All Nigerian Foods

Nigerian Bitterleaf Soup

Bitterleaf soup – Ofe onugbu (as the Igbos like to call it) is very delicious and also comes third on my list of Nigerian popular soups.

This soup is popular because it could be made in more than five different ways by different ethnic groups in Nigeria. It can also be refrigerated for a very long time (even though I recommend two weeks at most for most Naija soups)

Below is the images for Ofe Onugbu (bitterleaf soup)
Bitter Leaf Soup

Here is a guide to making the much talked about “ofe onugbu”. I stated in the download-able Nigerian foods Eguide that most Nigerian soups are named after the leaves or the thickener used in making them.

This soup can be made with either egusi (melon seeds), ede (cocoa yam), ofor, achi or even ogbono.

Yes, we made the ogbono soup video with bitter leaves. But the most popular of them all is the cocoa yam and bitter leaves combination – what we have below.

How to prepare Bitterleaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)

Bitter leaf soup, like most other Nigerian soups is named after the particular leaf which is used in preparing it.

But of course, you need to wash this leaf to remove at least ninety percent of the bitter taste, just so you don’t end up with a very bitter soup.

The ingredients listed below would make enough soup for 12 people.

You are free to increase the size of the ingredients if you want to serve a larger number of people.

You can also refrigerate the remainder in case you have a smaller family.

Ingredients For making Bitterleaf Soup

2kg cow head (meat)
Bitter leaf (wash to desire)
Half cup of ground Crayfish
Maggi or knorr seasoning (3 cubes
Ogiri (a product of castor seeds)(optional)
Dry fish (2 medium sizes)
Stock fish head (1 big size)
Palm oil (about 25cl)
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cocoa-yam (pounded)
Half cup ofor (alternative tickener)

Cocoyam

The bitter leave soup takes almost the same process as the making of Oha soup.

As a matter of fact, one pot of soup could be cooked up to the point of adding the leaves then you divide it to add Oha to one and bitter leaf to the other.

It is better and more hygienic to wash the leaves yourself, it is a bit of time-consuming but the result is worth the effort.

This is possible if you live in Nigeria and can find them in your garden. But you can also get the “already made” from any market in Nigeria.

Bitter Leaves

Bitter Leaf Soup Preparation

Step 1
To soften the leaves and further remove the bitter taste, it is advisable to boil alone in ordinary water for 10 to 15 minutes, most people like to add a little quantity of edible potash to hasten this process but I highly advise against it.

My reason being that this catalyst (potash) tend to affect the entire soup in a slightly negative way.

If you still want to add potash, it will completely wash off the bitter taste and soften the leaves in less than 3 minutes of boiling (the reason most people like using it).

But then you would want to boil again alone and wash thoroughly with just water to remove every trace of the potash.

Step 2
Parboil meat with every necessary ingredient, use 2 seasoning cubes, a teaspoon of salt and half a cup of onions. Allow to boil for 10 minutes then add water and cook till the meat is tender.

Step 3
Add the (hot-water) washed dry fish, stockfish and cook until it is tender, add more water then add palm oil, ground crayfish, pepper, maggi seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and allow to boil.

soup

At this point, it should give a good soupy taste (even though it would be watery).

Step 4
Then add the pounded cocoa yam as you can find in the video below (at this point you can add the ground egusi if you choose to make bitter leaf soup with egusi), also add the ogiri now.

boiling soup

Cook till the cocoa yam dissolves, (this would likely take about ten minutes). You could add a teaspoon of ofor, if the soup is not thick enough.

Step 5
Then add the bitter leaves, stir, taste, add more salt if necessary then cook for three to two minutes and you are done with the making of Nigerian Bitter Leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu).

Bitter Leaf Soup

Either of these five can go along with it – Eba, Fufu, Semo, Wheat or pounded yam

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Bitter leave soup recipe

Bitter leaf Soup Recipe | Ofe Onugbu

Chy Anegbu
This is unarguably one of the most popular recipe from earstern Nigeria. This is the way an Igbo woman would make bitter leaf soup.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Nigerian Cuisine
Servings 12 People
Calories 787 kcal

Equipment

  • Pots

Ingredients
  

  • 2 kg cow head meat
  • 3 cups washed bitter leaves
  • ½ cup of ground Crayfish
  • Maggi or knorr seasoning (3 cubes
  • 1 tbsp Ogiri a product of castor seeds(optional)
  • 200 g Dry fish 2 medium sizes
  • 200 g Stockfish head
  • 300 ml palm oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cocoa-yam cooked and pounded
  • ½ cup ground ofor Alternative thickener

