Black soup is a popular and tasteful (Edo) Esan soup, it is quite delicious and easy to prepare. This turned out really delicious, I love it and I’m guessing you are gonna love it too.

I have been exploring foods by other Nigerian ethnic groups and today we are gonna be making the popular edo (esan) black soup.

It really doesn’t matter your language or ethnic group, if you try this soup and get it right, you are going to have the same experience as those that have been enjoying it for ages.

Most people complain about the dark color, it gets the color from the ground leaves.

Same leave you already probably know and use for other Nigerian soups. The difference is that we chose to grind it in this recipe. There are many benefits of eating this soup

What you find below is a delicious plate of black soup, the exact way it is made by Edo people, most people focus on the color and forget that it is really not all about the color. It is super tasty and offers several health benefits.
Black Soup

There are three basic leaves for making this delicious soup. While some argue extensively that only two are important, it is obvious that all the three are necessary. These leaves are actually ground together with the native Edo grinding stone or the electric blender.

I used electric blender… 😀

Some people make black soup with just Bitter leaf and effirin (scent leaf) while others prefer it the exact way I prepared it. I really think this is a way better than every other combination 😀

The ingredients List

2 cups of Washed bitter leaves
Half cup of sliced Scent leaves
2 cups of sliced uziza leaves
300g of roasted fish
1kg of assorted meat.
half cup of ground crayfish
Ground Pepper to taste
3 seasoning cubes.
7 pieces of stockfish ear
4 cups of palm fruit sauce.
Salt to taste.
Serving: 6

Here are some of the ingredients that I used while making this delicious black soup. I did grind the uziza leaves and scent leaves together as you can find below, while the bitter leaf was ground alone as you can see in the bottom-right plate.

What you find at the top-right is palm fruit sauce, then a combination of ground crayfish and red pepper at the top left and cleaned roasted fish at the top-middle.
making black soup

This soup is actually made with banga sauce (Palm fruit sauce) and not palm oil, just buy 4 cups of banga (palm fruit), boil for 15 minutes, pound with mortar and pestle, add water, filter to get the sauce, wash and filter to get 4 cups of thick banga sauce and set aside.

How to Cook Black Soup

Grind all the leaves together, these ground leaves act as the soup thickener and also gives it the black looking color, hence the name – black soup. You can blend to paste by adding a little water to ease up the movement of the blades. I ground the bitter leaves separately while the uziza and scent leaves were mixed together.

Wash and boil the meat with half a cup of onions, 1 seasoning cube and a pinch of salt. Cook for 30-45 minutes, until the meat becomes soft and easily chewable, you can add a little water to stop it from getting burned.

Add the dry fish (hot-water-washed), stockfish, crayfish, add the banga sauce and allow to cook for up to 15 minutes until the soupy mixture thickens.
This picture below gives you a visual illustration, you can see that the soup is already thick, thanks to the banga (palm fruit) sauce.
Omoebe esan

Add the ground leaves, stir, add 2 seasoning cubes, salt to taste, allow to simmer for another five minutes and you are done.
Making black soup

As usual, serve with eba, fufu amala or semo.

NOTE: If you have cow liver included, you don’t wanna cook it over 20 minutes. you can start parboiling it with the rest of the meat but you have to remove it after 20 minutes and add them later when the soup is almost done.

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Black soup recipe

Black Soup Recipe

Chy Anegbu
Black soup, when combined with any one of the many Nigerian swallows, becomes a delicacy in Edo state Nigeria. This soup is indigenous to the Esan people in Edo state Nigeria but also loved and eaten by many Nigerians
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Nigerian Cuisine
Servings 6 People
Calories 436 kcal


  • Cooker
  • Pots


  • 2 cups of Washed bitter leaves
  • Half cup Sliced Scent leaves
  • 2 cups of sliced uziza leaves
  • 300 g of roasted fish
  • 1 kg of assorted meat.
  • Half cup Ground crayfish
  • Ground Pepper to taste
  • 3 seasoning cubes.
  • 7 pieces of stockfish ear
  • 4 cups of palm fruit sauce.
  • Salt to taste.


