Ugu soup, Ofe ugu
Ugu soup is one soup I cannot say I know the origin of, I actually thought my Mother created it, this was until I ate it at a local restaurant. It is not a very common soup which is surprising given that it really really tastes good. It is like a relationship where opposites attract or somebody tried to pull a joke because the soup has all the trappings of a typical sturdy Igbo soup but then light-hearted ugu vegetable is added.
Like most Nigerian vegetable soups, the ugu vegetable still has to retain its freshness in the soup. It is not a soup that lasts for too long in the freezer, besides the vegetable quickly losing its crispness, it will also become overwhelmed by the soup broth. The best way I can describe this is, the taste becomes mainly that of the broth and the ugu loses its prominence. So whenever I cook Ugu soup, I make just enough for a day or two.
You can make the thick broth and store in the freezer when you want to eat, bring to a boil and add freshly cut Ugu vegetable. With this method, you can change the soup to an entirely different soup by adding another vegetable or even a herb eg. Ora or uziza
To prepare Ugu soup
Meat Stock fish Dry fish 6 cups stock and water 6 Scotch bonnet 3/4 cup palm oil* 2 1/4 cups Ede paste 1 tablespoon ogili isi 1/4 cup ground crayfish 3 Seasoning cubes salt 450g ugu leaves
*1 standard cooking spoon of oil = 1/4 cup
Pick Ugu leaves, wash and shred. Set aside.
Wash and season meat and stock fish with salt and seasoning cubes. Cook until tender.
Place dry fish in boiling hot water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse well in cold water, remove bones.
Add dry fish, pepper and palm oil to boiling meat. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add cocoyam paste in large lumps.
Cook until soup thickens and has a uniform orange colour.
Add ogili isi, crayfish and seasoning cubes.
Stir and taste, add salt.
Add shredded ugu to the soup.
Stir, reduce heat and cook for 3-5 minutes, depending on the type of ugu.
Bite a piece of the cooked leaf to know if it is ready.
Take off the heat.
Serve with swallow of your choice.
- Some types of ugu are more tender than others.
- If the soup has thickened enough and there is still undissolved cocoyam, scoop it out.
I will like to know how much you enjoyed your Ugu soup. Do you have a contribution or suggestion? Leave a comment below.
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