It’s weekend and you are wondering what special thing to add to the menu to make it different this time. Well, you are not alone. The urge to try something different is universal, that’s why we combed Nigeria to bring you a special delicacy called Ofe Owerri.
In Igbo (a language popular in Eastern Nigeria), Ofe means soup, while Owerri is the capital of Imo state. That suggests that the soup is for the people of Owerri huh? Well, that’s not specifically true as the soup is widely popular across Eastern Nigeria and has even found its way into popular cities like Lagos and Abuja. Be that as it may, the soup is famously associated with Owerri town.
To have an idea of how special this soup is, you only need to ask an Igbo man to describe a very beautiful lady in few words; I bet he’ll likely liken her to Ofe Owerri. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so why not try the soup out this weekend. Here is how to make it:
Goat meat, large snails, ponmo (cow skin), Okporoko (dried cod) cod, dried fish, Oporo (smoked prawns), grounded dried crayfish, wraps of Ogili (fermented soya beans), fresh pepper, grounded dried pepper, grounded Uziza seeds (Ashanti pepper), cocoyam, palm oil, sliced ugu leafs (pumpkin leaves), sliced oha leafs, sliced uziza leaves, stock cubes, achi powder and salt.
- Season the meats, snail and stockfish with salt, half cup of crayfish, 1 tablespoon of dried pepper. Pour water to the level of the meats and cook until tender.
How to make the cocoyam paste
- Wash the cocoyam thoroughly and boil in lots of water with the skin on for ten to fifteen minutes.
- When cooked, peel off the skin and pound into a paste. The cocoyam is usually sticky so add a tablespoonful of palm oil. This does two things: it keeps the cocoyam from sticking to the mortar and also it enhances the colour of the soup.
- Once the meat and stockfish have softened, taste the stock and make any necessary adjustments to the flavour.
- At this stage, add the cocoyam paste in small portions with your cooking spoon or simply mix the ground ‘Achi’ powder with some water in a bowl, stir well and pour into the soup. Reduce the heat and watch the soup thicken. Stir thoroughly to ensure all cocoyam lumps dissolve totally into the soup.
- Add the palm oil and washed chunks of dry fish to the soup. Cover the pot and let the soup cook until the oil combines with the soup and loses that raw taste (this takes about 2-5 minutes)
- Add the ogiri, the remaining crayfish and dry pepper and stir thoroughly.
- Thoroughly wash the vegetables with cold water. Wash twice or thrice to remove any traces of dust or sand. Stir after adding the vegetables and allow to simmer on low heat for an extra five minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Voila, your Ofe Owerri is ready!
Serve hot with yellow Igbo garri, Akpu (Fufu), pounded yam or semovita.
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