  • Start by grinding the leaves - the bitter leaves should be ground separately, add the uziza and scent leaves should be ground together.
  • Season the meat and precook for 30-45 mins. (Use 1 seasoning cube and a pinch of salt). Cook the meat until it is soft and chewable.
  • Add the banga sauce, washed stockfish, dried fish and crayfish.
  • Allow cooking for 10-15 minutes, the soup should thicken.
  • Add the ground leaves, stir, add 2 seasoning cubes, salt to taste, allow to simmer for another five minutes and you are done.
  • Black soup is served with Nigerian swallow (eba, fufu, semo or pounded yam)


Keyword Black soup recipe, Edo Soup, Esan soups

Compare Black Soup & Other Nigerian Soups

How to make Afang Soup plus video

Here is the video for black soup, enjoy.


  1. DOROTHY EHIGIE  April 21, 2015

    Welldone sis, l really appreciate your kind effort, meanwhile l am an Edo lady, ie Benin per say, my poin of correction is that the soup is a Benin soup not Esan. Do take care & God bless u.

    • Bekemen iyoha  July 7, 2017

      I am an esan lady and this soup is an esan delicacy. Thank you

    • Glory  August 5, 2017

      My dear. Benin own type of black soup is usually made with palm oil. Esan pple dnt make black soup with palm oil but with banga. Black soup is as much Benin soup as it is Esan. Point of correction

    • Victoria Omokwale  November 6, 2017

      My dear it’s an Esan soup called “Omebe”.

  2. Mrs Onyema  April 21, 2015

    Mmmmh….this sounds good. My next soup will surely be Black soup. Thanks for this Chy.

  3. Blessing  April 23, 2015

    Chy, you are truly the best. Thanks for the black soup recipe, I love the way you break down your recipes, God bless you real good. Pls keep it coming. Lol

  4. Beauty Okhiulua  April 23, 2015

    Kudos to you, this is exactly how the soup is being prepared. @Dorothy whether na Benin get am o or Ishan na still the same Edo

    • Omoyemen  May 26, 2017

      Correctly made…. Pls o the soup is for both Benin and Esan. In fact its Esan soup self. Omébe

      • Christiana Omokhodion  September 3, 2017

        Omebe. Very correct.

  5. precious  April 23, 2015

    thank u for dis………am dif. gonna try dis

  6. Ify  April 25, 2015

    Chy, thanks for the black soup recipe, before now I could only make igbo soup and few other popular Nigerian soups, I never imagine that I would fall in love with this edo soup, but now I am definitely adding it to my menu.

  7. Jane  April 25, 2015

    Hi Chy, I am black American woman but my boyfriend is from Edo (Benin), I need to know how to prepare some of his favorite foods, so thanks for this recipe, I hope I would find all the ingredients.

  8. Emeka  April 25, 2015

    This is the true edo soup, thumbs up dearie!

  9. Jeff  May 2, 2015

    Black soup? Are u kidding me? Never seen anything like it. You mean people actually eat this black thing?

    • Ehita  May 27, 2018

      Yes darling we eat it

    • lydia  June 18, 2018

      lol…yes, very medicinal too..

    • Pascal  August 3, 2019

      yes we eat it and it really taste super good, its very medicinal and detox as well

    • Koco  October 9, 2019

      The colour is derived from the green leaves. So it’s nothing weird at all ?

  10. David  May 2, 2015

    It is not so much about the color of foods, I agree completely that the color is important but sometimes we need to also consider the text and nutritional values. It is no secret that most good looking foods are usually a combination of junks that should have no business with the human body. Proudly Edo 😀

  11. Helen  May 2, 2015

    I think I am going to try this soup, I hope it turns out well, I have been searching for foods by other Nigerian groups, thanks.

  12. Helen  May 2, 2015

    Thanks for de update Chy, you are doing a wonderful job and God will continue to bless you. I can’t wait to get the second edition of your cookbook by first week of june.

  13. faithia  May 5, 2015

    urs truly chy i have never added uziza leaf to cook black soup for my husband who happen to be from edo. i used bitterleaf saint leaf and utazi leaf. i then use ur recipe and my hubby licked the plate dry. chy u are GOD sent

    • Chy Anegbu  May 7, 2015

      Lol, thanks dear.

  14. Amaka  May 6, 2015

    Hi Chy,
    Of a truth the soup doesn’t look nice but I believe it is natural. I will give it a trial.

