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 and can also be refrigerated for a very long time (even though I recommend two weeks at most for most Naija soups)

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 and that is what you will find in the video 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.

Ingredients For making Bitterleaf Soup

This would serve about ten person person or more depending on stomach size and all. 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 Nigerian Bitter Leaf Soup

  • 2kg Meat of choice (beef, chicken, pork, turkey)
  • 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)


The bitter leave soup takes almost the same process as the making of uha 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 uha to one and bitter leaf to the other.

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

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

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 ingredients, use 3 cube of maggi or knorr, a teaspoon of salt and half 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, stock fish 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.
boiling soup

Cook till the cocoa yam dissolves, (this would likely take about ten minutes) 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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Video On Making Bitterleaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)

Here is the video on 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 a videos for most of the foods listed on this site

Compare bitterlaf soups & Other Nigerian Soups

How to Make Ogbono Soup


  1. Damilola  June 11, 2019

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


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