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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Nigerian Ogbono (draw) Soup


  1. Okoro Babie  July 15, 2013

    I am very much interested in Ikwerre Recipes. I am an American woman but married to a man from River state, Nigeria. I just want to be able to make some of His tribal recipes. Thanks

  2. Mercy Aigbe  July 15, 2013

    I have been trying some of the recipes on the (50 Delicious Nigerian Recipes) and they all seem to turn out quite perfect. I think you are doing such a wonderful job. The recipes, videos, emails are all very helpful. I am also from river state, Opopo but married to a man from Cross River state, Thanks for your wonderful work. You are doing great.

  3. Okoro  July 15, 2013

    Please where do I find a Nigerian girl that cooks exactly like you. I can marry her immediately

    • Chibu  March 13, 2017

      Lol… Okoro… Ure welcome to learn from me.. 😀

      • Celestina Nnenna Okafor  May 2, 2017

        Thanks for sharing Ma and may God bless you

    • Catherine ebinimi  May 20, 2017

      Am a Nigeria and trust me I cook really good

    • Steve cohen  September 5, 2017

      Because of Food you will marry a wrong girl? Shine your eye before you talk this kind of talk next time.

      • Esther  November 20, 2017

        His eyes are wide open, so no need for him to shine eyes again he can only shine to get a good cook like chy.

    • Ruth  June 14, 2018

      Am here

  4. Ify  July 15, 2013

    @ Okoro, so you want to marry a great girl?

  5. fola  July 16, 2013

    just wanted to ask if i can use both the ofor and achi together in the same soup instead of using just achi,can i also add ofor? and how do i go about that?

    • Nkesi  February 1, 2017

      For me I would say use one because they both have different tast. To cook this soup the best is to use ofor.

  6. The Nigerian Kitchen  July 16, 2013

    Ofor and achi serve the same exact purpose. Why would you want to combine them if you can just buy one? However if you happen to have them mixed together by mistake there is just nothing to worry about, you can use a mixture of ofor and achi for one soup but I would prefer just one if all things being equal.

  7. Cynthia Boma Ipalibo  July 23, 2013

    you rock! keep it up!

  8. Rita  August 8, 2013

    hi Chy, thanks for your mails on how to prepare most nigerian food.
    I really appreciate ur effort. But i wil like u to give me the recipe for the rivers native soup and method of preparation cuz i cant watch
    the video with ma phone. Thanks and God bless!

  9. Ada  August 21, 2013

    Keep up the good work Ma. Please can I use cocoyam in place of achi or ofor? Thanks!

    • Bio  March 7, 2017

      I am a Rivers girl, kalabari, The original recipe is cocoyam actually and substituted to Ofor yes achi serves the same purpose as thickener but has a different taste. Additionally we don’t use Stockfish in making our native soup.

      • Chy Anegbu  March 9, 2017

        Great, thanks for your feedback.

      • Emi  March 22, 2018

        Hello Chi. I am a kalabari woman, we have two native soups. Dry fish native and fresh fish native. In the fresh fish native you we use all kinds of sea foods including ngolo, fresh oporo(shrims), fresh imgbe( don’t know the English name lolz), and of course fresh fish. In the dry Fish native you we use dry fish, stock fish, pkomo and some sea foods.
        But we use uziza leaf for both soups.

        • Anastasia  October 12, 2018

          Thanks dear mgbe should be oyster right?

        • Chy Anegbu  October 31, 2018


        • Ibinabo  October 31, 2018

          Fresh Igmbe(oyster)

      • Boma Boms  September 22, 2018

        Bio, God bless you. The Kalabari’s don’t use stock fish for our native soup. And bitter leaf is better.