  15. Chichi  May 8, 2015

    Chy you are doing a great job indeed, good food is one of the important factors that holds a marriage, my husband is really having a good time with most of the food I tried out, we really cherish our barbecue fish,chicken and I even tried turkey, thanks alot and may God continues to crown your hard work with joy

  16. Biodun  May 15, 2015

    Chy, I just tried this black soup…… was really yummmy, ate it with pounded yam. I had never seen nor eaten this soup before but i followed your recipe and it came out really nice. My husband enjoyed it.
    Thanks alot, God bless you and long live Nigeria kitchen.

  17. Edith  July 5, 2015

    I really love this black soup,the preparation, the ingredients,
    I will try it myself, I never knew bitter leave and ukazi can go together.
    Thanks for the tips.
    Bless you.

  18. Sam  July 16, 2015

    Please I tried to find the Urhobo Owo soup but I can’t, can you please add the recipe. It’s eaten with starch. Oh and thank you very much for the recipes you put up

  19. Sonia  November 12, 2015

    wow this is good more grace dear.

  20. Flora  November 21, 2015

    I use to hate the soup cos of the colour, but i just decided to cook it cos is my hubby best soup, it really taste niz after tasting it. Tanks

  21. Tessay  December 9, 2015

    I absolutely love this soup!!!! My mum is Esan so it’s a regular dish in my home.

  22. Amy  February 12, 2016

    You find banga sauce in cans now. Thanks for sharing. Back in school days in Uniben I loved this soup. I hope to see the cottonseed soup in this list someday also! Great Edo meals I savored! I am igbo but I eat any tribe’s soup. Soups form the best balanced diet sources and if you worry about the carbs so much you can make your swallows these days out of anything. I eat oats (ground quaker oats) and I am fine!

  23. Afolabi precious  February 20, 2016

    Please hw do I make the bitterleaf not bitter before putting it in the soup

    • Chy Anegbu  February 20, 2016

      You just have to wash it properly.

  24. Winifred  March 19, 2016

    Seriously laughing at people who finds the soup weird coz of the colour…well to me let’s say the soup isn’t black but dark green…lol. Let’s even focus on the health benefits of the vegetables especially scent leave and uziza.
    Thanks a bunch Chy darling. Chima gozie gi (my God bless you). I’m Igbo, but this soup is really delicious.

  25. Rafatu  March 19, 2016

    Chy you are the bomb, the best food site I’ve ever come across. Black soup is superb. Proudly Edo

  26. Ijeoma  March 19, 2016

    It might taste good but the look is somehow

  27. Grace Goyit  March 19, 2016

    This soup is almost having the same color with miyan kuka ( a Hausa delicious soup) so will definitely try it. Thanks, your recipes are always simple and on point.

  28. lydia  March 20, 2016

    l am an esan woman, born & raised in is an esan can combine as many leaves also palm oil can b missed ogiri & inru ( locoast bean)tnx 4 showcasing d esan soup is also very medicinal & nutricious.weldone sis!

  29. toyin  March 20, 2016

    Thanks so much. I made this soup this afternoon and it turned out well.

  30. Faith  March 21, 2016

    Thanks chy I love black Soup but I haven’t tried it with palm fruit. I’m definitely making this soup tomorrow. Greetings to the binis in the house.

  31. happy  May 16, 2016

    you can also cook it without banga sauce.

  32. Blessing  May 30, 2016

    Nice one. Keep up!

  33. Deborah emarhema  May 31, 2016

    lovely!Chy u are indeed a blessing,God grant u more ideas,wisdom and grace to bless more lives. Pls can i use ugu/pumpkin leaf incase i dont get uziza leaf? God bless U

    • BB  November 10, 2017

      yes u can

  34. Nwaka  June 2, 2016

    Chy, you are simply the best. you have really inspired me with all your recipes. I am surely going to try this out!

  35. Sharon  August 19, 2016

    I would love to try this but don’t understand the measurements. Which type of cup do I use a baking cup or a regular cup I. E mug, glass I’m confused.

    • Chy Anegbu  August 21, 2016

      1 cup is same all over the world. It’s is the plastic cup that is 250ml

  36. taiwo  August 31, 2016

    How do I grind the leaves

  37. Amina  September 26, 2016

    Wow what else can I say,thank you so much for this recipe. My mom is Esan and she talks so much about these soup,it is specially prepared for women that just delivered. Will try it and make it for her when next I visit.many more thanks to you

  38. maris  October 10, 2016

    so so yummy. this happen to be my besttttt soup. I add cow skin shaky n liver. dry and smoked fish. am definately making this soup tonight

  39. Jemma  November 25, 2016

    mi mouth’s already waltery,dat dah next soup em cookin’

  40. tracey  December 13, 2016

    Hey must I grind the leaves?????

