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Learn how to cook oha soup or ofe oha and savor the flavors of Igbo cuisine at home. This meaty and healthy dish never disappoints, no matter how you make it!

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Oha Soup

Are you curious about the buzz surrounding Nigerian soups but overwhelmed by the processes and ingredients? Look no further and try this oha soup recipe!

Ofe oha may look like another Nigerian fave, bitterleaf soup, but there’s no bitterness here.

It features healthy oha leaves, and your cravings for succulent meat will surely be satisfied with a bowl of this easy dish.

It’s guaranteed to come out tasty every time, no matter how you make it!

Prepare to discover what makes oha soup special and what substitutions you can make if you’re outside Nigeria and can’t find some of the ingredients.

What Is Oha Soup?

Oha soup, or ofe oha is one of the many tantalizing dishes of Igbo cuisine. This dish is a thick and savory blend of meat, fish, palm oil, uziza leaves, seasonings, and of course, the star ingredient: oha leaf.

Did you know oha leaves are the reason why oha soup is considered special?

Fresh oha leaves are seasonal and hard to find, so consider yourself truly special if someone prepares you a bowl of ofe oha. 😉

You will also notice that ofe oha is unlike any ordinary soup because it’s thick, thanks to cocoyam. If you love soups that eat like a meal, this is it!

What Is Oha Soup

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

A bowl of ofe oha will make you wonder why you didn’t try making Nigerian soups sooner. Here’s why:

  • Easy: This oha soup recipe is easy and all done in one pot! You even have the freedom to make ingredient swaps if needed!
  • Filling: Ofe oha proves that soup can be a meal by itself. Partner your homemade oha soup with fufu or any African swallow, and you’ll be energized the whole day.
  • Healthy: Oha leaves, the star of this dish, are packed with nutrients that do wonders for your overall well-being. For example, they’re a good source of vitamins and antioxidants for an instant immunity boost in every bowl.

What Does Oha Soup Taste Like?

So what does oha soup taste like?

Picture this: A bowl of rich and umami-filled soup that will make any meat lover happy. It’s not your typical watery soup with no satisfying textures.

From the strong flavors of fish and seafood, the meatiness of beef, the vibrant taste of the leaves, and spicy-savory notes from the mix of spices, you’ll love how the ingredients complement each other.

Let’s also not forget the deliciously thick consistency of ofe oha, waiting for the perfect swallow pairing!

Oh, and here’s a tip to keep the leaves in your oha soup vibrant. Do not, I repeat, do not cover the pot immediately once you’re done cooking, as this results in darker leaves that are not Insta-worthy. 

What Does Oha Soup Taste Like

Is Oha Soup Healthy?

Oha soup is more than just a tasty and filling dish. The prized oha leaves are actually nutritious as they’re a good source of fiber, essential vitamins, and antioxidants.

To name some of the health benefits you can get with this traditional soup, it can promote a healthy digestive system, boost immunity, and even potentially aid in cancer prevention.

But that’s not all!

We’re also using uziza leaves in this oha soup recipe.

Besides the flavor boost, did you know they contain a potent anti-inflammatory agent that can help relieve and prevent various medical issues and discomfort?

These are just scratching the surface of the many wellness benefits of oha soup!

What Are The Benefits Of Ofe Oha?

What are the benefits of oha soup you ask? Well, for starters, a bowl of this Nigerian soup is brimming with health benefits, courtesy of oha leaves.

You’ll get the goodness of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants for overall health.

More so, it’s time to explore Nigerian cuisine, which, dare I say, the master of soups.

Even if you’re hesitant to try new flavors and ingredients, rest assured that oha soup will entice you with its complex blend of meaty and savory flavors.

When paired with African swallows, the thick consistency creates the ultimate comforting gastronomic experience.

Don’t miss out on this Nigerian favorite, and treat yourself and your loved ones with a very special soup.

What Are The Benefits Of Ofe Oha

Ingredients For Ofe Oha

  • Oha leaves – The best oha soup uses fresh oha leaves. Just remember to shred them by hand!
  • Uziza leaves – For flavor and nutrient boost in one.
  • Ogiri Igbo – This Igbo soup would be incomplete without this flavoring.
  • Cocoyam – To thicken your ofe oha.
  • Dry fish – The strong flavor of dry fish complements the richness of this soup.
  • Beef – Use assorted beef for textures. You can also include other meats in your oha soup, such as goat meat.
  • Crayfish – Ground crayfish is undoubtedly a must-have seasoning when cooking Nigerian soups.
  • Scotch bonnet peppers – For added kick to the savory dish.
  • Meat stock – You can also swap with water, especially when using more seasonings.
  • Palm oil – Gives the dish its mouthwatering richness and color.
  • Salt – Remember to season your soup as you go.
  • Seasonings – For additional depth of flavor.
  • Chili powder – Because spicy and savory just go so well together!

Tools Needed To Prepare Ofe Oha

Ingredient Additions & Substitutions For Ofe Oha

Cocoyam

Cocoyam is the secret behind the irresistibly thick consistency of ofe oha. But if you can’t make one, you can substitute it with cocoyam flour, ground ofo, or ground achi.

Still can’t find these traditional thickeners? You can also use cornstarch!

Scotch bonnet peppers

Savory soups like oha soup are incomplete without a fiery kick. If you can’t get your hands on Scotch bonnet peppers, swap them with ground Cameroon pepper.

Tripe

The charm of ofe oha is its overall meaty goodness that will surely be liked even by the pickiest eaters. But to add more depth to the flavor and give your soup a satisfying texture, add tripe to the mix!

