Ofe Ugba Recipe: A Delicious Taste of Nigerian Cuisine


Nigerian cuisine is known for its rich flavors and diverse range of dishes. One such delicacy that stands out is Ofe Ugba, a traditional Igbo soup made with shredded oil bean seeds and an assortment of ingredients. 

This article will explore the origins of Ofe Ugba, and the key ingredients used in its preparation, and provide a detailed step-by-step recipe to help you recreate this delectable dish in your own kitchen. 

Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we delve into the world of Ofe Ugba and discover the secrets behind its irresistible taste.

Origins and Cultural Significance


Ofe Ugba, also known as “Oil Bean Soup,” is a popular traditional dish among the Igbo people of Nigeria. 

The word “Ofe” means soup in the Igbo language, while “Ugba” refers to the oil bean seeds used in this recipe. 

The oil bean tree, scientifically known as Pentaclethra macrophylla, is native to West Africa, and its seeds have been a staple ingredient in Nigerian cuisine for centuries.

Historically, Ofe Ugba holds a special place in Igbo culture as it is often prepared for special occasions and festive celebrations. 

It is a dish that brings people together, symbolizing unity and communal dining. The process of making Ofe Ugba is seen as an art form, with each step carefully executed to create a harmonious blend of flavors.

Essential Ingredients


To make a flavorful Ofe Ugba, several key ingredients are required. Here is a list of the essential components:

1. Ugba (Oil Bean Seeds): The star ingredient of this dish, Ugba, is derived from the oil bean tree. The seeds are harvested, boiled, and then shredded to be used in the soup.

2. Stockfish: Dried cod or stockfish adds a distinctive flavor and texture to Ofe Ugba. It is soaked in water until soft, then washed thoroughly before use.

3. Palm Oil: Palm oil is a common cooking oil in Nigerian cuisine. It gives Ofe Ugba its vibrant red color and imparts a unique taste.

4. Fresh Fish: Various types of fresh fish such as catfish or tilapia are used to enhance the flavors of the soup. These fish are cleaned, deboned, and cut into smaller pieces.

5. Meat: Typically, goat meat or assorted offal like tripe and cow foot are used to add richness to Ofe Ugba.

6. Locust Beans (Iru): Locust beans are fermented seeds that contribute to the soup’s distinctive aroma and taste.

7. Seasonings: Various seasonings like onions, garlic, ginger, crayfish, and Nigerian spices such as uziza or utazi leaves are used to enhance the flavors of Ofe Ugba.

8. Bigmama Beef Flavour: This adds an irresistible beefy taste and aroma to the soup.

Preparation and Cooking Instructions


Now let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making Ofe Ugba:

Step 1: Soak the stockfish in water for several hours or overnight to soften it. Rinse thoroughly to remove any sand or dirt.

Step 2: Parboil the goat meat or offal with onions, garlic, and ginger until tender. Drain and set aside.

Step 3: Heat a generous amount of palm oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté until translucent.

Step 4: Add the parboiled goat meat or offal to the pot and fry for a few minutes to infuse the flavors.

Phase 5: Stir in the shredded Ugba (oil bean seeds) and allow them to cook for a few minutes until they soften.

Step 6: Add the soaked stockfish, fresh fish, and locust beans (iru) to the pot. Stir gently to combine the ingredients.

Step 7: Pour in enough water or stock to cover the ingredients and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.

Stage 8: Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and allow the soup to simmer for about 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.

Step 9: Add the crayfish, uziza or utazi leaves, and any other desired seasonings. Stir well and let the soup simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Step 10: Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning as per your preference.

Step 11: Once the flavors have melded and the soup has reached the desired consistency, remove it from heat.

Serving and Accompaniments

Ofe Ugba is typically served hot with a side of fufu, a staple Nigerian food made from cassava or yam. 

Fufu is a starchy dough-like substance that is rolled into small balls and dipped into the soup. 

Alternatively, you can serve Ofe Ugba with pounded yam, rice, or any other preferred carbohydrate.

Garnish the soup with chopped fresh parsley or green onions to add a pop of color and freshness. The vibrant red hue of the soup, combined with the rich flavors, is sure to whet your appetite.


Ofe Ugba is a delightful Nigerian soup that showcases the richness and diversity of the country’s cuisine. 

With its unique combination of flavors and textures, this dish offers a memorable dining experience. Whether you are seeking to explore Nigerian cuisine or looking to recreate a taste of home, Ofe Ugba is a recipe worth trying. 

Gather the ingredients, follow the step-by-step instructions, and allow yourself to be transported to the world of Igbo flavors. 

Indulge in the culinary artistry of Ofe Ugba, and savor the rich heritage and cultural significance of this delicious dish.

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