Ogbono soup is a delicious Nigerian viscous soup made with ogbono seeds; it is mostly refer to as draw soup because of its soft and viscous nature. Ogbono soup is very nutritious, rich and healthy for both adults and toddlers who are weaned from breast milk, it is by far one of the easiest Nigerian soups. If you want to enjoy ogbono soup, you can make it with assorted meat and stockfish, stockfish will leave your pot of ogbono soup with a very rich and attractive aroma, which will make you long for more. Another important seasoning in ogbono soup is okpei or Iru and crayfish. Opkei or Iru is a traditional ingredient which is often added to make Nigerian soups to spice them up; it is processed from fermented locust beans and it has a flavourful aroma, which is also great for ogbono recipes.
However, Ogbono is a wild edible mango fruit grown in few West African countries; the fruits are juicy and sweet just like mango fruit. However, ogbono seeds in English are refer to as African bush mango seeds, they are slimy in nature when blended, the seeds are not as edible as the fruits Therefore, they are only used for preparing draw soups and they cant be eaten raw, otherwise they could cause allergy. Ogbono seed is usually blended into a smooth consistency to make ogbono soup; the ground seed serves as a thickener, it gives the soup a thick viscous consistency. Ogbono fruit on the other hand is called bush mango or African bush mango it has a greenish peel, but turns yellow when it is ripe hence; ogbono soup has slimy texture when cooked just like okra soup.
Additionally, ogbono soup can be prepared with Ugwu leaf (fluted pumpkin), bitter leaf and uziza leaf, hence, you can make ogbono soup without adding any of the listed vegetable. Many people prefer to make ogbono soup without palm oil and in such instance; they use stew to eat it instead of palm oil.
There are other ways of making ogbono soup aside the above method: you can combine ground ogbono with okra to make Ogbono with okra soup or you can combine it together with egusi to make what is known as ogbono with egusi soup, this depends on your preference and how you like your draw soup to be. If you want to know how to make ogbono with okra, see here. In addition, ogbono soup is usually eaten with pounded yam, with fufu, with eba, with semolina or with tuwo shinkafa among other starchy foods; hence other people prefer to serve ogbono soup with boiled rice.
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Important tips for preparing ogbono soup
- Ogbono soup is a very simple Nigerian soup just like okra soup, you can used any available protein such as dried fish, fresh fish, assorted meat, prawns, periwinkles crabs or snails to cook this soup.
- While cooking ogbono soup, allow it to sit longer on heat for about 10-15 minutes before you add your vegetable, the longer it sits, the sticky it becomes and the tastier it is too. Another reason why you should allow ogbono soup to sit longer on heat is to prevent it from tasting bland thus, getting rid of the raw smell.
- If you want your ogbono soup to draw very well (i.e to be more viscous), do not used old ogbono seeds or the seeds that have started forming mould to cook this soup, but make use of the fresh seeds that have no trace mould or that have not been tempered by insects.
- After grinding ogbono seeds, the ground ogbono may become lumpy or hardened; in this case, palm oil can be added to mix or dissolve the ground ogbono into a smooth paste, this makes it easy for the ground ogbono to dissolve and cook fast in the pot without much waste of time.
- You can still dissolve ogbono without having to mix it with palm oil. All you need to do is to, simply add ground ogbono into a pot containing cold water and then place on heat, as it boils, the ground ogbono will dissolve along. Then you can bring in the cooked meat and other ingredients you have prepared and kept aside into the bubbling soup.
- Another thing that could prevent the sliminess of Ogbono soup (its ability to draw or viscosity) – is when you decide to fry it like the case of okra soup. You are only to soak ground ogbono in palm oil to dissolve it, since the seed turns lumpy once it is blended.
- Any type of vegetable can be used to garnish ogbono soup, leaves like bitter leaf, fluted pumpkin, spinach or uziza are all great for this soup, make your choice.
- Ogbono soup can be prepared into a watery or thick soup depending on ones choice; you can decide to make a thicker version of ogbono, if you prefer yours to be thick. But if you want it a bit runny or moderate, you may have to add a little water to the soup if you notice it becoming thick while simmering.
