Bitterleaf soup – Ofe onugbu (as the Igbos like to call it) is very delicious and also comes third on my list of popular Nigerian 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)
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.
Half cup ofor (alternative tickener)
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 Leaf Soup Preparation
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.
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.
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.
At this point, it should give a good soupy taste (even though it would be watery).
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.
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.
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).
Either of these five can go along with it – Eba, Fufu, Semo, Wheat or pounded yam
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Bitter leaf Soup Recipe | Ofe Onugbu
- 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
- 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 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