Ofe Nsala (Nsala Soup) is a delicious and spicy soup that is popular in the Eastern part of Nigeria. It is also known as ‘White Soup’ because of its light colour – due to the absence of palm oil. It is quick and easy to cook making it the perfect choice on lazy days and cold nights. So here is a simple Ofe Nsala recipe for you to try out today:
1. Cat Fish: 4 one-inch thick pieces
2. Fresh or dry Utazi Leaves (Gongronema latifolium)
3. Thickener: Raw White Yam / Yam Powder / Potato Puree
4. Pepper (to taste)
5. Salt (to taste)
6. Crayfish (a handful)
7. Seasoning: 1 stock cube (Maggi / Knorr) and Ogiri Okpei / Iru (Nigerian traditional seasoning)
8. Smoked fish (optional)
9. 5 pieces of Chicken or 10 pieces of Beef (optional)
1. Cut the catfish into 1 inch thick cylindrical discs and remove the intestines. Place in bowl and pour very hot water on the fish. This process of pouring hot water on the fish toughens the skin of the fish so that it doesn’t disintegrate while cooking the soup. Leave for about 2 minutes then wash with cold water to remove the slimy substance on the fish.
2. Boil raw white yam. When soft, pound with a mortar and pestle till a smooth paste is formed, then set aside. You can substitute white yam with yam powder or potato puree for the thickening.
3. Wash and pound/blend the utazi leaves, the chilli pepper and the crayfish and set aside. Utazi is bitter in taste and only used for flavouring, so one or two leaves should be enough.
4. Place the catfish in a pot and pour enough water to cover the fish. Add the seasoning and cook till done. You can add the cooked beef, chicken and smoked fish as well, if you desire.
5. When the catfish is almost done, add the crayfish, pepper and the blended/shredded utazi leaves. Also add the yam paste in small lumps and salt to taste.
6. Cover the pot and allow the contents to cook at high heat till all the yam paste has dissolved.
7. Served hot with Eba (Garri), Semolina, Amala or Pounded Yam.
1. Utazi: A study in the Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences showed that Utazi leaves contains properties that can significantly reduce the blood sugar level in diabetic patients as well as serve as antioxidant. It also has anti-bacterial properties.
2. Catfish: Eating catfish is a tasty way to boost your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
3. Yam: Yam is a good source of Vitamin B6. Dioscorin, a storage protein found in yam is known to benefit people suffering from hypertension
About the Writer: Ejura Salihu is a writer and editor at Connect Nigeria. She is passionate about Nigeria and all things Nigerian. Find her on twitter @icyquin-msc