River state native soup is one of my favorite Nigerian soup, it happens to be my favorite native soup.
You can follow either my written instruction or the embedded video at the bottom of the page, I make videos for the majority of my recipes on this site.

I grew up in River state Nigeria, did both my primary and secondary education in a very popular part of the state. During this time, I tasted almost every indigenous food and also learned to make quite a number of them. The good thing is that they share similar recipes with the Igbos.

So if you are dating an Ikwerre guy or married to a man/woman from River State Nigeria you can go ahead and serve him/her some of our Igbo foods on this page.

Let’s get back to the topic of the day, River state native soup… here goes… Gbam!!!

River state Native soup

Frankly, I can’t give a detailed account of the origin of this soup but what I do know is that it is very popular in River state and it is served in major restaurants and eateries. Although, they avoid some of the expensive ingredients like stock fish, ngolo and shrimps.

For some reason I just like to try new recipes once they appealed to me, I like to ask questions and try them out in my own kitchen, that is perhaps the reason I have learned to make virtually all the Foods Eaten In Nigeria.

How To Make River State Native Soup

Below are the ingredients for making the popular native soup in River state Nigeria, like I always assert; the ingredients would serve about 6×2 people, you can increase or decrease the quantity of each ingredient depending on the number people would be eating your food.

You can make this soup as simple as possible, if you can’t find the ngolo and prowns where you live, you can leave them out. I can’t find the english name for Ngolo, is it clams?

  • 1KG of meat
  • 10 pieces of stock fish ear (nti okporoko)
  • 2 cups of sliced uziza leaves
  • 2 medium size dry fish
  • Cocoa yam as thickener (see image)
  • 15-20cl of palm oil
  • 2-3 cubes of maggi or knorr
  • 1-2 cups of periwinkles
  • 1-2 cups of ngolo
  • 1 cup of ground crayfish
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • two handful of fresh prowns
  • 2 spoons of ofor (alternative thickener)
What you find above is a plate containing Ngolo, Periwinkles (isam) and prowns, the exact way they are sold in Nigerian markets. You can purchase them from every major Nigerian markets, especially in the states sorrounded by water.

The cocoayam should be about 1KG, the ofor serves as alternative thickener (incase the cocoayam didn’t thicken the soup), in most cases, you wouldn’t use it (the ofor)

How to Prepare Nigerian Native soup

You might wanna start by parboiling the shrimps, wash and parboil with a small pot, add half cup of water, a cube of maggi and a pinch of salt, allow to boil for up to 5 minutes, remove the head and set aside in a clean plate.
making native soup
I like to start by parboiling the meat with all the necessary ingredients, most cooks forget that parboiling the meat and obtaining the stock (water left after parboiling) is an important part of Nigerian cooking process.

I like to parboil the meat with just 2 cubes of maggi, 1 bulb of onions, salt and maybe a sachet of onga classic (a very popular Nigerian spice for soup). My choice of meat is hard to cook, takes about 50-60 minutes before you commence with the rest of the cooking.

Step 2
Use this time to prepare the other ingredients; wash and slice the uziza leaves.

Soak the stock fish and dry fish with boiled water and wash thoroughly to remove sand and center bone. Grind the crayfish and fresh pepper also, you can grind together or grind separately.

Step 3
Add the washed dry fish/stock fish in the boiling meat on fire, after about 30-50 minutes of cooking just the meat. Once they are soft and the water is almost dried (about 1 cup left) add about 5-7 cups of water, palm oil and the ground crayfish. This step was visually demonstrated in the video below, so if you like watching better than reading you can scroll down to see the video.

Allow the soup to cook for another ten minutes before adding salt to taste, a cube of maggi. Maggi is a natural food sweetener, used in making almost all the {foods eaten in Nigeria} you can refer to our ingredients catalogue for an in-depth understanding of all the ingredients used in making Nigerian foods.

Step 4
Add the washed/cleaned ngolo, stir, add the cocoayam, allow to dissolve in 8-10 minutes, if it is still very watery you can add a spoon of ofor, cook for three minutes before adding the periwinkles, prown and sliced uziza leaves which is likely the last ingredient while making River state native soup.

Allow to simmer for another five minutes and you just made Nigerian’s most popular native soup.
The video is that of an earlier version of this soup, it should give you a clue as to how to make river state native soup, I used ofor as the thickener instead of cocoayam; I also ommited the ngolo.

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  1. Nkechi Odenyi  April 19, 2016

    Chi , I have had an opportunity to taste the soup called white soup many yrs back at a restaurant in uyo but not this and as I will make soup for my family;I guess I will try this out too. Can I know the name?

