KFB Foodie Talk: How to make Bitter Leaf Soup (Ofe Onugbu)

our newbies, the KFB foodie talk column – handled by Dobby of Dobbysignature – is basically for ladies and
‘guys’ that are interested in learning how to cook better ;).



in the day, i used to have a phobia for preparing this soup. This was
because the very first time i cooked it, i ended up throwing the whole
pot of soup away due to the unbearable bitter taste – the whole fam went
to bed hungry that day and i didn’t hear the last of it for the rest of
the week.
 The next time i made it, i unknowingly released a stink bomb
throughout the whole house due to adding excess ogiri. This was a milder
blunder compared to the first and the smell left within a day after
emptying about two cans of air freshener. I guess my experiences made me
a pro in the preparation and right now, i can proudly say i’m totally
in love with onugbu soup. 
Ofe Onugbu
“bitter leaf soup” is a tasty Nigerian soup native to the igbos from the
eastern part of Nigeria. The name ‘bitter leaf soup’ is derived from
the fact that the leaf used in preparation Vernonia Amygdalina is bitter until washed thoroughly. Preparation is quite easy as i’m about to show you.

How to make Ofe Onugbu (Bitter leaf soup)
Prep Time:  
15 mins
Total Time: Over an hour
Serves:        4-6 people

•3 handfuls Bitter leaf
• 600g Red Beef
• 500g Assorted meat: Tripe, Ponmo – Optional
• 1 Cup Periwinkles (Isam) – Optional
• Stock fish/ Dry Fish
• 1 Red scotch bonnet pepper – diced
• 2 cooking spoon Palm oil
• 1 cooking spoon Crayfish
•2 Seasoning cubes
•Salt to taste
Step 1: The
major misconception about this soup is that it’s bitter. In actual
fact, it’s not meant to be bitter if prepared well. The first thing to
do is to wash the bitter leaf by hand thoroughly to remove the bitter
taste. A shortcut to this would be to place it in a pot and boil for
10mins. While doing this, make sure the pot is left uncovered otherwise
it’d bubble out. Once you’re done boiling, strain with a sieve and rinse
severally with cold water. Squeeze off excess water – Set Aside. 
Step 2: Place
the Washed beef, assorted meat, Periwinkles (Isam), Stock fish/ Dry
Fish, pepper in a medium sized pot, add some salt and boil with little
water for 15 mins. Pour some more water just enough to cover the content
of the pot. 

Step 3:
Check for salt and add more if necessary, add the crushed seasoning and
ogiri into the pot and mix. Leave to boil for 5mins till the liquid in
the pot starts to bubble. 
Step 4: Gently
add the Cocoyam paste, leave to dissolve in the bubbling liquid.
Remember, the cocoyam being used is the non-edible type that draws and
not the edible type that can be boiled and eaten like yam. As it boils,
it’d begin to thicken. Add the palm oil and Crayfish – Leave to thicken
Step 5:
By now you should notice a considerable reduction in the volume of
liquid in the pot. Gently add the washed bitterleaf and mix to
incorporate. Leave to boil further for 10mins more before turning off
the burner. Serve hot with your favorite swallow




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