Black soup is a popular and tasteful Edo (Benin) soup, it is quite delicious and easy to prepare. This turned out really delcious, 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.

What you find below is 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 very nutitious.
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 of the three are neccessary. These leaves are actually ground together with the native edo grinding stone or the 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 this this is way better than every other combination 😀

The ingredients include:
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
4 cube of knorr.
7 pieces of stock fish 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.

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 bitterleaves seperatly while the uziza and scent leaves were mixed together.

Wash and boil the meat with half cup of onions, 2 cubes of maggi and a pinch of salt. Cook for 30-45 minutes, until the meat becomes soft and easily chew-able, you can add a little water to stop it from getting burned.

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

Add the ground leaves, stir, add 2 cubes of maggi, 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 10 minutes. you can start parboiling it with the rest of the meat but you have to remove it after 10 minutes and add them later when the soup is almost done.

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Here is the video for black soup, enjoy.


  1. Tessay  December 9, 2015

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Rafatu  March 19, 2016

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

  6. Ijeoma  March 19, 2016

    It might taste good but the look is somehow

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. toyin  March 20, 2016

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

  10. 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.

  11. happy  May 16, 2016

    you can also cook it without banga sauce.

  12. Blessing  May 30, 2016

    Nice one. Keep up!

  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. taiwo  August 31, 2016

    How do I grind the leaves

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. Jemma  November 25, 2016

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

  20. tracey  December 13, 2016

    Hey must I grind the leaves?????

    • Chy Anegbu  December 15, 2016

      yes, it is black soup. 😀


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