Instructions
 

  • Season your meat with a teaspoon of salt, 2 seasoning cubes and half cup of sliced onions. Let the meat boil for ten minutes, add 3 cups of water and let it cook till tender.
  • Add the washed dried fish, stockfish and add 6 cups of water. The palm oil should follow.
  • Allow the soup to boil before adding the ground crayfish, a seasoning cube, salt and pepper to taste.
  • The cocoyam (pounded) and ogiri should be added at this point.
  • The cocoyam should dissolve in about 10 minutes, if it is not thick enough, one or two extra spoons of ofor would do it.
    Then add the bitter leaves (pre-washed). Stir and taste for salt.
  • Allow your soup to simmer on medium heat for 6 minutes and you are done with making Bitter leave the soup

Video

Keyword bitter leaf soup, Igbo Foods, Ofe Igbo, Ofe Onugbu

Video On Making Bitterleaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)

Above is the video for making the same bitter leaf soup. I realized that some tips and tricks about Nigerian foods can be hard to describe with written words. That is why I try my best to also make videos for most of the foods listed on this site.

Compare Other Nigerian Soups

How to Make Ogbono Soup

80 Comments

Chika
Reply

This is the best ofe olugbu in town!

July 24, 2013
Chidera
Reply

This is my favorite bitterleaf soup recipe, exactly the way a an Igbo woman would make it. I like Nigerian foods and that is exactly why I am trying my best to learn all of them. I have been able to make a lot of different Nigerian soups, I am about becoming an expert. Thanks for all your help and guide and emails

July 24, 2013
Blessed
Reply

U are a wonderful lecturer, bitter leave soup is my favorite but i don’t know how to prepare it. Now that i have learn it i can start preparing it myself. Thx u very much.

September 3, 2013
chukwuka
Reply

Great lecture. I usually eat these tasty meal frm restaurant since I am married to a Liberian woman who don’t know to prepare this meal, but I am preparing my own bitterleaf soup today. Thanks. My wife is about going in the market to buy the ingredients

September 19, 2013
mimi
Reply

Thanks. Lot but can I add cocoyam & egusi together?

September 19, 2013
Chinonye
Reply

No you can’t because is bitter leaf soup and not ogusi

June 10, 2017
Eze
Reply

You can add it
I tried it
It’s yummy

August 14, 2017
Bonaventure
Reply

Yes you can’t mixing cocoa and egusi

March 12, 2018
The Nigerian Kitchen
Reply

Hello Mimi, I have not tried a combination of egusi and cocoa yam for bitterleaf soup, I prefer to use either of them but surely, you can try it and tell us how it turned out.

September 21, 2013
Testimony
Reply

Ma hw do I boil the bitterleaf before was or after washing

February 12, 2019
Chy Anegbu
Reply

You boil after washing.
Chy

February 19, 2019
Elvis
Reply

Tanx for the soup recipe, I have learned so much about Nigerian foods from you.

September 23, 2013
Chiamaka Mbanefo
Reply

Thanks. What if I want to use palm fruit (akwu)?

October 10, 2013
Mama T
Reply

This bitter leaf recipe is my soup for this weekend. Thanks

October 11, 2013
The Nigerian Kitchen
Reply

Hello Chiamaka, you can use palm fruit juice for the different Nigerian soups, infact it is better than palm oil. Most of us use palm oil for convinience.

October 11, 2013
Erin
Reply

Thank you for your recipe. I’m an Indonesian but my bf is Nigerian. You help me a lot to prepare this soup. Egusi is very expensive here, and i try to substitute it with coco yam. It taste good. And we don’t have to buy African food in restaurant anymore we can save our money for something else. Keep on posting, You help me a lot and make him more loving me. God bless you

November 24, 2013
esty
Reply

I will give it a try cos I tasted one made by a relative nd it was so bitter I couldn’t eat it

February 12, 2014
amudat imam
Reply

Thanks for the onugbu soup,i love it so much. it was when i visited a restaurant that i came across onugbu soup and since then i have been preparing it but with ofor (thickner). With this recipe and your narration i’ll try it with cocoyam so as to taste the diffrence.I enjoin all readers to try it because it is medicinal too.

February 13, 2014
mercy william
Reply

Your site has really helped me and my cookings, I really want to make this bitter leafe soup but I am in Cotonou and I only have access to achi, not so sure of getting coco yam. Incase I don’t find it (coco yam) can I use just achi for soup? And will it work out just fine like coco yam?

