Ogbono Soup: Easiest Recipe?
You may find the Ogbono Soup recipe detailed on this page easier than the other recipe where the ogbono is dissolved in palm oil before adding other ingredients. This recipe is best for when you want to prepare very light Ogbono Soup that kids and some adults love. I prefer light Ogbono Soup to conc. ones any day. :)
Also check out the recipe of Ogbono Soup cooked with okra.
Your Ogbono Soup does not have the perfect elasticity when done? Check out: Ogbono Soup: Frequently Asked Questions.
Ingredients for Ogbono Soup
- 8 tablespoons ground Ogbono
- Cow Ribs
- Shaki (cow tripe)
- Dry cat fish
- 3 cooking spoons red palm oil
- 2 handfuls crayfish
- 1 flat round ogiri okpei (Iru, Locust bean)
- Habanero pepper (ose oyibo, atarodo)
- 1 onion
- 2 big seasoning cubes
- Ugu (Nigerian pumpkin leaves): alternative spinach
- Salt (to your taste)
For grinding the ogbono seeds, you will need:
Notes on the ingredients
- With most Nigerian recipes, especially Nigerian soups recipes, we go freestyle when it comes to the quantities of ingredients. The quantities of all the ingredients listed above can be adjusted to your taste.
- Feel free to add ponmo (Kpomo) (see video) and stockfish to your own Ogbono Soup. I used ribs because that part of beef is very tasty and makes Ogbono Soup more delicious. The quantities and varieties of meat and fish to add to your Nigerian soups is entirely up to you. The only meat we don't normally use for Nigerian soups is chicken. Goat meat, Beef, Lamb etc go well with Nigerian soups.
- Add palm oil to your liking.
- For vegetables, add the quantity you like. Some people do not even add vegetables to their Ogbono Soup and they love it that way. Watch the video below for more information. If you are in Nigeria, use Ugu (Nigerian Pumpkin leaves), outside Nigeria, use spinach (I prefer frozen spinach to leafy spinach for my Nigerian soups). Some people even add bitter leaves.
- You can use cayenne pepper (fresh or dry) or Scotch bonnet peppers instead of habanero peppers.
Before you cook Ogbono Soup
- Grind the Ogbono with a dry mill.
- Soak the dry cat fish in some cool or lukewarm water. When soft, clean thoroughly and debone.
- If using frozen spinach, cut it when it is not completely defrosted. It is easier that way. Then when completely defrosted, squeeze out the excess water.
- If using Ugu, pick and cut into thin slices.
- Grind the crayfish and ogiri okpei with a spice/coffee grinder.
- Cut the onion into big chunks. I use chunks of onion when I want the taste of onion but not pieces of onion in what I am cooking.
- Grind or pound the pepper.
- Boil some water and set aside, you may need it.
Cooking Directions for Ogbono Soup
- Cook the assorted meat with the seasoning cubes and onion. Remember to start cooking the toughest part of meat first (eg shaki), then add beef when almost done.
- When the meat is done, turn off the heat, remove the chunks of onion then take out the meat from the beef stock.
- Add the ground ogbono, spreading over the meat stock as you add. Then stir very well with a slotted spoon to ensure that they mix with the beef stock without lumps.
- When happy, cover the pot, turn on the heat to very low and start cooking. Yes, you can cover the pot while cooking Ogbono Soup and the elasticity will not be affected. There are a few reasons why your Ogbono Soup does not have the perfect elasticity but covering the pot is not one of those reasons. See below.
- Stir the soup very often as you cook so it does not burn.
- After 15 minutes, add the crayfish and ogiri okpei blend, habanero pepper, deboned dry cat fish, salt and palm oil in no particular order and continue cooking. Remember to stir often.
- After 5 minutes (a total of 20 minutes of cooking), add the remaining ingredients: the boiled meats we took out earlier and leafy vegetables. You can add more salt if necessary. For vegetables, I add, stir, add, stir till I am happy with the ratio of the vegetables to the soup. This is how I add vegetables to almost all Nigerian soups.
