Ewedu soup is the soup my Yoruba friend, Shade loved and always raved about in secondary school. In the refectory, we were being served stew and Plain okro soup and the times I ate it I liked it, strange though. So I promised myself that one day I will get to eat Ewedu soup.
The opportunity presented itself at the early stage of Buka surfing in Lagos which my Sister-in-law and I indulge in, I remembered Shade and ordered Ewedu soup. After staring at it for awhile I dove right in and it was worth the long wait from my days in Federal Government Girls’ College, Benin to that fateful day in Lagos. Hot amala right in the middle of the omi obe and ewedu with orishirishi meat, who cared about the less than sanitary environment characteristic of bukas. I devoured my food and blessed the original creators of this dish in my heart.
About Ewedu Soup ingredients
Ewedu is called jute mallow leaf, arirala (Igbo) and rama ayoyo (Hausa). It is the tender leaf of the jute plant. There are two types of ewedu, ewedu oko the native variety and ewedu agric. The native one is more mucilaginous, it draws more than the agric., though both taste the same. If you cannot get the fresh ewedu, for those living abroad, look out for Saluyot, Jute leaves or Molokhia (Mulukhiyah) in the grocery shops, they come mostly frozen.
There are 2 types of iru, iru pete which is soft, mushy and salty and iru woro which has firm whole seeds. Iru pete is better for ewedu if you have a choice. If using iru pete, you might not need additional salt in your soup. Egusi is sometimes added to Ewedu soup, see notes below.
The whole idea in this cooking method is to make the ewedu very slimy. To achieve this, you will need to grind your leaves with any of an Ijabe (native broom), blender, immersion blender, hand whisk, food processor etc. Anything that will break down the softened ewedu leaves and beat it to work up its slime. I still use Ijabe because I like it.
To prepare Ewedu soup
Put iru into a small bowl, add enough water to cover it well.
Stir well to release any grit or sand on it. Set aside.
Pick the ewedu leaves making sure the leaf stalk does not come off with the leaves.
Wash the leaves in several changes of water to remove all the sand.
Put water in a medium pot, and place over high heat.
Add akaun and bring to a boil, the akaun would have dissolved by now.
Add washed ewedu, and leave to cook till ewedu is soft.
Take off the heat, pound and beat the leaves using your broom or use a blender (the more you beat the slimier it gets).
Place the pot back on the cooker, gently add iru with the water being careful not to let any sand enter the pot from the bowl.
Stir and taste add salt. Cook for about 3 more minutes and take off the heat.
Ewedu soup is normally served with Omi obe and Amala or any fufu of your choice.
- To add egusi to your ewedu soup, either sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of egusi when adding iru or mix the egusi with one teaspoon or less of water to form a very thick paste. Drop in small balls of egusi paste into the boiling ewedu soup, do not stir. Cook until ewedu has softened and egusi has cooked through, pound both.
- Egusi balls should not be moulded too big so that they will cook through at the same time as the ewedu leaves.
- The leaf stalk is left behind when picking ewedu because it will not break down when the leaves are pounded thereby making the soup look untidy and full of stringy stalks.
- There is no need cutting the leaves.
- It is necessary to give the soup a second boil so that it will not get spoilt quickly.
- Do not put in too much kaun, it will give your ewedu soup an unappealing brownish colour.
- Do not cover your pot when cooking ewedu soup.
- The addition of crayfish and dry fish is optional.
Do you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.
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