March 8, 2014
Chy Anegbu
Reply

Sure, Mercy, you can use achi in place of coco yam, just add sparingly and observe. Achi works faster than coco yam just two or three spoons would be enough.

March 9, 2014
IJ
Reply

THANKS A LOT FOR THE SOUP, THAT’S EXACTLY THE WAY I PREPARE MY BITTER LEAF SOUP. PLS CAN YOU TEACH ON OTHER TYPE OF SOUPS AND CURRY VEGETABLE SAUCE

June 24, 2014
Glorify
Reply

Thanks for d lectures. I have learnt alot thru ur posts. My husband loved it. I got a gift wen I made this soup for him and his friends. Hope to share d gift with u bcos u are d secret behind d success

June 28, 2014
Chy Anegbu
Reply

@ Glorify, I am still waiting for my own gift o

July 3, 2014
Amarachi
Reply

Wow you tried Weldon

August 16, 2019
ezinne chukwu
Reply

It realy interesting knowing dis sight I had really wanted to find out hw to prepare bitter leaf soup thnx a lot I would go he and practice it

December 19, 2014
Julia
Reply

Is it ideal to add uziza seed to the bitter soup ?

January 16, 2015
Blessing Ogbu
Reply

its a nice combo I do it all d tym

November 13, 2018
Julia
Reply

Is it ideal to add uziza seed to the bitter leaf soup?

January 16, 2015
Aderayo
Reply

join d group today and my ofe onugbu make my husband give me a passionate kiss with a big hug. waoh am glad I cook d ofe onugbu soup as learn here. Thanks

March 3, 2015
Chy Anegbu
Reply

lol, happy to read your testimony.

March 3, 2015
shona
Reply

should d cocoyam be pounded raw? or should it be cooked den pounded

May 23, 2015
Chy Anegbu
Reply

Should be cook and then pounded.

May 26, 2015
Nwaeze
Reply

Nwaeze
thx elot this my favorit soup which I enjoy most
when am still with my mum.but seinc I leaft her I mist it very much and now I have lean how to priper it now am happy.
thank you.

June 5, 2015
alex lexon
Reply

how can i prepare vegetable like those of the calabar

July 24, 2015
Jackie
Reply

Pls how can I join the group, I need to learn how to make many Nigerian food. Or am I in?

July 29, 2015
RitA
Reply

Can i use ofor

August 28, 2015
odunayo
Reply

You are such a blessing.Tnx alot,ve tried sm of d tin u sent like bitter leaf soup nd puff puff.God bless u big

September 22, 2015
Joy
Reply

Interesting am so gonna try this, thanks for this forum cos I was already gettIng bored with my own cooking.

November 5, 2015
pauline
Reply

Thanks for all these i enjoy every bit of ur post,am trying this bitter leaf soup this weekend,do i pluck and boil d bitter leaf direct or i shud wash first?

November 6, 2015
Chy Anegbu
Reply

You will need to wash it first before boiling.

November 14, 2015
hope
Reply

D cocoyam dat is added. Is it d normal edible cocoyam or it is another type of cocoyam

January 6, 2016
Chy Anegbu
Reply

When you get to the market, ask them to give you cocoyam for making soup.

January 6, 2016
Favour
Reply

I love ur site…. I’m a single lady n from here i have been learning how to make gud food for my husband to be..lol. Thanks to u

January 6, 2016
Patricia
Reply

I never knew that I can boil bitter leaf to remove the bitter taste,I normally go through the rigorous process of washing it raw,now I know better! Thanks load!

January 7, 2016
Temitayo
Reply

Thanks a million for this post though I’m a Yoruba but I like trying all Nigerian food. I’m making this one this weekend. Thank you.

January 8, 2016
Adeola
Reply

Thank you for this and making it soon,
I made the Nkwobi over this weekend and it was a big hit..lol
I remembered the market woman and the shock/surprise on her face when she was trying to converse with me in Igbo and told her I was Yoruba and she said and you want to make Nkwobi! who is teaching you….I smiled, paid for my ingredients and walked away.
thank you cos my hubby loved every bite.

January 11, 2016
Joy oladimeji
Reply

Waa oh chi am going to prepare this soup

January 28, 2016
Chioma Monica
Reply

I’m going to try this recipe definitely. You are really wonderful and I’m glad I found your site today. Keep it up dear.

March 25, 2016
suzzy
Reply

I prepared it just as u lectured and it was so delicious. U are really God sent, I was actually scared anytime my hubby ask me to prepare onugbu soup but now I can close my eyes to prepare it .tanx to u.

April 23, 2016
Winnie
Reply

I tried this soup for after visiting this site. Thanks so much. It came out nice although it seems i used too much oil.

