This post may contain affiliate links which means I will get a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure for details.

Draw soup, more commonly known as Ogbono soup, is a delicious dish native to Nigeria. The soup is made with spinach and a nutty paste made from ground Ogbono seeds.

Draw soup has a close resemblance to okra soup and pairs amazingly well with fufu, eba, or pounded yam! Ogbono Soup is one of the most unique soups you will ever taste.

how to make ogbono soup

It is known that Nigerian soups are very delicious and extremely healthy. Ogbono soup is especially one of them.

Draw soup, more commonly known as Ogbono soup, is a delicious dish native to Nigeria. The soup is made with spinach and a nutty paste made from ground Ogbono seeds.

Draw soup has a close resemblance to okra soup and pairs amazingly well with fufu, eba, or pounded yam.

It is a warm, silky, and highly flavorful soup that is quite easy to prepare. When cooked right, its fragrance fills up the room with yummy goodness.

What Is Ogbono?

Ogbono is the seed of a wild mango plant called dika or African Mango seeds (Irvingia gabonensis).

Bush mango is a species of an African tree that is in high demand because of its nutritional and medicinal values.

It is called different names like Ugiri or Ofe ogbono by the Igbos, apon by the Yorubas, and biri or goronor by the Hausas.

ogbono ingredients - ogbono seed

Ogbono when cooked with vegetables, spices, and any fish or meat makes the famous Nigerian ogbono soup.

The ground ogbono seeds are used as a thickener for the vegetable and meat broth and give draw soup its characteristic viscous texture.

This bush mango fruit is a rich source of potassium, iron, water, energy, protein, carbohydrate, ascorbic acid, sodium, amino acids, dietary fiber, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

What Is Ogbono Soup?

Ogbono soup is a popular Nigerian dish made with dry, ground ogbono seeds. It has a unique, dense, viscous, and sticky texture like cooked okra.

This popular soup is a hearty dish loaded with lots of meats and fish in a very light, delicious broth. It is known for its distinct flavor and taste.

ogbono soup and eba

What Does Ogbono Soup Taste Like?

The taste of Ogbono soup depends on many factors including environmental elements, the preparation process, and storage.

During preparation, ogbono soup tastes bitter if not well cooked. Immediately after cooking, draw soup is highly aromatic and lends a powerful umami flavor to cooking. It is slimy and very similar to okra soup.

After Storage, when ogbono soup is stored for too long, it usually tastes like soap.🤨

ogbono soup taste

Why Is Ogbono Soup Slimy?

Ogbono soup is slimy because it’s made with wild mango seed which turns slimy/viscous when it comes into contact with liquid.

Just like okro soup, ogbono’s best feature is its sliminess. This slimy texture is what thickens the soup.

Health Benefits Of Ogbono Soup

  • Research has found wild mango seed, which is the key ingredient in cooking ogbono soup, to be very beneficial in lowering cholesterol, and blood sugar, and aiding with obesity.
  • In research by Ngondi et al, ogbono seeds have shown some weight loss properties. It causes a decrease in total cholesterol, suppresses hunger, and works well with people who want to minimize their food intake.
  • Ogbono soup is a rich source of fiber that helps improve bowel movement, thereby preventing constipation.
  • Ogbono soup contains calcium, which helps to build and maintain strong bones.
  • It is also packed with protein, which helps build up cells and repairs worn-out tissues.
  • It stimulates milk production for breastfeeding mothers.
  • Ogbono soup is great for pregnant women. It contains nutrients for the fetus’s growth and development.
  • Draw soup regulates blood pressure.

Ogbono Soup Ingredients

Tools Need To Prepare Ogbono Soup

ogbono soup and eba

Draw Soup Ingredient Additions & Substitutions

Spinach

Bitter leaves, pumpkin leaves, uziza leaves, jute leaves, kale leaves, collard greens, or any leafy vegetable of choice are great alternatives for spinach leaves.

Pepper

Red pepper flakes, dried cayenne pepper, or ground pepper can be used in place of blended habanero or scotch bonnet peppers.

Ogbono

Okro can be used in place of ogbono but the final taste would be quite different.

Meat/Protein

Assorted goat meat, chicken, or any other type of meat or fresh or dry fish of choice can be used in place of beef.

The best part of ogbono soup and most African soups is the varieties of meat and fish added to it.

Ground crayfish can also be added to ogbono soup to give this delicious soup a boost in flavor.

Vegetarians can replace meat with tofu, tempeh, or shitake mushrooms and crayfish with half the amount of kelp powder.

This, however, might not give you the perfect Ogbono soup taste, but it is a suitable alternative.

Palm Oil

Although palm oil is the native ingredient for this soup, if it’s not available, peanut oil or vegetable oil is a great substitute.

