Family Recipe: How To Make Bitter-leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)

It is time to ditch your regular soups and treat your family to some amazing, unfamiliar yet savoury soup this weekend. Nigeria is a very diverse country when it comes to human population but so is our food, nobody should get stuck eating their own local delicacies alone. Try the much talked-about ofe onugbu aka bitter-leaf soup from the south-eastern part of Nigeria.

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The sweet aftertaste of the bitter leaf makes it a much enjoyable soup for many and it goes down well with any of our Nigerian swallows, including pounded yam, eba,or semovita.

Ingredients For making Bitter leaf Soup

This would serve about ten persons 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, 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)

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.

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Cooking Directions:

Step 1

To soften the leaves and further remove the excessive bitter taste, it is advisable to boil the bitter leaf alone in ordinary water for 10 to 15 minutes, most people like to add a little quantity of edible potash to hasten but that is not advisable because it could affect the overall taste of the soup.

Step 2

Parboil meat with every necessary ingredients, use 3 cube of your favourite seasoning, 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. While the meat is cooking, wash your dry fish thoroughly with hot water.

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Step 3

Add the washed dry fish, stock fish and cook until it is tender, add more water then add palm oil, ground crayfish, pepper, seasoning, and salt to taste. Stir and allow to boil.

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

Step 4

Then add the pounded cocoa yam , also add the ogiri now. 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).

Recipe source:, Photo credit: Google

1 Discussion on “Family Recipe: How To Make Bitter-leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)”
  • Please we from the eastern part of Nigeria don’t use onions to cook bitter leaf soup, oha soup or any other soup that has to do with coco yam. Please take note

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