    • Chy Anegbu  December 15, 2016

      yes, it is black soup. 😀

  41. Fisher Monisola Omotayo  December 19, 2016

    Can I use little palm oil instead of banga and can I add onion? Thanks.

  42. Eleojo  February 19, 2017

    Thanks Chy for the recipe. Will definitely try it soon. I have heard a lot about this edo (esan) black soup.

  43. Esegold  May 27, 2017

    I tried it out. It was really great. Thanks chy

  44. Blessing  June 13, 2017

    Oh my God!!!. This black soup is one in town. It does not matter the colour. Black soup is medicinal and it helps with stomach. You can add any thing want to add eg. Onion and palm oil. CHY, you are a good cook keep it up.

    • Chy Anegbu  June 14, 2017

      Nne, thanks for your feedback.

  45. Ese  June 23, 2017

    Pls I have a project in school to make an instant black soup. Pls how do I go abt it

  46. nk  September 11, 2017

    Thanks. Will try it. Though i might end up eating it alone..

  47. Ella  March 1, 2018

    The method you used in cooking the soup is the Esan method…Benin method differs from ours. This is actually Esan and like the others commented it’s called Omo-ebe.

    We also use it in Esan culture for women who just put to bed. The difference is that it’ll have all the ingredients for Pepper soup inside…the black looking thing and all that.

    When I put to bed, I was given pepper soup nothing happened but after my mum made the black soup with all the Pepper soup spices…in less than 5mins the results started manifesting.

    Well done ma.

    • Ella  March 1, 2018

      The black thing… referring to alligator pepper

  48. Sandra  April 19, 2018

    Really Dorothy this is a proper Esan soup use with banga….ask your parent parent they will tell you the origin of black soup

  49. mrs O  May 28, 2018

    i just got married to an esan man and his mother practically refused to teach me knowing he likes the soup she just wants him to be coming to her everytime. well, thank you for this recipe ama steal her son for good lol

    • Chef Chidi  May 28, 2018

      Lol, Please steal that man for good.

  50. Lizzy  June 15, 2018

    See them dragging the soup, esan – Benin, Benin, – esan, na wa. Me I will not want to use bitter leaf, at times no matter how it is washed there will still be plenty bitterness, so I will use Afang leaf, thank you.

  51. Ayomide  July 20, 2018

    Hmmm, OMG… Im a yoruba guy and i just started my living in Benin. To be sincere with you people; I love all Edo soups, infact, I said I love their soups. I just finish eating Ogbono+Banga+groundnut soup and Black soup now; all the soups added together along with AKPU. Kaii…Chai… What an heavenly soups… Even if I die, I will tell God to……..?

    • Chy Anegbu  July 21, 2018

      Lol, Thanks for your feedback.

  52. Abby  August 9, 2018

    Please i need to get one thing clear, as for the bitter leaf, do you grind it as it is
    bitter or you wash it a bit , then grind? please respond. thank you

    • Chy Anegbu  August 10, 2018

      You wash before you grind. You don’t want bitter blacksoup trust me.

  53. Judith  October 14, 2018

    Pls I want to buy the ultimate Nigerian cookbook
    I really need it
    Pls help me to get it

    • Chy Anegbu  October 16, 2018

      Just call us on 08035051468.

  54. Ayo  January 26, 2019

    Did u wash the bitterleaf or just blended it

    • Chy Anegbu  January 26, 2019

      Wash first.

  55. Nneka dick  November 23, 2019

    Pls my question is about the bitter leave, will I blend it without washing out the bitter ness, If I blend like that wont the soup be bitter

  56. Cin  January 12, 2020

    5 stars
    I could totally eat black soup all day and all week. Thanks for the recipe.

  57. Jenniel  February 15, 2020

    5 stars
    I haven’t tried this remedy once. But with this recipe am gonna need too. Thanks a lot

  58. Destiny  July 27, 2020

    Wow! I tried it and it was super delicious 😋 😍
    I’ve found a new favourite soup. Thanks 😊 🙏 😊

  59. Mercy Iyiola  September 26, 2020

    Thanks so much for sharing and your efforts may God reward you. Can you please tell us some of the health benefits of the black soup, thanks once more.


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