  2. anonymous  April 20, 2016

    Please am not in nigeria….wanted to confirm if i could use d seeds inplace of d leaves(uziza)

    • Chy Anegbu  April 20, 2016

      sure, that is acceptable. But the leaves work better.

  3. Andrew  May 8, 2016

    Hello, thanks for the lovely recipe for rivers state soup. Where can I get ngolo in Lagos?

    • Promise Hanson  January 25, 2017

      I buy Ngolo in Oyigbo market, wherever they sell periwinkle, you will see it.

  4. etta  June 29, 2016

    Hi, really do appre8 this…pls, what us d process of using d cocoyam as d thickener?…tnx

    • Promise Hanson  January 11, 2018

      Read through the comments, I made a reply on that.

  5. Katie Philip  July 2, 2016

    Hi Chy, cannot thank you enough 4 ya efforts…thanks again

  6. zeebakes  July 16, 2016

    I just loveeeee u chy

  7. kelechi  July 22, 2016

    Well done Chy, I have been trying your recipes and it has been an amazing journey. Thank you so much

  8. oluchi  August 21, 2016

    @chy u are wonderful thanks for d native soup recipes.

  9. Okorie  August 27, 2016

    Point of correction, it’s Rivers not River State.

  10. boma  September 28, 2016

    pls ooooh am from kalabari we do not use offor or achi but cocoyam . thanks though you are doing a great job

  11. Amaka  November 25, 2016

    You are wonderful!
    Thanks so much for your effort.

  12. Amaka  November 25, 2016

    Keep up the good work

  13. MUBO  November 27, 2016

    U hv done well,keep it up

  14. Amaka  November 28, 2016

    Pls Ma can I use snail instead of ngoolo?

    • Chy Anegbu  December 5, 2016

      Sure, you can.

  15. love albert  January 7, 2017

    God will bless you real good! not everybody will do what you are doing in the life of many especially the married ones, you have been a blessing to many marriage thank you so much, God will blessing you and continue to bless you for showin us the secret of good cookin you will never lack dis year 2017 this is my prayer for you

  16. Stellamaris  January 16, 2017

    Weldon’s chy
    Pls in preparing this native soup,
    Is it compulsory that you must use periwinkles?

    • Chy Anegbu  January 17, 2017

      Periwinkles are neccessary but not compulsary.

  17. Promise Hanson  January 25, 2017

    I am from a Riverine community in Rivers State. You are doing a very great job here I must say.

    A few things to note in Rivers Native Soup.
    The soup originated from the riverine communities who are predominantly fishermen. For this reason, meat, stockfish, and dry fish is alien in Native Soup. It’s a plethora of everything FRESH we can find in the river. Therefore Meat, Chicken, Stock fish, dry Crayfish, are not used.

    But where you can’t find fresh fish or too expensive, Goat meat can be a substitute.

    The original thickener is Cocoyam. You cook and pound it like Pounded-Yam, but you must pound it until it’s elastic. Flatten small balls of it with your palm and fingers. The smaller/flatter it is, the quicker it will dissolve in your soup.

    Archi and Ofor as thickeners were a modern introduction mostly by the Ikwere/non riverine people. I believe it’s because of the stress in pounding cocoyam.

    The original leaves for Native Soup is Bitter leaf and not Oziza leaf. But it’s a good alternative, since it relieves you of the stress in washing bitterleaves.

    A typical list of ingredients would be:

    Fresh fish (Tilapia, Croaker, Catfish, Barracuda, Redsnapper, etc. etc.);
    Isam (blue periwinkle, removed from it’s black shell);
    Ngolo (white periwinkle, removed from it’s white shell. It’s bigger than Isam);
    Shrimps or prawns;
    Imgbe (Oysters);
    Ofingo (Clams);
    Sea-snails (normal land snails can be a substitute);
    Cocoyam (thickener);
    Palm oil;
    Seasoning cubes (any seasoning of choice).

    The above is the original list of ingredients, but because of availability and cost of ingredients, you can cut down on it or use alternative ingredients.

    • Chy Anegbu  January 26, 2017

      Wow! quite educating. Thanks.

  18. mercy Ebele  February 16, 2017

    I love this.

  19. Simon Ohms  March 15, 2017

    Hello Madam! I’m a Rivers guy that loves cooking more than most single ladies. I must say, you’re truly gifted and great in cooking. Thanks in increasing my knowledge in cooking,as well as helping the world in cooking Nigeria dishes. May God increase your greatness and comfort you on every side.

    • Chy Anegbu  March 19, 2017

      Thanks Dearie, Amen.

  20. Missirregularversion  April 4, 2017

    I can’t believe I finally made this soup start to finish and it came out amazing 😉. Thanks dearie. Super great job you are doing


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