- Ogbono soup doesnt really need much vegetables as in the case of other Nigerian vegetable soups, if you are going to add green vegetableto this soup, add it sparingly better still, a handful will be enough you just need few bright greens to float on top.
- Both bitter leaf and uziza leaf can be used at the same time to make ogbono soup, I have tried this combination before and the taste was heavenly. Feel free to use your preferred vegetable to prepare ogbono soup.
- Since Ogbono a sticky soup, it can burn at the bottom of the pot easily as it boils. All you need to do is to cook the soup on a medium-low heat and stir the soup regularly to prevent that.
Ogbono soup ingredients
- cup of ogbono seeds, I used peak milk cup for the measurement
- 500g goat meat or assorted meat
- 1 piece of dried fish or iced fish (Optional)
- 3 table spoons ground crayfish
- 1 medium piece of shaki or kpomo
- 1 head of stockfish
- 1 medium onion
- 4 scotch bonnet peppers
- 1 handful of ugwu leaf or Uziza leaf
- 3 cooking spoons of palm oil
- 3 seasoning cubes
- Salt to taste
Steps on how to cook ogbono soup
- Season meat and stockfish with 1 stock cube, onions, pepper and salt and cook on a medium heat.
- While the meat is on heat, dress the dried or smoked fish and keep aside, it will be added later.
- Grind both ogbono seeds and crayfish in a dry mill into a fine consistency.
- Add two cooking spoons of palm oil to the ground ogbono and use a spoon to dissolve it by mashing it and then keep aside.
- Chop onion, pound peppers and shred the leaf you want to use for ogbono soup and keep all aside.
- When the meat has become soft, add dried fish to cook for 5 minutes, if the meat water has reduced add 1 cup of water to the content and bring to a boil.
- Seperate the meat from the broth, add the ground ogbono to the content to cook for 10 minutes, as it boils, you will notice the soup beginning to thicken and at the same time turning viscous. You need it to be more viscous so let it cook
- Add Opkei or iru, crayfish, pepper, two seasoning cubes and the remaining onions to the content and let it simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Your stock will become rich and you will start perceiving a nice aroma as it boils.
- If your ogbono soup is looking light brown, you can add another spoon of palm to get your desired colour.
- Stir the soup and reduce the heat to medium low and let the ogbono soup simmer for about 5-10 minutes to intensify more delicious flavour.
- Add the chopped vegetable to the ogbono soup and stir it properly for all the ingredients to combine. Leave it to cook for 2 minutes; you dont want to overcook the vegetable.
- Put off heat and serve ogbono soup with your preferred swallow, then refrigerate the remaining soup.
Step by step guide to make ogbono soup with pictures
1. Season meat and stockfish with 1 stock cube, onions, pepper and salt and cook on a medium heat. While the meat is on heat, dress the dried or smoked fish and keep aside, it will be added later if you are using any; I used Iced or fresh fish for this soup.
2. Grind both ogbono seeds and crayfish in a dry mill into a fine consistency.
3. Add two cooking spoons of palm oil to the ground ogbono and use a spoon to dissolve it by mashing it and then keep aside.
4. Chop onion, pound pepper and shred the leaf you want to use for ogbono soup and keep all aside.
5. When the meat has become soft, add dried fish to cook for 5 minutes, if the meat water has reduced add 1 cup of water to the content and bring to a boil.
6. After thisseperate the meat from the broth, add the ground ogbono into the content to cook, as it boils, you will notice the soup beginning to thicken and at the same time turning viscous. You need it to be more viscous so, let it cook for about 10 minutes on a medium heat.
7. Add Opkei or iru, crayfish, pepper, two seasoning cubes and the remaining onions to the content, stir and let it simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes. Your stock will become rich and you will start perceiving a nice aroma as it boils.
8. Bring in the cooked meat, stir the soup and reduce the heat to medium low and let the ogbono soup simmer for about 5-10 minutes to intensify more delicious flavour.
9. Add the chopped vegetable to the ogbono soup I used both uziza and bitter leaf, but in small quantity. Stir the soup properly for all the ingredients to combine, leave it to cook for 2 minutes; you dont want to over cook the vegetable.
10. Put off heat and serve ogbono soup with your preferred swallow, then refrigerate the remaining soup for another day.
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