Bitter leaf soup is a savory and filling Nigerian soup, with a slightly bitter taste. Most Nigerians swear by its nutritional and health benefits.
Bitter leaf soup is made with a leafy green, native to parts of Africa, known as Bitter leaf. There are so many ways to prepare this dish, however; bitter leaf needs to take center stage.
Health Benefits Of Bitter Leaf
Bitter leaf is very popular in Nigeria and parts of Africa, not only because it is cheap and readily available but also because of its numerous health benefits.
African bitter leaf is used to treat malaria, help lower blood pressure, and treat gut and abdominal issues.
To cook Bitter leaf soup (Onugbu Soup):
330g Bitter leaf (onugbu, processed in the market) Assorted meat (beef, cowskin, tripe, intestines etc) Dry fish stockfish 3-4 cups Palmoil 2 cups cocoyam paste (ede)* 22-25g ogili isi 6 tablespoons ground crayfish 6 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper) 8 cups stock+water 4 seasoning cubes salt
- Wash and boil bitter leaf to remove the last bit of bitterness and soften it. The color of the leaves will be dull and very slightly browned.
- Meanwhile, process your cocoyam. Wash and boil cocoyam till soft. Peel and pound with mortar and pestle, blender, or food processor. Set aside.
- Wash dry fish. Soak dry fish in boiling hot water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse well in cold water.
- Wash and boil meat and stockfish, till almost tender, add dry fish and boil for 5 minutes.
Add enough water to the stock to make up to 8 cups of broth. Bring to a boil.
Add palm oil, bitter leaf, pepper, and cocoyam paste in big lumps.
Cook for 5-8 minutes till cocoyam has almost all dissolved and the soup has thickened.
Reduce heat to medium-high and add crayfish, ogili, and seasoning cube, stir, taste, and add salt.
Cook till the oil has lost all its raw taste and the taste of the ingredients has blended well about 8 minutes.
Reduce the heat further and cook for another 5 minutes, it is a long cooking soup. Take off the heat.
Serve with any swallow of your choice.
- If you prefer your leaves small, then squeeze the washed bitter leaf into a tight lump and shred with a sharp knife.
- Mixed meat simply means different parts of the cattle put together in a dish e.g, the flesh, tripe, intestine, cow leg, cow skin (kpomo, canda), tongue, etc.
- Bitter leaf soup (onugbu soup) benefits from ‘mixed meat’. When boiling your mixed meat, bear in mind that different parts of the cattle cook at different times, check each part to be sure it is done. If not remove the cooked parts like the flesh and continue cooking the parts that are still tough.
- The best cut of meat for onugbu soup is the cattle’s hump meat called torso. It is fat marbled, rich-tasting, and tender. After boiling, you can skim off some of the fat.