Nigerian soups are central to many Nigerian family meals. I was chatting to some young ladies the other day and one of them confessed to the fact that she is ready to offer visitors a rice dish but tries to conserve her soups for the family.
Ofe Akwu, Banga, Abak are soups that have palm fruit sauce as base. The differences are in the choice of vegetables used or the spices added.I have seen canned Palm fruit sauce in the markets, but have not used this yet. I prefer to boil the palm fruit , pound and squeeze out the juice my self. To save cooking time you can actually squeeze of lot of juice and boil and store in containers in the freezer. Should keep up to two months.
In selecting your palm fruit buy both ” agric” and ” native” varieties. The traders in the market will usually carry both. The agric type is fleshier and therefore makes thicker sauce whilst the native is slightly oilier. This combo will make a make a thick sauce with reasonable level of oil and will save you.
Ofe Akwu is a favorite soup of the Ibos . But with the uncomplicated cooking process. Who says everyone should not have it on their lunch tables? I have opted out of using nchawun or effirin in this soup just to play up the nice aroma of Uda .
My twist to this soup is the addition of Uda seeds also known as Negro seeds. The aromatic flavor of this spice is what makes this soup special, for me. Uda seed is also used in many West African dishes like in Ghana and Cameroon. Be careful not to use much as it has a bitter taste when used in excess.
This is one soup that does not require advanced culinary expertise. Go on and add another winner to your soup offering . Accompany the soup with pounded yam and your family, friends and guests will love you for it.
8 pieces Beef
8 pieces Cowskin
2 pieces Stockfish
2 handfuls smoked Fish
1/2 cup smoked Shrimp
1small bunch tender Ugwu
1 derica fresh Palm fruit
2pieces Uda seeds
1 table spoon Crayfish( ground)
1 tablespoon dried Pepper
1 beef seasoning cube( for boiling beef)
1 crayfish seasoning tablet
2 liters Water
Salt to taste
1, Season the beef with beef seasoning, pepper, and salt and steam
2, Add the stock fish and Cow skin when beef is half cooked. Do not boil meats to be soft as the cooking will be finished off during the cooking of the soup
3, Boil palm fruit, pound add 2 liters of water and squeeze out the sauce
4, Pour Palm fruit sauce into meat pot add the Uda seeds , pepper, ground crayfish , crayfish seasoning , smoked shrimps,smoked fish and bring to boil for about 15 minutes as soup starts to thicken. If your palm fruit sauce was not thick you may have to boil slightly longer to get a thick consistency for the soup. Not too thick though
5, Taste for salt
6, Add the chopped vegetable and cook for 3-5 minutes
7, Serve hot.
Tip: Always keep an iron sponge specifically for washing you smoked fish and Stockfish . Be sure to rinse the sponge with hot water before keeping away.
(via 1Q Food Platter)