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If you’re looking for a delicious and hearty soup recipe, look no further than this Nigerian okra soup. It’s packed with flavor and will leave you feeling satisfied. Trust me, this dish is a culinary delight worth giving a try!

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How to Make Nigerian Okra Soup

When people talk about the taste of traditional African cuisine, okra soup is almost always one of the centers of attention.

This soup is a mouthwatering delicacy with a burst of flavors from the traditional spices and proteins used to prepare it.

For many people, the perfect combination is always eba and okra soup. I mean, I love it too!

However, you can enjoy okro soup with any other swallow food of your choice and a cold drink to step it down.

recipe for okra soup nigerian

What Is Okra Soup?

Okra soup, also known as okro soup, is a very popular delicacy in West Africa. It is made from the finger-like pods of the okra plant and has a thick, viscous texture that depends on how the green pods are chopped by the cook.

This Nigerian soup is loved by all, except my sister, Grace, because of its ease of cooking and how versatile the dish is.

The fact is, okra soup can be made in many different ways.

It can either be made plain and served with the Nigerian tomato stew or cooked with palm oil and other flavorful condiments.

Step 9 - okra soup nigerian recipe

The palm oil okra soup is the popular variant known as “Ila Alasepo” in the Yoruba language.

Food for thought: I grew up eating Ila Alasepo. But after my Cameroonian friend introduced me to okro soup mixed with ground melon seeds and smoked turkey, my life was never the same. #yummy

What Does Okra Soup Taste Like?

So, what does okro soup taste like? The true taste of okra soup depends heavily on how it is made.

Plain okra soup has a mildly sweet and grassy flavor, like the taste of cooked eggplant.

While the taste of mixed okra ranges from the mildly sweet taste of the plain okra to the spicy, hot, and salivating taste of the added peppers, onions, and seasonings.

how to cook nigerian okro soup

With the different assorted meats and fish added, you taste mixed okra with the savory umami taste of meats and the seafood taste of fish.

The taste of this delicious soup goes on like that with every other ingredient added to it.

What Are The Benefits of Okra Soup?

Okra soup is not only a delicious soup but also an epitome of wholesomeness in terms of health.

It contains a good amount of dietary fibers, proteins, magnesium, folate, polyphenols, vitamin A, vitamin Bs, vitamin C, and vitamin K, which contribute to the overall functions of the body system.

The benefits of these nutrients are:

  • Immune System Function – Vitamin C in the okra plant helps to boost your immune system. This protects your body from bacteria, fungi, and viruses that can compromise your health.
  • Blood And Bone Function – Protein and Vitamin K in the okra plant protect everything about your blood and bones. It improves blood clotting, prevents excessive bleeding, improves bone strength and structure, and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
  • Brain Function – Polyphenols, vitamin Bs, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, and folate in the okra plant work for the better development of the brain. They help to reduce the mental signs of aging – such as delusions, dementia, anxiety, and so on.
  • Weight Management – Okra is also known for low calories, which can help you in your weight loss journey.
eba and okro soup

Okra Soup vs. Ogbono Soup (Draw Soup) vs. Ewedu Soup

A very common question people ask about some Nigerian soups is the difference between ogbono soup and okro soup.

Both soups are very popular in Nigeria, and they do have some similarities. Both soups can be made with a palm oil base, and both often contain leafy greens like spinach or pumpkin leaves.

However, there are also some key differences between the two soups.

Ogbono soup is typically thicker than okro soup, due to the addition of ground ogbono seeds. Ogbono soup is also usually darker in color than okro soup.

Okro soup, on the other hand, gets its thickness from adding grated okra. And while okro soup can be green or dark in color, it is usually lighter than ogbono soup.

how to make ogbono soup
Ogbono soup
ewedu and gbegiri
Ewedu soup
recipe for okra soup nigerian
Okro (okra) soup

Finally, while both soups can be served with a variety of protein options, ogbono soup is more commonly served with fish or beef, while okro soup is more commonly served with smoked fish or smoked turkey.

However, ewedu soup is a Yoruba dish made with ewedu leaves. The leaves are cooked until they are soft and then pureed until a smooth, slimy texture forms.

Ewedu soup is the thinnest of the three and has a slightly bitter flavor.

All three soups are delicious, but each one has its own distinctive taste. So, if you’re looking for something new, why not try all three?

Okra Soup Ingredients

  • Fresh Okra Fresh okra is the key ingredient of the soup. The nutritious pod gives the soup its thick, slimy texture and grassy taste.
  • Palm OilRed palm oil is used to make the delicious sauce of okra soup. It gives the soup the African taste many people relish.
  • Scotch Bonnet PeppersScotch bonnet pepper is a highly nutritious pepper that serves as a base for your okra soup. The ground pepper is added alongside red bell pepper and cayenne to form the base of okra soup.
  • Red Bell PepperRed bell peppers level up the spiciness of your okra soup. It is usually blended with the other peppers and cooked till it is dry for a base. And it adds color to the soup too.
  • Cayenne Peppers – Also known as chili pepper or hot pepper is added to okra soup to improve the general taste of the spice. It is blended with the other pepper to form the dry base of okra soup.
okra soup ingredients
  • Assorted MeatA mix of meat serves as the protein of your okra soup. There’s something about mixing a variety of meat in a dish that gives this soup a more satisfying taste. We used tripe for this recipe but you can add beef, smoked turkey, or your meat of choice to the mix.
  • Smoked Fish – The taste of okra soup is never complete without smoked fish. The smokey flavor  gives your soup a delicious taste that is one of the points of satisfaction you get from eating okra soup.
  • Locust BeansLocust beans, also known as Iru in Yoruba, is one of those African spices that make your soup smell and taste incredibly good. Although optional, some people will not dare cooking eba and okra soup without locust beans.
  • Salt Add salt to taste.
  • Seasoning CubeAdd seasoning cube to taste.
  • Crayfish PowderCrayfish powder adds its unique seafood taste to your okra soup.
  • OnionMost people believe that onions should not be added to your okra soup because it reduces the sliminess of the soup. However, onions in okra soup will improve the taste and aroma of your soup, and you won’t lose the viciousness if little is added.
  • Spinach This leafy vegetable adds a more vegetative taste to your okra soup. Spinach is optional but it’s a great way to add more greens to your diet.
  • PotashAdding potash to okra soup is optional. When it is added, it increases the viscous consistency of the soup.

Tools Needed To Prepare Nigerian Okra Soup

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Okro Soup

Spinach

If you don’t have immediate access to spinach, you can replace it with other green vegetables like pumpkin leaves, fluted pumpkin (ugu vegetable), bitter leaf, kale leaf, uzazi leaf, and so on.

These vegetables give the okra soup their distinctive vegetative taste, which might be sweet or bitter.

And if you’re not in the mood for greens, you can totally skip adding this veggie.

Palm Oil

You can replace palm oil with olive oil if you are unable to get palm oil or you want something healthier.

This might change the taste of okra soup slightly, but it’s all good! It is still as delicious as using palm oil.

Seasoning Cube

Seasoning cubes can be replaced with stock cubes. The difference is that stock cubes are made of protein extracts.

Like meat stock, fish stock, and chicken stock, while seasoning cubes are made of flavor enhancers, salt, spices, and herbs.

Smoked Fish

You can also use stockfish or dry fish instead of smoked fish. Stock fish has a stronger flavor than smoked fish and will enhance the taste and smell of your okra soup more. Just be sure to turn on the vents and keep your windows open.🤷🏾‍♀️

okra soup recipe nigerian Ingredients 1

How To Make Nigerian Okra Soup (Step-By-Step)

Ingredients

Spices

Instructions

STEP 1: Wash the tripe (or meat of choice) and place it into a pot or pressure cooker. Season with salt, pepper, and bouillon powder/seasoning cubes. Cook until tender and set aside.

STEP 2: In a blender, blend scotch boner and bell peppers into a paste. Set aside.

STEP 3: Blend Red bell peppers, scotch bonnet,1/2 onion, and cayenne peppers and transfer to an empty pot to boil for 15 minutes (or till dry).

STEP 4: Add palm oil to a cooking pot on medium heat. Add locust beans (iru) and fry. About 3-5 minutes.

Step 4 - how to make okra soup
Step 4b - how to cook okro soup with smoked fish

STEP 5: Next, add the pepper mixture and potash to the pot of iru and palm oil. Cook until most of the water has evaporated. The sauce should look darker red.

Step 5 - okro soup ingredients

STEP 6: Add your pre-cooked tripe (or meat of choice).

Step 6 - how to prepare okro soup

STEP 7: Add the broth from the tripe. Cook for about 10 minutes.

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STEP 8: Add the salt and seasoning powder. Cook for about 1 minute.

Step 8 - nigerian okro soup recipe

STEP 9: Now add your grated/chopped okra. Let it cook on medium heat (do not cover the pot).

Step 9 - okra soup nigerian recipe
Step 9b - how to cook okra soup

STEP 10: Finally, add your chopped spinach. Cook for 5 minutes.

Step 10 - okra soup nigeria

STEP 11: Adjust seasoning and serve hot with your choice of swallow like eba, pounded yam, semovita, or amala.

What to Serve With This Nigerian Okra Soup Recipe

Nigerian okro soup is typically eaten with swallow food. So what’s a swallow? Nigerian Swallows refer to food balls that are entirely swallowed without chewing.

They’re made from starchy ingredients cooked and then rolled into balls, typically served with stews or soup and eaten by dipping them in and swallowing. Here are a few amazing options:

  • Eba
  • Amala
  • Semovita
  • Pounded yam or poundo yam
  • Fufu
  • Starch
yellow nigerian eba
Yellow eba

Tips About Making Okra Soup

  • You can determine the texture of your Nigerian okra soup. If you want a very viscous consistency, mince the okra pods into very small sizes to get a finer texture. And, if you don’t fancy the sliminess, you can chop the pods in big sizes to get a coarser texture.
  • Boil the meat with lots of seasoning. This will enable you to use the meat water(broth) to continue the cooking of the soup instead of having to add seasoning over again when cooking the real soup.
  • Make sure to keep the cooker on medium heat as okra soup does not need a lot of heat that can burn off its essential nutrients. Also, remember that this soup only takes a little cooking time. Therefore, after adding the green vegetables at the last stage, you only have to wait for 4-5 minutes before it is cooked.
  • If you are using frozen spinach, you should thaw it to remove excess water from it. Thawing is done by microwaving the chopped vegetables for a few minutes, usually 1-2 minutes.
how to cook nigerian okra soup

How To Store Okra Soup

You can store your okra soup in a fridge or freezer for 2-3 days.

When you are ready to eat it again, warm it up in a microwave or stove for a few minutes and enjoy it with your swallow food, like always.

Is Okra Soup Good For Pregnant Women?

Yes, okra soup is very healthy for pregnant women if it does not contain potash. You can easily skip adding potash to your okra soup if you are pregnant; it is not a compulsory ingredient in the recipe.

Is Okra Soup Fattening?

No, okra soup is not fattening because the okra plant does not contain fat at all. However, the palm oil used in the recipe contains fat, but only a little amount is required to prepare okra soup.

how to cook nigerian okro soup

Is Gumbo A Form of African Okra Soup?

Yes, Gumbo is a form of okra soup. It is an American meal that most likely originated from enslaved people who were brought from Africa.

One of the differences between American okra soup and African okra soup is the number of okra vegetables used.

Gumbo only requires a small amount of okra plant, while African okra soup requires more.

FAQ About Okra Soup

Can You Put Okra In Vegetable Soup?

Yes, many Nigerians, especially the Igbo tribe, add okra to their spinach soup. This is regarding the flexibility of this soup; it can go with many other soups, and you will still be able to enjoy it with your eba whenever you do so.

Does Okra Thicken Soup?

Yes, okra can be used as a thickener for soups. You have to dice the okra vegetables in water and let them simmer on low heat before adding them to the soup you want to thicken.

Is Okra Soup Spicy?

Step 9b - how to cook okra soup

Yes, the mixed okra soup is spicy. It is usually made of different kinds of pepper, which makes it a spicy, delicious soup.
However, there is also plain okra soup that is not spicy unless you add spicy tomato stew with okra soup.

Can You Eat Okra Soup On Keto Diet?

Yes, okra soup can help you with your low-carb diet! Okra vegetables contain a very small amount of carbohydrates and have more protein, fibers, and other favorable nutrients you need in a healthy diet.

How to Make Nigerian Okra Soup

Nigerian Okra Soup

Yield: 1 pot
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

If you're looking for a delicious and hearty soup recipe, look no further than this Nigerian okra soup. It's packed with flavor and will leave you feeling satisfied. Trust me, this dish is a culinary delight worth giving a try!

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 5 cups chopped/grated okra
  • 3 Red bell peppers
  • 2 Scotch bonnets
  • 2 cayenne peppers
  • 1 lb meat of choice tripe
  • ½ lb smoked fish
  • 1/2 cup palm oil
  • 2 tbsp iru (locust beans)
  • 1 cup spinach (optional)

Spices

  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 2 seasoning cubes
  • Potash (kaun) (Optional)
  • stock cubes
  • crayfish powder (optional)

Instructions

  1. Wash tripe (or meat of choice) and place it into a pot or pressure cooker. Season with salt, pepper, and bouillon powder/seasoning cubes. Cook until tender and set aside.
  2. In a blender, blend scotch boner and bell peppers into a paste. Set aside.
  3. Blend Red bell peppers, scotch bonnet,1/2 onion and cayenne peppers and transfer to an empty pot to boil for 15 minutes( or till dry).
  4. Add palm oil to a cooking pot on medium heat. Add locust beans (iru) and fry. About 3-5 minutes.
  5. Next, add the pepper mixture and potash to the pot of iru and palm oil. Cook until most of the water has evaporated. The sauce should look darker red.
  6. Add your pre-cooked tripe (or meat of choice).
  7. Add the broth from the tripe. Cook for about 10 minutes.
  8. Add the salt and seasoning powder. Cook for about 1 minute.
  9. Now add your grated/chopped okra. Let it cook on medium heat (do not cover the pot).
  10. Finally, add your chopped spinach. Cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with your choice of swallow like eba, pounded yam, semovita, or amala.

Notes

  • If you want a very viscous consistency, mince the okra pods into very small sizes to get a finer texture.
  • And, if you don't like the sliminess of okro, you can chop the pods in big sizes to get a coarser texture.
  • Make sure to keep the cooker on medium heat as okra soup does not need a lot of heat that can burn off its essential nutrients.
  • If you are using frozen spinach, you should thaw it and remove excess water.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 712Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 182mgSodium: 1589mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 8gSugar: 12gProtein: 59g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for the most accurate results.

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Conclusion

Preparing Nigerian okra soup is easy and doesn’t take much time. Within 30-40 minutes, you should have been done with cooking and already devouring it with your hot eba.

It is highly nutritious and should be your go-to on those afternoons when you crave to enjoy something extra healthy… Bon appetit!

african okra soup

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