May 10, 2016
Chy Anegbu
Reply

lol, that happens sometime. Just be more careful the next time you try bitterleaf soup.

May 11, 2016
Tracy unuigbe
Reply

In my place, we wash bitter leaf ground it before using it to make bitter leaf soup. When it is used together with egusi it no longer bitter leaf soup but egusi soup prepare with bitter leaf just like egusi soup prepared with ugu (pumpkin leave). I will still try this your method because no knowledge is wasted. Thank you ma

June 29, 2016
Nephi
Reply

Thanks a lot! I can prepare Bitter Leaf soup now

November 24, 2016
ene
Reply

will ofor be good as the cocoyam

December 13, 2016
gladys
Reply

It look delicious. But meat is d best to use in this soup

April 3, 2017
Oluwatoyin
Reply

Thannks for the soup recipe, can i prepare the soup without adding Achi, cocoyam or ufo because am Yoruba

April 21, 2017
Mercy
Reply

Hi.tnx alot for d recipe.jus got to knw abt dis platform today n i ve learnt abt d method of cookin bitterleaf soup.pls keep postin more n God ill reward u for wat u are doin.tnx alot

April 25, 2017
Tacy
Reply

I luv bitter leaf soup die… Dats wat am am preparing now.

June 9, 2017
Khadija
Reply

Honestly this is great app. Thank u mummy I call u wt that name cos u deserve it. I was born n grew up in northern part of Nigeria, married a sourtherner, this app really help me. God bless u for me.

June 15, 2017
Chy Anegbu
Reply

Thanks for your comment dear, God bless you too.

June 16, 2017
Cindile
Reply

Im south African but love nigerian food o.

July 5, 2017
Favour
Reply

D first day i tasted dis soup, it was so delicious dat i decided to find out d ingredient used in preparing it. Ofcus since i like trying new things in d kitchen. Tnx fr dis post cus just like i imagine it dat ws hw u made it. God bless u

July 12, 2017
EnnyAnn
Reply

Thanks for ur recipe on bitterleaf soup. Plate I’d like to know if the cocoyam added as thickner was first boiled before pounding or u just peel and pound. Thanks

October 2, 2017
Walter
Reply

Must I add ogiri, I don’t like it

November 21, 2017
Bunmi
Reply

Tnx 4 ds..i used affor..and it became soo thick ooo..but next tym i ll try it agn

January 31, 2018
Chy Anegbu
Reply

ok, thanks for your feedback.

February 2, 2018
itunuoluwa
Reply

Thanks alot, I am a Yoruba lady that loves Igbo soups. I am cooking it today and your guide is simple. Would upload pictures soon.

March 22, 2018
Folashade
Reply

This is wonderful, kudos to chef chidi but please i have a question, i get how to add the other ingredients but how to pound the cocoyam (sorry is it the normal cocoayam or igbo cocoayam) is what is confusing because am a yoruba lady and so much cherish bitterleaf soup. Pls if you can make video on it, it will be highly appreciated

June 8, 2018
Chef Chidi
Reply

We use a specie we call “Anambra cocoyam” that’s the common name. There are lots of species. Thanks for your feedback.

June 10, 2018
Khadeejah
Reply

This is lovely. I have learnt a lot, thanks.

June 12, 2018
odiri
Reply

Thanks alot, I can now cook bitter leave soup very well

September 29, 2018
Judith
Reply

Pls How do I use dried grounded cocoyam to cook bitter leaf soup

October 20, 2018
Maria
Reply

I really love this soup, at least now I can prepare it my self, tnx alot

November 12, 2018
Grace
Reply

Thanks Chy, I’ll give it a try today.

December 19, 2018
Sarah
Reply

I’m sure making this tonight…… Yummyyyy

May 24, 2019
Smart Emmanuel
Reply

Am a young guy that lives alone, i used ur exact procedures in cooking my ofe onugbu. When am done my close neigbours dat percieved the aroma dat comes out of my pot,, where this boy can cook for Africa…. All thanks too uu

June 3, 2019
Damilola
Reply

I know wif dis video I will b able to make it cos my hubby loves it. Thanks

June 11, 2019
Charity oga
Reply

Thank you for the recipe. But I am a bit confused about the cocoyam part. Did you boil the cocoyam before pounding or you pounded it raw?

May 15, 2020
Chy Anegbu
Reply

Cook, then pound.

May 17, 2020
Mrs Exclusive
Reply

Wow great, exactly the way I do prepare my own ofe onugbu.

September 25, 2020

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