How to Cook Ogbono Soup

Ingredients

ingredients for ogbono soup

Instructions

STEP 1: Pre-cook all the meat in a saucepan with salt, pepper, and bouillon cubes until tender. This should take about 60 minutes depending on your choice of meat.

Stockfish can be soaked in warm water a few hours ahead of time. Cowskin, tripe, and oxtail can be cooked in a pressure cooker to get them softer a lot faster. Save some of the meat broth (stock) to use later.

STEP 2: In a medium-size saucepan, add water (or meat broth) and chopped pepper.

STEP 3: Next, add your ground ogbono seeds and place on medium heat. Stir frequently to break any lumps and to prevent burning.

how to cook ogbono soup

STEP 4: Once the mixture starts to bubble turn down the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. You can add some water or broth if the soup starts getting too viscous.

ogbono soup preparation

STEP 5: Add meat, stock fish, seasoning cubes, and crayfish if using. Adjust ogbono soup thickness with water (or broth) and salt to desired taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

apon soup
ogbono soup recipe

STEP 6: Add chopped spinach (or choice of greens) and let simmer on low heat for 2 minutes. Adjust salt. Serve hot with eba or your choice of fufu (aka swallow).

ogbono stew

What to Serve With Ogbono Soup?

Ogbono soup is best enjoyed with swallow foods like:

  • Cassava fufu
  • Eba
  • Amala
  • Pounded yam
nigerian eba

Vegans/ People who are on a low carb dieting can eat ogbono with swallows like:

  • Cauliflower fufu
  • Eggplant amala
  • Cabbage Fufu

What Causes Ogbono Soup Not to Draw?

  1. Too much water: When too much water is added to a smaller quantity of Ogbono, it makes the soup watery. Adding too much water to the ogbono will prevent it from drawing because the ogbono is not enough for the liquid in the pot.
  2. Packed ground ogbono seeds: The moment ogbono seeds are grounded, they start losing their drawing potency. If kept for too long, it stops drawing. The drier the ogbono seeds are before grinding, the longer it will take for them to lose their drawing potency.
  3. Wrong Seeds: There is another seed that looks so much like the ogbono seeds. To distinguish between the two, carry out a ‘drawing test’. Break the seed and rub the broken sides together. If it makes a sap sound that draws, it’s the real deal. If not, it’s the look alike.
  4. Fried in palm oil: Ground Ogbono should be dissolved in palm oil, not fried. No matter how authentic the ogbono is, it loses its tendency to draw when fried. The more you fry, the more its drawing potency is lost.
  5. Old and Dusty Ogbono seeds: Ogbono seeds that were harvested and stored in a dusty place will not draw. The dust prevents it from drawing. When a dusty ogbono is noticed, brush off the dust first before grinding.
eba and ogbono soup

Tips About This Ogbono Soup Recipe

  • Ogbono soup gets thicker the longer it stays. If it’s not served immediately, add more meat stock or a bit of water to the soup and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes before serving to reduce its thickness.
  • Stir in the Ugwu leaves (spinach) in the final stage of cooking so you don’t overcook it.
  • Do not use over-seasoned stock or too much seasoning if you want to get a well-rounded flavor.
  • Do NOT cover the pot when cooking ogbono soup or the soup will lose its viscosity.
  • Ogbono soup can be made with okra.
  • Because of its viscosity, ogbono soup tends to burn easily. Cook on low heat or medium heat while stirring at intervals to prevent this.
  • To prevent a bland taste when cooking this soup, make sure it cooks for over 20 minutes on low heat to medium heat. This allows ingredients to seep into the soup, giving it a well-rounded flavor.
ogbono soup recipe

How to Store Ogbono and Ogbono Soup?

Uncooked Ogbono Seed

Ogbono is best stored as seeds and not grounded. If you buy ground ogbono, use as soon as possible or store it in the freezer.

Remember to bring to room temperature before cooking with it. If stored for too long, your soup might end up tasting like soap when cooked.

To ensure ogbono seeds are well preserved:

  • Store away from water and moisture.
  • Put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge or freezer.
  • If freshly blended, put it in Ziploc or freezer bags and store it in the fridge. Make sure all the air is pushed out of the bag before sealing.

Ogbono Soup

Leftover ogbono soup can be stored in the fridge or freezer. It will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Ogbono soup can also be reheated if it’s a two-time serve to be consumed the next day. Simply place over low heat until it comes to a boil.

Then let it simmer for 5 minutes or until the meat heats through.

ogbono soup

FAQ About Ogbono Soup

Is ogbono soup fattening?

Ogbono soup is not fattening. As stated above, it is great for weight loss. Ogbono soup contains leptin, a chemical substance that makes one easily satisfied.

Is ogbono soup healthy?

Not only is ogbono soup healthy, it is also quite nutritious. Its seeds are packed with potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, protein, amino acids, and fiber. With leafy greens added, it becomes a healthy power-house soup. Check the health benefits of the soup above.

