Bitter Leaf Soup Recipe: How to Prepare Bitter Leaf Soup with Cocoyam (Ofe Onugbu)

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Bitter leaf soup generally is a very healthy and tasty Nigerian soup, it is delicious, thick and filled with numerous rich ingredients, this article explains how to cook a tasty bitter leaf soup with cocoyam which is the thickener. This soup is sometime referred to as cocoyam soup.

Bitter leaf as the name implies has a very bitter taste when chewed; despite its bitterness, many people still use it to prepare soup and it is used for other beneficial health reasons. Bitter leaf (Vernonia amygdalina) also known as Efere Atidot (Calabar) or Ofe Onugbu (Igbo) is a tasty Nigerian soup which is loved by many and can be cooked either with the use of cocoyam or water leaf but both are used separately to achieve different flavour. One important thing about bitter leaf soup is that it leaves a sweet taste in the tongue after consumption. Before developing hatred for bitter leaf, it is good you know the health benefits.

Health benefits of Bitter leaf

  1. It reduces blood sugar level thereby controlling diabetes mellitus and also helps in the maintenance of the pancreas.
  2. It reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke by increasing the serum level of high-density lipoprotein-C (HDL-C); a benefit that can be gotten from Ugwu leaf too.
  3. It is used as a remedy for treating Stomach pains, and disturbances by squeezing the leaf and extracting the bitter juice and then adding a small amount of salt for immediate relief. (It works like charm).
  4. It is used for treating and preventing malaria. This has not been proven medically but has been observed to be efficacious.
  5. It helps to reduce the unwanted and negative symptoms of menopause such as Hot flashes and rheumatism.
  6. It is known to reduce toothache when chewed.
  7. It has been observed in animals that chewing of bitter leaf helps them get rid of worms.
  8. It prevents damage caused by free radicals; hence, it is an antioxidant.

Bitter leaf and cocoyam soup ingredients

  1. 1 Kilogram meat (goat or beef)
  2. 3 Table spoons of grounded crayfish
  3. 4 Scotch bonnetpeppers
  4. 2 Cups of washed bitter leaf
  5. 10 Pieces of medium cocoyam
  6. One Stock fish head
  7. 3 Medium sizeSmoked fish
  8. Traditional seasoning ingredients (Ogiri/Okpei)
  9. Palm oil (20cl)
  10. 1 largebulbonion
  11. 3 Seasoning cubes
  12. Salt to taste –
  13. 2 Cups of shelled periwinkles, optional
Different ingredients for cooking bitter leaf soup with cocoyam
Different ingredients for cooking bitter leaf soup with cocoyam

 

Before you embark on the journey of cooking bitter leaf soup with cocoyam, it is best youdo the following first

  • Pound your bitter leaf using mortar and pestle till the leafbrings out water on its own, add fresh water to it and swirl and knead the leaves to get rid of the dark liquid; Use filter or Colander to sieve it. Repeat the process for many times until the water turns from black to clear and the taste is manageable. You can as well get already washed bitter leaf from the market if you prefer.
    See other ways of washing bitter leaf.However, if you prefer to make use of the bitter leaf with the long strands, you can place the bitter leaf in an open bowl, swirl and knead the leaves gently to ensure the leaves remain in strands and then get rid of the black water. Repeat this process severally until the water starts to clear. If you see this as a waste of time, you can add potash to it and soak it for about 10 minutes before washing it completely. Also, you can place the bitter leaf into a mediumpot and boil it with or without potash to get rid of the bitterness faster, this should take about 5 minutes.
  • Boil the cocoyam until it becomes very soft, peel and pound with mortar. When it starts to become smooth, add one spoon of palm oil to it and pound till it turns into a smooth paste and keep aside.When you add palm oil to blend or pound cocoyam, it helps to smoothen it and the paste in turnabsorbs the red oil even before it starts to melt in the soup.
These are the type of coocyam I used for this bitter leaf soup, they are perfect for this soup
These are the type of coocyam I used for this bitter leaf soup, they are perfect for this soup

 

Procedures for cooking the bitter leaf soup with cocoyam

  1. Wash and season the meat with onions, salt, pepper,Knorr cube and drop the meat intoacooking pot and place on heat for 15 minutes.
  2. Wash the stockfish and kpomo and add to the pot. Allow the content to boil for another 10-15 minutes.
  3. Youcan add more water and seasonings to the meat to extract rich stock. Once the meat is cooked, separate the meat and stockfish fromthe broth.
  4. Add abouta cup of water to the broth if it is not going to be enough; cut the cocoyam paste into smaller chunks with a spoon or use your fingers to flatten them and dropinto the content on heat.
  5. When you are done doing this, add crayfish, onions, periwinkles, pepper, smoked fish, seasoning cubes and okpe/ogiri.
  6. Allow the soup tosimmer gently until all the cocoyam paste has completely dissolved and become slightly thickened.
  7. Return the cooked meat to the content, add the remaining palm oil, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to get thickened properly.
  8. When you are happy with the consistency, add the bitter leaf and allow the soup to simmer for 10minutes. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.
  9. Serve you bitter leaf soup and cocoyam with pounded yam or Semolina.

Easy steps to prepare bitter leaf soup with cocoyam

1. Wash and season the meat with onions, salt, pepper,Knorr cube and drop the meat intoacooking pot and place on heat for 15 minutes.

2. Wash the stockfish and kpomo and add to the pot. Allow the content to boil for another 10-15 minutes.

3. Youcan add more water and seasonings to the meat to extract rich stock. Once the meat is cooked, separate the meat and stockfish fromthe broth.

4. Add abouta cup of water to the broth if it is not going to be enough; cut the cocoyam paste into smaller chunks with a spoon or use your fingers to flatten them and dropinto the content on heat.

Adding of thickener (cocoyam paste) to make bitter leaf soup
Adding of thickener (cocoyam paste) to make bitter leaf soup

 

5. When you are done doing this, add crayfish, onions, periwinkles, pepper, smoked fish, seasoning cubes and okpe/ogiri.

5. Allow the soup tosimmer gently until all the cocoyam paste has completely dissolved and become slightly thickened.

Leave the cocoyam to cook for about 15 minutes on a medium heat or until it dissolves completely
Leave the cocoyam to cook for about 15 minutes on a medium heat or until it dissolves completely

 

7. Return the cooked meat to the content, add the remaining palm oil, salt and pepper and allow to simmer for 15 minutes to get thickened properly.

Make sure you are pleased with the consistency of the soup, the way I like mine is it shouldn
Make sure you are pleased with the consistency of the soup, the way I like mine is it shouldn’t be too thick and and not watery as well.

 

8. When you are happy with the consistency, add the bitter leaf and allow the soup to simmer for 10minutes. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary.

Bitter leaves have being added to the content. Give your bitter leaf soup with cocoyam a good stir and leave to cook for 1 minute and then serve as you want
Bitter leaves have being added to the content. Give your bitter leaf soup with cocoyam a good stir and leave to cook for 1 minute and then serve as you want

 

9. Serve you bitter leaf soup and cocoyam with pounded yam or Semolina.

Bitter leaf soup with cocoyam is best served with semolina, pounded yam or fufu, make your own choice of swallow
Bitter leaf soup with cocoyam is best served with semolina, pounded yam or fufu, make your own choice of swallow

 

Bitter leaf soup with cocoyam is been served with semolina
Bitter leaf soup with cocoyam is been served with semolina

 

Please note that you can also make bitter leaf soup without cocoyam as there are other alternative to cocoyam such as:

Have you tried using any of the following ways to make your bitter leaf soup? How did it turn out? Share your experiencebelow after registering.

 

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