Ofe owerri is a tasty Nigerian soup which is native to Igbos from Imo State, Eastern Nigeria especially those from owerri which is the state capital. In english, ofe owerri means Owerri soup. And just as any Nigerian soup, you can use any type of fish, beef or assorted meat you choose to use and still get wonderful results. Before cooking of owerri you have to decide on the vegetable combination you want to use depending on the availability. The normal combination is made up of two vegetables. It’s either you use Ugu and Uziza, Ukazi and Uziza or Oha and Uziza. These vegetables have various health benefits. Personally, i love any combo with Uziza leaves. This tends to add flavor to the soup due to its aromatic compounds but it’s to be used sparingly (Click here to view the full list of Nigerian vegetables). Also, the thickener used for this soup is cocoyam. When i say cocoyam, i don’t mean the average cocoyam thickener known as “Ede ofe” that draws when added to soups but the type known as the “Red cocoyam”, eaten just the way boiled yam is eaten. Continue to see how it’s prepared.
Step 1: Wash the Ukazi and Uziza leaves with clean water, Slice thinly and set aside
Step 2: For this soup, i used the cocoyam that is usually eaten raw with oil known as the red cocoyam and not Ede ofe, the type used to thicken oha soup. Wash and place the cocoyam with the skin still intact in a small pot. Add clean water and boil for about 10 minutes. Once the yam is cooked, the skin can easily be removed with bare hands though this is best done while the cocoyam is still hot. place the peeled cocoyam in a mortar and pound with a pestle. Once the cocoyam looks smooth, set aside.
Step 3: Wash the beef with clean water and place in the pot. Soak the stock fish “Okporoko” in hot water for about 10 minutes. This helps soften it as well as get rid of whatever might be living within. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and place in the pot. Rinse the dry fish and place in the pot.
Add the seasoning, pepper, salt to taste and just enough water to cover the content of the pot. Cover the pot and cook for about 30 minutes. If you’re using fresh pepper, you can add it “whole” as shown in the picture and remove once the meat is cooked.
Step 4: Add the cocoyam and stir, leave to cook and thicken for about 10 minutes. Add the palm oil and crayfish and leave to cook further
Step 5: Gently add the periwinkles, sliced Uziza and Okazi leaves and leave to cook for 10 minutes
Turn off the burner and serve with your favorite “swallow“. This soup is traditionally served with Akpu.
|Ofe owerri served with Akpu|