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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Compare Black Soup & Other Nigerian Soups

How to make Afang Soup plus video

Here is the video for black soup, enjoy.


  1. Fisher Monisola Omotayo  December 19, 2016

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

  2. 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.

  3. Esegold  May 27, 2017

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

  4. 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.

  5. Ese  June 23, 2017

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

  6. nk  September 11, 2017

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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Ayo  January 26, 2019

    Did u wash the bitterleaf or just blended it

    • Chy Anegbu  January 26, 2019

      Wash first.

  15. 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


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