You need to cook Ogbono for at least 20 minutes for the delicious taste and flavour to come out. You will know when you have cooked it long enough because you can even smell this delicious aroma when it happens. If you have ever wondered why your Ogbono Soup does not taste as delicious as that one you ate somewhere else, it may well be that you are not cooking yours for long enough.
- Cover the pot and at the first sign of it boiling again, it's done!
Take the soup off the stove immediately and pour into another pot (cold pot) or the container(s) you will use to freeze it. This ensures that the vegetables retain their green colour. Though you have turned off the heat, if you leave the soup in the hot pot, the vegetables will continue to cook and will turn dark and unappetising.
This is even worse if you have a vitro ceramic cooker (hot plate kind of cooker) that still has lots of residual heat long after you have turned off the heat. Pouring the soup into a cold container stops the cooking process.
After pouring the soup into the new container(s), leave them on your kitchen counter to cool down completely before freezing.
If you have any questions about this recipe, click here to ask me.
Frequently Asked Questions about Ogbono Soup
My Ogbono Soup does not draw. Why?
There are 3 main reasons why your Ogbono Soup does not draw.
You bought the wrong seeds. There is another seed that looks so much like Ogbono and is sold as Ogbono seeds in Nigerian markets. First sign that you are buying the wrong seeds is if they are too cheap to be true. To confirm that the seeds are really Ogbono seeds: break the seed and rub the broken sides together, if they make a sap that draws, then you've got the real Ogbono seeds. In Nigeria, every open market seller should let you do this "drawing test", if not, please leave their shop and go somewhere else.
For those living outside Nigeria, I guess you just have to pray that the Ogbono seeds in the pack you buy are the real thing :)
Another reason why your Ogbono Soup does not draw may be because you used packaged ground Ogbono, ground being the keyword here. This is especially the case for those who live outside Nigeria who do not have any choice than to buy the ground packaged Ogbono sold in African shops.
Once you grind Ogbono, it starts losing its potency to draw and with time, it won't draw anymore. The exact time at which it completely loses its potency to draw will depend on: how dry the Ogbono was before the grinding took place and how well it is packaged amongst other things.
The third reason why your Ogbono Soup does not draw is that you fried it before adding the meat/fish stock. The ground Ogbono should only be dissolved in the palm oil NOT fried. The more you fry it, the more it loses its drawing ability till you've got no potency left. This happens even if it is the authentic Ogbono seed.
How can I cook Ogbono Soup so that it does not burn?
First, turn down the heat. Whatever you are cooking, turn down the heat to prevent burning. This is especially the case with Ogbono Soup which is very sticky. Always cook your Ogbono Soup at very low heat. If your cooker's heating ranges from 1 to 9, set the heat to 4.
Secondly, do not add crayfish or any other ingredients when cooking the Ogbono at first. Crayfish especially speeds up the burning. When you grind your Ogbono in Nigerian markets, they will tell you to use crayfish to make sure all the Ogbono comes out of the mill. If you decide to do that, make sure that they put the crayfish and that last bit of Ogbono in a different plastic bag for you and add the crayfish bit when you add the rest of the ingredients.
Also, use stainless steel or aluminium pots in cooking your Ogbono Soup. Non-stick pots are not the best for cooking Ogbono Soup even though it says non-stick lol!
My Ogbono Soup tastes bland in spite of all the ingredients I usually add to it. Why is this?
One reason Ogbono Soup will taste bland even after adding enough ingredients is that you did not cook it long enough. I have seen a lot of people cook Ogbono for only 5 minutes. That's not enough. Ogbono, once added, should be cooked for at least 20 minutes on low heat. This is the time at which the taste begins to come out and blend with the ingredients.
Another reason is maybe because the Ogbono seeds have gone mouldy in which case, it will have a slightly bitter taste too.