Chicken pepper soup, Nigerian Chicken pepper soup
It’s cold, it’s raining, you have a nasty cold and your nose is blocked, a bowl of steaming hot chicken pepper soup is placed before you. Not overly spicy, not bland, just the right balance of spice, heat, flavour and tender chicken, Chicken pepper soup, comfort food at its best.
Chicken pepper soup is basically chicken broth with herbs and spices added. Chicken soup is common in many cultures of the world, the difference is in the type of spices used, the addition of a few other ingredients like root vegetables and the pepper in the chicken pepper soup.
Nigerians do not joke with pepper soup, in fact, there is practically no animal that can not be pepper souped. Some people use a one size fits all pepper soup spice mix which is OK, though some of those mixes are plain nasty. If you find a blend that works for you, by all means, stick to it. There is really no right or wrong spice mix for pepper soup, all that matters is that the blend of spices tastes good, there is some heat in it depending on your level of tolerance and the chicken, the most flavourful available.
The chicken can be cut into small pieces, even bite-size pieces or cut into large parts.
There are a few types of chicken I will like to mention, the old layer chicken which I use a lot for making pepper soup. The old layer chicken is very tough with hard bones but very flavoursome, it takes a long time to cook so I use my pressure pot. If there is no pressure pot available, add a few bean seeds which act as a meat tenderizer. Then there is the native chicken, which is free range, organic and small in size but the taste is exceptional. It is very rare to get a hold of them now, but when I do, I cook it whole in my pepper soup for my Renaissance Man.
I throw in my scotch bonnet whole because in my home, we have difference levels of heat tolerance and pepper soup does not ‘hide’ pepper. So for those who want it really spicy, crush the pepper at the end of cooking and add to their portion. That way, the pepper won’t taste raw.
For the ehuru, you can roast it on the open flame of your cooker or in a dry frying pan over high heat but I buy mine already roasted ehuru.
This recipe is as simple as they come and is ideal for a beginner. Its simplicity is well suited for someone who is under the weather, the taste buds will not be overwhelmed. It is my go to recipe when my kids need some pepper soup TLC.
To prepare Chicken pepper soup:
1kg chicken 1 small onion (1/4 cup chopped) scotch bonnet (fresh pepper) 2 seasoning cubes salt 1 1/2 teaspoons whole uziza seed (2 teaspoon ground) 3 ehuru seeds (1 1/2 teaspoon ground) 2 pieces uda 10 leaves scent leaf (nchuanwu)
Chop onions, grind uziza seed and ehuru. Hit the uda to break it open and set aside.
Cut chicken or chicken parts to your desired size and rinse in clean water.
Put chicken in a pot.
Add chopped onions, seasoning cube, salt and scotch bonnet (whole or ground).
If using old layer chicken which doesn’t have much moisture in the muscles, add 1 cup of water but if you are using broiler chicken or any other soft chicken, don’t add water yet.
Cover and cook over medium heat till the chicken has released its water.
Add more water to cover the meat, about 4 cups.
Boil till a fork can pass through the chicken.
Add uziza, ehuru and uda.
Wash and cut scent leaf, add to your Chicken pepper soup.
Stir and cook for 5 minutes, until chicken has reached desired tenderness and the pepper soup spices have blended well.
Taste and correct seasoning if necessary.
Take off the heat and enjoy.
Serve with white rice, boiled yam and plantain, agidi (eko, corn paste jello), bread, Irish potatoes or drink as a soup.
- You might want to use chicken seasoning cubes.
- The addition of crayfish is totally optional, I don’t like crayfish in my chicken pepper soup.
- You can add 1 chopped tomato for visual appeal.
We will like to know how much you enjoyed your Chicken Pepper soup. Do you have a contribution or suggestion? Leave a comment below.
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