Afang soup is a vegetable soup indigenous to the efik people of Akwa-ibom and Cross river states of Nigeria. It is also loved and devoured by non-indigenes as well especially when loaded with a combination of delicacies from both land and sea.
The afang leaf from which the soup got its name is the star of the dish. It is called okazi or ukazi by the Igbos. Afang leaf is dark, thick and tough, it is high in dietary fibre which makes it good for the bowel and for dieters. The soup contains very little liquid just mostly vegetables.
Afang can be eaten raw and has a very subtle, almost indiscernible bitter taste (in a good way). Do not overcook once it has been added to the soup or the soup will become too dark.
Afang is usually sold very finely shredded in the market. That degree of fineness in the shredding, needs a level of expertise best left to the experts.
To prepare Afang Soup:
6 tablespoons crayfish
4 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper)
2 seasoning cube
1 cup periwinkle
3/4 cups palm oil (about 3 cooking spoons)
150g afang (Okazi)
Wash shredded okazi, squeeze out the water and grind. (You can grind it using mortar and pestle or the dry mill of your blender, which is what i use. You can add a little water and use a liquid blender or you can use the commercial grinder in the market).
The texture of the ground afang depends on personal taste, I don’t like to liquefy or turn mine into very tiny bits, I still want to see short strands of afang within the pulp. Set aside.
Pick, wash and cut waterleaf into small bits. Set aside.
Season meat and stockfish with salt and seasoning cube, boil till tender. Add the dry fish and boil for about 5 minutes.
Take out some stock and reserve, leaving behind about 3 cups. This might seem like a lot of liquid but afang is dry, so it tends to absorb a lot of liquid.
Add crayfish and pepper to the boiling meat and cook for 5 minutes.
Add periwinkles and the shredded waterleaf, cook till waterleaf has released its juices, about 5 minutes.
Stir in palm oil and seasoning cubes, taste, then add salt. Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
Sprinkle in afang, let it cook for 2 minutes and take off the heat.
Serve with swallow of your choice.
I will love to know how much you enjoyed your Afang soup, or if you have any contributions to make. Comment below.