The Pretend Chef

Ofe Awa, Awa soup

Authentic and appealing ofe awa,awa soup

Ofe awa, Awa soup is made with Awa leafy vegetable. It is native to people of Enugu area of Nigeria, especially Nkanu. I seriously wonder why the popularity of this soup hasn’t crossed the boundaries of this enclave. Ofe Awa (Awa soup) is so finger licking good, problem is, the vegetable is very seasonal. It is bountiful deep into the rainy season.

Awa soup should be given a special place in the pantheons of Nigerian soups honestly. Reminds me of a traditional wedding I attended in Nkanu. They had Awa soup, abacha/akidi, and of course the usual jollof rice, fried rice, ukwa etc. I ate abacha/akidi and Awa soup. Both were so heart-warmingly delicious.

Authentic and appealing ofe awa, awa soup

It is mostly cooked with egusi, but can also be cooked with other vegetables.

How to wash Awa vegetable

Awa vegetable is bitter so, it needs to be processed to remove this bitterness. Some people steep or soak the washed leaves in boiling hot water, but for me, it is never really enough. I boil mine for a good 15 – 20 minutes. If you prefer a bit of bitterness in your soup, by all means just steep, rinse and squeeze out as much water as you can. Some others just wash and break into bits with their fingers, in this case, the quantity of Awa vegetable will considerably be less than what is used in this recipe.

Awa vegetable

To prepare Ofe Awa, Awa soup:

Meat
Stockfish
Dry fish
180g processed Awa (boiled & squeezed) 
1/4 cup palm oil
1/2 cup chopped onions, 1 medium
1 cup egusi, ground
2 1/2 - 3 cups meat stock + water
5g ogili okpei
3 scotch bonnet (fresh pepper)
4 Tablespoons + 1 Tablespoon ground crayfish
2 seasoning cubes
salt

 

Wash meat and stock fish, place in a pot and season with salt and seasoning cube. Boil until almost tender.

Place dry fish in boiling hot water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Add dry fish to

Add dry fish to the pot of boiling meat.

Pick, Awa leaves and wash thoroughly. Put in a pot and add enough water to cover it. You will need to stir and push the leaves into the pot of water because they will float to the top.

awa leaves boiling in a pot to remove bitterness for use in ofe awa, awa soup

Boil till the leaves wilts and most of the bitterness has gone. This can take up to 15-20 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water, squeeze out as much water as you can.

washed awa leaves for ofe awa, awa soup

In a clean and dry pot, placed over medium heat, add palm oil, when warmed, add onions and fry.

Add egusi stir well and fry till dry and sandy.

frying egusi for ofe awa, awa soup

Add stock, water, ground ogili okpei, pepper, 4 tablespoons ground crayfish and seasoning cubes, stir and bring to a boil.

meat and dry fish added to ofe awa, awa soup

Taste and add salt.

Add meat, stock fish and dry fish, cover and cook till egusi has lost its raw taste.

ofe awa, awa soup boiling in a pot

Add 1 tablespoon of ground crayfish and Awa leaves. Cook for a few more minutes and take off the heat.

awa leaves added to ofe awa, awa soup

 

Authentic and appealing ofe awa, awa soup

Enjoy your Ofe awa, Awa soup with garri, pounded yam, fufu or any other swallow of your choice.

Note:

  • You don’t need to cut the Awa leaves, leaving it long and stringy is the traditional way and part of the experience of eating Ofe Awa.
  • Remember you have already boiled the Awa vegetable, so it won’t need to be cooked for too long in the soup.
  • The ratio of awa to egusi is actually a matter of preference. You can add more Awa or more egusi to suit your taste.

Drop a comment below on your thoughts and suggestions.

 

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