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 How To Cook Oha Soup

Ingredients:

Tools you need:

Instructions: 

STEP 1: Boil your meat stock, then add the crayfish, chili powder, and Scotch bonnet peppers. 

step 1 oha soup

STEP 2: Add the beef and dry fish, then lower the heat.

step 2 oha soup

STEP 3: Stir in the palm oil.

STEP 4: Mix ogiri igbo with some water and add it to the pot.

step 4 oha soup

STEP 5: Stir in the mashed cocoyam into the soup. Taste and adjust with seasonings and salt as needed. 

step 5 oha soup

STEP 6: Once the oha soup thickens, add and stir in the oha leaves and uziza leaves. Turn off the heat to avoid overcooking them. 

step 6 oha soup

STEP 7: Serve ofe oha with semo, fufu, or any swallow of your choice. Enjoy!

semo for oha soup

What To Serve With Oha Soup

The thick and rich blend of palm oil and broth makes oha soup super satisfying and crave-worthy. But for the ultimate experience, serve it with swallows.

Enjoy your homemade ofe oha with semovita, eba, amala, pounded yam, or fufu, and realize how eating soup can be taken to the next level.

What To Serve With Oha Soup

But if you haven’t tried a swallow before, you can start with fufu!

Learn what fufu tastes like so you can understand what makes swallows the perfect morsels for Nigerian soups.

Tips About Making Oha Soup

Here are some tips to remember when making oha soup at home:

  • Always shred your oha leaves by hand. Any other method is said to lead to dark leaves that are not as flavorful.
  • If you’re using ground ofo to thicken ofe oha, use some of the hot liquid from the pot to dissolve it before adding it, or the soup will be lumpy.
  • For the best flavors and textures, make sure you don’t overcook the meats and leaves. Some also recommend adding the uziza leaves before the oha leaves.
  • Since we’re already using meat stock, remember to start with small amounts when adding salt and seasonings, as it’s easier to adjust the flavors than salvage an overly salty soup. 😅

How To Store Oha Soup

If you have leftover ofe oha, no worries! Here’s how to store them for enjoyment later:

  • Fridge: Allow your oha soup to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It should last for up to one week in the fridge!
  • Freezer: Freezing your ofe oha is the best way to store it for longer. However, it’s still best enjoyed within a month.
  • Reheating: You can reheat your soup as you would with any vegetable soup. I prefer the stovetop method because you can adjust the taste and consistency as you heat your soup slowly.

Got fresh oha leaves you want to preserve? Wrap them in old newspapers and keep them in a polythene bag!

No need to refrigerate, or the leaves can turn black and lose their flavor.

How To Store Oha Soup

Which Tribe Eat Oha Soup?

The oha soup is one of the many delicious soups eaten by the Igbo people. It’s considered a native dish from South Eastern Nigeria.

Is Oha Soup Bitter?

Nope! Oha soup is not bitter, but before anything else, there’s an essential thing to remember when preparing this dish.

Always use your hands to shred the oha leaves! Rumour has it that using a knife will make them darker and give the ofe oha a bitter taste.

FAQ About Oha Soup

Is oha soup good for pregnant woman?

Yes! Oha soup offers many benefits to pregnant women, including digestive health and immunity.

Is oha soup the same as white soup?

Oha soup is not the same as white soup. Instead, “white soup” is another Nigerian fave called ofe nsala, which got its color because it’s not made with palm oil.

What is oha called in English?

Oha is called African rosewood in English. Next time you’re looking for oha leaves and can’t seem to find any, try searching for African rosewood leaves.

Can oha soup be eaten with rice?

Yup! Nothing is stopping you if you want to eat the rich and thick oha soup with rice. But for an authentic experience, it’s best enjoyed with swallows.

What is the thickener in oha soup?

The secret behind the deliciously thick consistency of ofe oha is cocoyam or cocoyam flour. You can also use ground ofo or ground achi as a soup thickener.

Oha Soup (Ofe Oha)

Oha Soup

Yield: 10
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Learn how to cook oha soup or ofe oha and savor the flavors of Igbo cuisine at home. This meaty and healthy dish never disappoints, no matter how you make it!

Instructions

  1. Boil your meat stock, then add the crayfish, chili powder, and Scotch bonnet peppers.
  2. Add the beef and dry fish, then lower the heat.
  3. Stir in the palm oil.
  4. Mix ogiri igbo with some water and add it to the pot.
  5. Stir in the mashed cocoyam into the soup. Taste and adjust with seasonings and salt as needed.
  6. Once the oha soup thickens, add and stir in the oha leaves and uziza leaves. Turn off the heat to avoid overcooking them.
  7. Serve ofe oha with semo, fufu, or any swallow of your choice. Enjoy!

Notes

  • It’s recommended to shred your oha leaves by hand because using a knife will lead to darker leaves with less flavor.
  • If using ground ofo instead of mashed cocoyam, dissolve it in hot liquid first, or the oha soup will be lumpy. 
  • Avoid overcooking the meats and leaves. Some people also recommend adding the uziza leaves before the oha leaves. 
  • When adding seasonings, start with small quantities because we’re already using meat stock. You can also swap stock with water for your soup!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 66Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 19mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g

* 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

Instead of instant beef soup that is mostly just sodium in a bowl, I suggest making this oha soup instead!

We can thank the Igbos for this traditional soup recipe, which is just a powerhouse of nutrients and flavors in every spoonful.

Making this recipe is surprisingly easy, and you’ll be rewarded with a rich and thick soup that’s best enjoyed with swallows. A perfect mouthful, indeed!

Ofe Oha

Just don’t forget to handle your oha leaves with care. Shred them by hand, or legend has it that you’ll get dark leaves that give the soup a bitter taste.

For more Nigerian soups that nourish the soul, check out these recipes:

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