What is ogbono soup called in English?

Ogbono soup is called draw soup in English. It is a pidgin name given to it because of its slimy texture (source).

Is ogbono soup good for fertility?

Ogbono soup is fantastic for improving fertility. It boosts male libido and increases blood flow to their genitals. It also boost female libido and ovulation, thereby increasing their chances of getting pregnant.

Is ogbono soup spicy?

Spice in ogbono is usually dependent on personal preferences. Blended fresh pepper or pepper flakes can be added for some real heat or skipped if one does not like spice.

how to make ogbono soup

Ogbono Soup (Draw Soup)

Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Draw soup, more commonly known as Ogbono soup, is a delicious dish native to Nigeria. The soup is made with spinach and a nutty paste made from ground Ogbono seeds. Draw soup has a close resemblance to okra soup and pairs amazingly well with fufu, eba, or pounded yam! Ogbono Soup is one of the most unique soups you will ever taste.

Instructions

  1. Pre-cook all the meat in a saucepan with salt, pepper, and bouillon cubes until tender. This should take about 60 minutes depending on your choice of meat. Stockfish can be soaked in warm water a few hours ahead of time. Cowskin, tripe, and oxtail can be cooked in a pressure cooker to get them softer a lot faster. Save some of the meat broth (stock) to use later.
  2. In a medium-size saucepan, add water (or meat broth) and chopped pepper.
  3. Next, add your ground ogbono seeds and place on medium heat. Stir frequently to break any lumps and to prevent burning.
  4. Once the mixture starts to bubble turn down the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes. You can add some water or broth if the soup starts getting too viscous.
  5. Add meat, stock fish, seasoning cubes, and crayfish if using. Adjust ogbono soup thickness with water (or broth) and salt to desired taste. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  6. Add chopped spinach (or choice of greens) and let simmer on low heat for 2 minutes. Serve hot with eba or your choice of fufu (aka swallow).

Notes

  • You can mix the ogbono in palm oil to break any lumps before putting it in a saucepan.
  • Some people fry their ground ogbono in palm oil to reduce the viscosity.
  • You can also use fresh fish and shrimp with this recipe. My mom prefers fresh fish for this recipe as that’s what she grew up eating with ogbono. Other meat substitutes or additions are oxtails for beef and smoked fish for stockfish.
  • If you don’t have spinach on hand, you can use kale, bitter leaf, or collard greens.
  • Although this recipe calls for “sparing” use of green veggies, you can add as much leafy vegetables as you want if you’re trying to increase your vegetable consumption.
  • The local name for cowskin is kpomo.
  • Store your whole or ground ogbono in an airtight container in a cool dry place or in the freezer.
  • If you don’t have an African market close to you, Etsy and Amazon are good places to look. I prefer to buy the ground version as it saves me time in cooking. The seeds can be blended in a dry blender.
  • Some other popular names for ground ogbono seeds are dika, apon, etima, agbono, and odika.
  • Ogbono soup tends to get thicker when refrigerated. It’s totally ok to add some water when reheating to reduce the viscosity.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 416Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 291mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 42g

* 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.

Love this recipe? Save for later!

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Conclusion

It is common to see Ogbono soup cooked without vegetables. The beauty of this soup is that it can be made to suit individual preferences.

Either with assorted meat or whatever choice of meat or fish, spice or no spice, spinach or kale, whatever choice you make, this is an easy recipe to try… Enjoy.

draw soup

In conclusion, I would say that Ogbono soup is a very versatile dish. You can add almost any green vegetable you want to give it more flavor and nutrients.

But remember to cook it properly so that the soup doesn’t turn out bitter or lose its viscosity.

I hope you found this recipe post about how to make Ogbono soup helpful. For more, check out this list of African dishes worth trying. Here are a few suggestions:

2 Comments

  1. Hi Louisa,
    thanks for all the useful information you shared here.
    I’ve been wondering what to do when the ogbono is bitter and tastes like soap.
    is it still edible?
    I haven’t seen anyone answer this question online.
    thanks a lot.

    Best regards

    1. Hi Qween, when ogbono tastes like soap, it means that it was stored too long and has gone bad (spoilt). Try storing ogbono in the freezer if you will not be using it right away. Buy ogbono pods instead of premilled ogbono and grind it yourself, if possible as it stores longer.

      When ogbono tastes bitter, it could be that:
      1. Too much bitter leaf was added.
      2. The leaves were not washed long enough. I wash my bitter leaves several times until the green water becomes clear.
      3. The ogbono was not cooked long enough (i.e. it wasn’t prepared properly).
      4. The ogbono has gone bad.

      In your case, I think the ogbono has gone bad. I hope this helps.

      xo ~ Louisa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *