How to cook Ora (Oha) Soup
Ora (Oha) soup is native to the South Eastern Nigeria. It is a very traditional soup similar to the bitterleaf soup but cooked with Ora leaves. Ora (Oha) Soup is special because the tender ora leaves used in preparing this soup recipe are seasonal unlike their bitterleaf counterpart which can be found all year round.
Though it is only the vegetable that distinguishes the Ora Soup and the Bitterleaf Soup, they taste so different that it is hard to believe the difference just one ingredient can make in a recipe.
Ingredients for Ora (Oha) Soup
- Vegetable: Ora leaves
- 8 small corms cocoyam
- 3 cooking spoons Red Palm Oil
- Assorted Beef: Includes best cut, shaki (cow tripe)
- Assorted Fish: Dry Fish and Stock Fish
- Chilli pepper, salt and crayfish (to taste)
- 2 Stock cubes
- 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo
Notes on the ingredients:
- Ora (Oha) is a unique vegetable hence does not have a good alternative.
- If you cannot buy cocoyam corms where you live, you can use cocoyam flour. An alternative to cocoyam flour is potato flour. See how to prepare the cocoyam flour or potato flour before adding it to your soup at: How to Cook Nigerian Soups with Flour as Thickener.
- Ogiri Igbo is optional, it gives Ora Soup a traditional taste.
Before you cook the Nigerian Ora Soup
- Grind the crayfish and pepper and set aside.
- Wash and boil the cocoyam corms till soft. Remove the peels and use a mortar and pestle to pound the corms to a smooth paste.
- Using your fingers, cut the Ora (Oha) leaves into tiny pieces. This technique is to prevent the vegetable from becoming darker in colour. This happens when you cut the ora leaves with a knife.
- Boil the shaki (cow tripe), stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water till they are well done. First sign of a done shaki is that the cuts will start curling on itself.
- Wash the beef and add to the pot of shaki etc. and continue cooking. When the meat is done, add 2 stock cubes and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the pepper, ogiri Igbo and ground crayfish and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cocoyam paste in small lumps and then the palm oil.
- Cover the pot and leave to cook on high heat till all the cocoyam lumps have dissolved. You can add more water if you feel that the soup is too thick.
- Add the ora (oha) leaves and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add salt to taste, stir and the soup is ready!