The Pretend Chef

Anala Soup Ofe ukpom

healthy anala soup, ofe ukpom

Recipes, Soups/ light soups | April 1, 2016 | By

My first knowledge of Anala soup, Ofe ukpom was from a conversation between my mother and my paternal grandmother. They had both just devoured two bowls of some soup and were talking about how they couldn’t taste the salt in any other thing they ate subsequently. Furthermore, the soup barely contained any delicacy, which is highly unusual for Nigerian soups. They were laughing and enjoying whatever it was they were feeling. I, on the other hand, who couldn’t care less about food at the time, decided

Furthermore, the soup barely contained any delicacy, which is highly unusual for Nigerian soups. They were laughing and enjoying whatever it was they were feeling. So I made a note to myself, that soup will never ever cross my lips. Fast forward 12-13 years, I got married and my Renaissance man happens to love…exactly ofe ukpom, unbelievable.

Ukpom, by the way, is an Igbo word for a state of poverty, so Ofe ukpom is literally, Poverty soup.

healthy anala soup, ofe ukpom

Anala soup, Ofe ukpom is a vegetable soup thickened with cocoyam paste. It has a very mild, slightly bitter taste. Originally, it was cooked with just 4 ingredients, anala leaf, palm oil, cocoyam paste and ogili isi, with anala (garden egg/eggplant) leaves being the star ingredient.

This modern version has a little of other ingredients that take it mega notches to a complete state of deliciousness and it is as healthy as they come. Just keep it as simple as possible, overburdening Ofe Ukpom with ingredients will be a disservice because it is basically a type of internal cleanser.


  • When buying garden egg leaves make sure it’s not the type that has prominent hairs, that type is quite bitter.
  • Anala leaf is delicate and doesn’t stay fresh for long.
  • It also has a high water content, so you need a lot of leaves for a small pot of soup. Once the leaves wilts in the soup, the quantity will reduce significantly. 

fresh bundles of anala leaves for anala soup, ofe ukpom


To prepare Anala soup (Ofe Ukpom)

Dry fish (scant quantity)
1 cup Processed cocoyam 
6 tablespoons palm oil                   
1 tablespoon crayfish 
5g ogili isi
1 seasoning cube           
1/2 teaspoon salt               
1 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper) 
250g anala leaves (garden egg leaves)

Pick and wash the anala leaves several times in plenty of water. Set aside.

Soak dry fish in boiling hot water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse well in cold water.

Put the fish in a pot and add about 4 cups of water, season with a little salt. 

Set over medium-high heat and boil for 5 minutes.

Add the cocoyam paste and palm oil to the pot of fish.

cocoyam and palm oil in a pot for anala soup, ofe ukpom

Cook until the soup thickens, and you get a homogenous soup.

anala soup, ofe ukpom broth in a pot   broth for anala soup, ofe ukpom

Add crayfish, ogili isi, seasoning cube, salt and pepper. 

Stir and reduce the heat to medium-low. Boil for 5 minutes.

Coarsely shred the anala leaves and add to the pot of boiling soup, stir intermittently.

shredded anala leaves in the pot of anala soup, ofe ukpom

The leaves might seem a lot but anala leaf wilts once it comes in contact with heat and releases water. 

So what this means is that the thickened soup will get a little thinner, which is desirable.

healthy anala soup, ofe ukpom

Cook for about 3 minutes and take off the heat.

Your healthy Anala soup is ready.

healthy anala soup, ofe ukpom

It can be eaten with or without any Fufu or with agidi (eko). 

You will also enjoy my Ugu Soup, Ofe Ugbogoro (Melon or Pumpkin leaf), Okazi Soup and Awa Soup.

Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below. 

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  1. dorA
    July 5, 2016

    waw amasing, may God bless u so much

    • gaga
      July 6, 2016

      Thanks so much @dorA, God bless you too

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