Ogbono soup is a delicious Nigerian concoction soup that is extremely simple to make. It’s a thick and hearty soup made with Ogbono seeds (wild mango seeds) that are loaded with meats and fish and simmered in a light and flavorful broth.
What Is Ogbono Soup
When cooked, Ogbono has a mucilaginous (slimy) texture similar to cooked okra and jute leaves (Ewedu). In reality, this is a stew, not a soup, but we call it soup anyway!
The beauty of making Ogbono soup is that you can customize it completely. You can substitute fish for the meat and add or remove the extras, such as the periwinkles.
Each tribe has its own take on this dish, but this is primarily the Yoruba version, or, to put it another way, the version I grew up with. I should mention that in Yoruba-speaking Nigeria, this soup is commonly referred to as Obe apon.
Ingredients Required for Ogbono Soup
- Assorted Meat and Fish: Beef, Shaki (cow tripe), Dry Fish, Stockfish
- 2 handfuls Ogbono Seeds
- 3 cooking spoons of red palm oil
- Vegetable: Frozen Spinach (you can also use Pumpkin leaves or even Bitterleaf)
- 2 tablespoons ground crayfish
- Pepper and Salt (To taste)
- 1 onion
- 2 cubes of Bigmamaspices maggi
Before Preparing Ogbono Soup, do the following
- Using a dry mill, grind the Ogbono.
- When the frozen spinach is not completely defrosted, cut it. It is more convenient that way. When fully defrosted, squeeze out any excess water.
- Cook the meat mixture with the stock cubes and onion. If you’re using Shaki, start that first, then add the beef when it’s almost done.
- Crayfish and pepper should be ground.
- Set aside some boiling water.
Ogbono Soup Cooking Instructions
Fill a clean, dry stainless steel or aluminum pot halfway with palm oil. Melt the oil over low heat in a saucepan. Remember to only melt the oil, not heat it up.
Turn off the heat and stir in the ground Ogbono.
Dissolve the Ogbono in the oil with a cooking spoon.
When all of the Ogbono powder has been thoroughly combined with the oil, add the meat/fish stock (water from cooking the assorted meat and fish). Reduce the heat in your cooker to low and begin stirring. You will notice the Ogbono thickening and drawing.
Continue to stir until the Ogbono has completely absorbed the meat stock.
Stir in a small amount of hot water until the Ogbono has absorbed all of it.
Repeat this process until you achieve the consistency shown in the video below.
Cover the pot and begin cooking while the heat is set to low. Stir every 2-3 minutes for 20 minutes after it begins to simmer.
So you’ll open the pot every 3 minutes or so, stir every well, scrape the Ogbono that sticks to the bottom of the pot, cover the pot, and cook for another 3 minutes.
After 20 minutes, the Ogbono should be well cooked and you should be able to detect its pleasant flavour and aroma.
Toss in the assorted meats and fish, ground crayfish, and season with salt and pepper to taste. The cooking process may have thickened the Ogbono. If so, add a little more water and thoroughly stir.
Cook, covered, until the contents of the pot are thoroughly heated.
Turn off the heat and serve your Ogbono Soup without vegetables, but if you like, add a vegetable.
When the pot’s contents have heated through, add the vegetable (frozen Spinach used in the video).
Stir thoroughly, then cover and remove from the heat. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving with any Fufu recipe.
- Because Ogbono soup thickens as it sits, if you are not serving it right away, you can add a little more extra stock or water.
- For extra heat, I added red pepper flakes. If you don’t like the heat, you can substitute cayenne pepper or minced habanero.
- Ideally, Ugwu leaves are stirred in at the end of the cooking process, but you can use any other leafy greens, but I strongly recommend going with a strong leafy green alternative like Kale or Collard greens, especially if the stew will last more than a day. If you prefer, you can substitute Okra for leafy green.
- Also, because palm oil is an essential component of this dish, you can vary the amount you use. It all comes down to personal preference.
- As much as we want this soup to be delicious. To achieve a well-rounded flavour, avoid using an overseasoned stock. When boiling your meat for the stock, don’t use too much seasoning or the resulting stock will change the taste of your soup – I like to use salt, stock cubes, and a lot of onions for my base stock whenever I make Ogbono soup.