The Urhobo are located in the Niger-Delta region of Southern Nigeria. They are one of the major ethnic groups in Delta State. The word, Urhobo refers more to the language and the people than it does a territory. The Urhobo live near the River Niger and they are supplied by a large network of streams and rivers. The people have a number of interesting delicacies to their credit. Some of them are ukhodo, okpariku, oghwevwri, and iribotor soup.
Up for discussion on our food history segment today is the food, iribotor soup. This soup hails from the Urhobo ethnic group in Delta State. It is said that the name, iribotor literally means soup made on the ground. Since iribotor soup is either prepared in an earthen pot which the Urhobo call evwere or in a mortar, one would not be wrong to use the term, iribotor in reference to food that is not cooked.
Preparing Iribotor Soup
Iribotor soup can also be referred to as native pepper soup. As expected, a generous amount of pepper is used in its preparation. The spicy hotness of the soup drives away cold and brings instant relief to the consumer. Native spices like ehuru, uda, uziza are used in the preparation of this soup. These spices bestow a distinctive flavor and taste on the soup. Moreover, the medicinal properties of these native spices are the reason why this soup is usually prepared for new mothers in Urhobo. Please note that in the absence of these native spices, pepper soup spices can suffice. Iribotor soup is made with roasted fish; the addition of palm oil to this soup is optional.
Iribotor is best eaten at once or the same day at most. The Urhobo believe that reheating this soup destroys its taste and consistency. This perhaps explains why it is imperative for every Urhobo person to know how to prepare a single person’s portion of Iribotor Soup.
This soup is best enjoyed with boiled yam and unripe plantain. It is one of the quickest meals of the people. So, the next time you have a craving for pepper soup, you can prepare the Urhobo version.
Featured image source: Na Osusu