grind the crayfish and the pepper together and set aside for later use.
- Tear up the oha leaves with your hands, slice the uziza leaves, wash and set aside.
- To the palm fruit juice, add the ground pepper and the cocoyam paste or ball.
- In few minutes time, depending on the heat the cocoyam paste will dissolve and thicken the stock, you will see the stock change to a pale shade of orange and by now it should be thicker in consistency. Stir well and leave to simmer until the cocoyam dissolves totally.
- Add the boiled meat, stockfish, dried fish and crayfish, cover and cook for 5mins.
- Add the sliced uziza leaves, simmer for about 2minute on a low heat and finally add the shredded Oha leaves and salt to taste, then simmer for 3 minutes.
- Once you have a rich oil filled stock, add the wraps of Ogiri. Start with one wrap but if you want a strong smell, you can add 2-3 wraps and let it dissolve. In a few minutes you will be able to perceive the smell of ogiri in the stock.
- Then add salt and maggi to taste, simmer for 2minutes. Now you can put off the heat.
Serve with any bolus ( eba, wheat, semo and fufu) food of your choice.
Local seasoning (Ogiri) brings out the traditional flavour of the soup. Although this local seasoning comes with a strong smell.
Source: Picture credit Dooney’s Kitchen