People from Imo state would PROUDLY argue that this soup is the most expensive and most stressful Nigerian soup thus the saying “onye arii ego ejila erila Ofe Owerri” (He who has no money cannot eat Owerri soup) but that sounds like a big white lie 🙂 (Because #TeamAfang #TeamEforiro and #TeamYorubaPalmOilEgusi) we can all agree that the soup is delicious, soupa and is a hit. Owerri is the capital of Imo state in the South-East corner of Nigeria, but you do not have to be from the part of the country to enjoy the soup, it’s extremely delicious and definitely adaptable to any palette. The below ingredient is for a moderate amount of person let’s say 5.
2 large smoked fish (preferably Asa Fish)
3 medium pieces Stock Fish
200 gr Assorted Beef
1 cup smoked prawns (use ground Crayfish as substitute)
4 cocoyam corms OR 2 cooking spoonful pounded Cocoyam paste
2 handful Okazi leaves ( if you use dried okazi, grind in blender before use)
2 handfuls Uziza, Ugu leaves OR Spinach Or Oha/Ora leaves
2 cooking spoonful Palm oil
2 Stock cubes
Salt to Taste
Pepper to Taste
BEFORE COOKING NOTE THIS
THINGS TO DO BEFORE COOKING OFE OWERRI
Wash and shred the vegetables and leave to strain in a colander/sieve and Set aside.
Boil the cocoyam corms until soft and pound/blend to form a near or thorough smooth paste and Set aside.
Rinse the Dried prawns and set aside.
Soak the smoked fish in hot water to soften it a bit, then wash thoroughly with hot water and carefully clean out the inside without breaking the fish to pieces. Set aside and Wash the beef and the stock fish and place in a pot
HOW TO MAKE THE COCOYAM PASTE
Wash the Cocoyam thoroughly and boil with the skin on in lots of water for 10 –15 minutes
When cooked, peel off the skin and pound into a paste. The cocoyam is usually sticky so add a tablespoonful of palm oil. This does 2 things: it keeps the cocoyam from sticking to the mortar and also it enhances the color of the soup OR if you have the ogbono Iron grinder used in the local market then you will really form a cocoyam paste in no time as it grinds it thoroughly.
Season the meats and stockfish with salt, ½ cup of the crayfish, 1 tbsp. of dry pepper. Add some snails. Don’t forget the stockfish head because that is where you get the real stockfish flavor. Pour water to the level of the meats and cook until tender.
Add the cleaned dried prawns, pepper, stock cube and palm oil.
Mix thoroughly and add the cocoyam paste, bit by bit. Cover and leave to cook until the cocoyam paste dissolve completely. This serves as a thickener for the soup. Stir continuously so that the soup doesn’t burn at the bottom.
Add the smoked fish and boil for 3 minutes (adding the fish at this stage keeps it from breaking to pieces in the soup).
Then add the Vegetables. If you are using dried Okazi leaves, add this first, simmer for 5 minutes before adding the Uziza, Ugu/Spinach/Oha leaves.
Simmer for 3 minutes and add salt to taste, and your delicious Ofe Owerri is ready.
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