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Origin of the Nigerian Food, Native Soup

Traditional foods are ancient foods inherited from the ancestors; they are rooted in the strong foundation of customs, culture and natural environment. Even though they are foods with old historical background, they are continuously evolving to retain the culinary tradition of the people and to surmount the monotony in the diet. Traditional foods have the ability to improve nutrition and ensure food security.

Rivers State is located in the coastal plain of the eastern Niger Delta. The land surface in the state can be grouped into three: the fresh water, the mangrove swamps and the coastal sand ridges zone. The state is the center of petroleum industry; the people are also involved in agriculture. Rivers State also provides valuable sea foods like crab, oysters, shrimps, clams, snails, periwinkles and fishes. The good people of Rivers are also known for their rich cultural heritage and their undying love for seafood which features prominently in their cuisine.

Native soup is the royal delicacy of the Rivers people. This soup is also called odu fulo. Native soup is a soup prepared with love; it is not a budget friendly soup. A well prepared pot of this soup is loaded with fresh fish and the freshest sea foods. Now, the fact that this soup is expensive doesn’t mean you can’t prepare and enjoy it on a low budget, so calm down. There is a low cost version of this soup. You can either buy smaller quantities of the ingredients or you can leave out the ones that you can’t afford.

Native soup is fairly easy to prepare. The ingredients can be easily purchased at Nigerian markets especially those in coastal states. They can also be purchased at grocery supermarkets where fresh produce are sold. But if you don’t want to go through the stress of cooking, you can enjoy this soup at major restaurants and eateries in Rivers State.

The vegetable used in making native soup is uziza leaves. The thickener is cocoyam but in its absence, ofor can be used. Achi has a distinctive taste that can ruin the taste of this soup for some people. Other ingredients for making this soup are palm oil, dry fish, crayfish, fresh pepper, seasoning cubes, and salt. Native soup can be cooked light or thick depending on what you like. This soup can be enjoyed with any Nigerian swallow.

Sources:

Vijayalakshmi K.I., Bharati V.C., Rama N. 2005. Nutrient composition of traditional festival foods of North. J. Hum. Ecol., 181: 43–48.

Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group

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Featured image source: STEW

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Obiamaka Angela Udevi

Udevi, Obiamaka Angela holds a Master of Arts degree in History & International Studies. She's a freelance writer with a passion for food and healthy living. She can be contacted through her email address, obiudevi@yahoo.com

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