  10. The Nigerian Kitchen  August 21, 2013

    Hello Ada, how are you doing? Yes, you can use coca yam but that is not the best for native soup, here in river state it is made with ofor or achi (as thickener). Thanks for the question and do have a wonderful time

    • Promise Hanson  January 25, 2017

      Cocoyam is the best and the original thickener in Native Soup, used by our great great grandmothers. Ofor and Archi are modern alternatives introduced because of the hassle in using cocoyam. We don’t mix cocoyam and archi or ofor together, it will result in a taste quagmire.

      To thicken with cocoyam, peel the skin with knife, and boil it like yam till it’s soft. Bring it out of the water and pound in a Mortar until it becomes elastic. When your pot of soup starts boiling, take the amount of pounded cocoyam you need, flatten it with your palm and fingers, and put into your soup. The flatter/thinner it is, the faster it will melt in your soup and thicken it. Check the soup later, if it’s not thick enough, add more cocoyam.

      • Hanson  September 29, 2017

        Hanson please hope we re not cousin somehow, I’m Austin Hanson by name too

        • Promise Hanson  January 11, 2018

          I come from Degema, Rivers State

    • Blessed  August 16, 2018

      Hey dear, thanks for the info.
      Please understand that the seafood soup is a riverine food. Typically for the Okrika, Kalabari and all other Rivers Ijaws.

      Here’s my point the original thickener is COCOYAM and is the best as far as native rivers native soup is concerned. That’s where the flavor is, you can use it for both the meat and dry fish version as well aa the fresh fish version, OFOR and ACHI are substitutes for COCOYAM. Maybe you should try the cocoyam version, it will wow you.
      Unless a person prefers the ofor to cocoyam for individual preference.

      Nice job. Keep it up.

      • Anastasia  October 12, 2018

        Pls if I don’t have a mortar how else can I prepare my cocoyam, I actually prefer it to Igor, I know that’s the original recipe, thank you

        • Jessica  November 23, 2019

          I peel the cocoyam, dice them in small chunks and blend it till its a smooth paste.

  11. Gborogbosi  September 18, 2013

    Thks for your wonderful work, I have really learnt a lot from your recipes.I am a rivers woman and I want to correct a little mistake about our native soup.we use lots of seafood and the main thicker is cocoyam, people only use ofor or achi for convenience. once again I really appreciate your effort.

  12. Onyinye  October 1, 2013

    I made a very delicious native soup using the recipe u provide on the site…I was so proud of myself and I also wanted to thank you because my husband loved it.

  13. ANITA  October 17, 2013

    Hi i am so happy ,now i can cook any type of meal i want thanks your are my dream come through.

  14. Lucia  November 3, 2013

    Hi Chy, thanks for the mails. May God continue to bless and increase ur wisdom.

  15. doris  December 4, 2013

    U r n did a god sent,tks 4 de gud wok u r doing,may de gud god bless u,tks.

  16. ifeyinwa  January 15, 2014

    Hi madam, pls I want to oder for the e book guide n I don’t know how to go about it. Also for some time now u have not been sending me news letters, secondly pls I want u to trow more ligt on vegetable stew used for eating white rice n more foods that are less starchy. Thanks n God bless!

    • The Nigerian Kitchen  January 16, 2014

      Hello Ify, you can order the eGuide from the sales page. It is the best product in the world for making Nigerian foods and yes, you will learn more about the vegetable salad and other Nigerian/River state foods

  17. stella  January 26, 2014

    Hi ify, just to commend u on the wonderful job of bringing our local foods to the doorstep of countless nigerians me inclusive. Keep up the good work.

  18. betty  January 27, 2014

    hi, pls can i use pumpkin leaves in place of uziza leaves, because where I’m at i can’t get hold of uziza seeds and leaves. thanks

    • The Nigerian Kitchen  January 28, 2014

      Uziza is responsible for the native aroma that makes a native soup to be unique, we can send uziza seeds to your location if you like, contact me via the contact form. thanks

  19. Kalu Precious  February 15, 2014

    Ur d best,keep up the good work. Tnx

  20. Joy  February 19, 2014

    Hi Chy U rock. Thanks for ur efforts.


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