okazi soup, Ukazi soup
Okazi soup is a thickened vegetable soup from eastern Nigeria. It is similar to Ofe Owerri, the main difference being that Ofe Owerri is thickened with cocoyam (Owerri court), while Okazi soup is thickened with achi, ukpo or ofo. Each thickener has its own peculiar flavour. Ofo is my favourite, while achi is my least favourite.
The day my cousin tasted this ofo version in my house, she carried the rest of the pot of soup back home. It is that good.
Azu nwankata (sungu), a type of dried fish can be used with or in place of your regular dry fish. It is usually ground and used very sparingly and added with crayfish, though I prefer breaking it into tiny pieces. Sungu has a strong, pungent (umami) taste so a little gooes a long way. Ugu and achara can also be added to okazi soup.
Okazi leaf is normally sold fresh or dry and both are good for this soup. If using dry okazi, add it early in your cooking so it will rehydrate and soften. Okazi is called Afang in efik or ibibio and is used to prepare the famous Afang soup.
To prepare Okazi Soup:
Meat stockfish dry fish 8 cup water + meat stock 3/4 cups palm oil (3 cooking spoons) pepper 4 tablespoons ofo 6 tablespoons ground crayfish 3 seasoning cubes salt 60g achara (80g)optional 40g fresh okazi uziza leaf or seed (optional)
Wash meat and stockfish, put in a pot with water, season with salt and seasoning cube, and boil.
Wash dry fish: Soak dry fish in boiling hot water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse well with cold water.
Add dry fish to the boiling meat.
Add palm oil and pepper, cook till meat is tender.
Stir in ofo very well. What ever lumps that form will dissolve in the heat.
Cook till the colour of the soup becomes homogenous, creamy and yellow.
Add crayfish, achara and seasoning cubes, stir, taste and add salt.
Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add okazi, stir and cook for another 5 minutes.
Take off the heat.
Serve with swallow of choice.
I will like to know how much you enjoyed your Ukazi soup. Do you have a contribution or suggestion? Leave a comment below.
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