Vegetables are an important ingredient in most Nigerian soups. In fact, the love affair between them is like that of bread and butter. Even though some Nigerian soups are cooked and served plain, the majority of them have vegetable(s) that they pair well with.
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Now, it used to be that the vegetable-soup combo that is preferred by a specific community may be considered strange by the people of another community. Fortunately, cross-culture contact has made people more open-minded with the result that certain flexibility is applied to Nigerian cooking in general and to vegetable-soup combos in particular.
Nowadays, vegetables that are originally used for specific soups are now used in other soups with amazing results too. Today, we will be reviewing nine vegetables and the soups that they are cooked with. So, here they are:
Uziza Leaves: Once this vegetable enters your soup, it blesses your kitchen and the soup with its deliciously sweet aroma. Uziza leaves is used in making native soup, Egusi Soup, Ora Soup, Okro soup.
Jute Leaves: This vegetable is locally known as Ewedu. It is used in making Ewedu Soup. Ewedu Soup is indigenous to the Yoruba ethnic group. It has a mucilaginous texture; it is usually paired with Amala.
Scent leaves: This is another sweet-smelling vegetable. It is locally known as nchanwu, arigbi, efirin. Most people use this vegetable for native jollof rice. But in the Omabala Area of Anambra State, this vegetable is used in making finger-licking Egusi Soup and a special kind of vegetable soup which is known as Ofe Arigbi.
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Water leaves: This perennial plant has a very high moisture content. Water leaves flourishes more during the rainy season. It is locally known as egbure or mgbolodi. It is used in cooking all manner of vegetable soups like Edika Ikong Soup, Afang Soup, Ofe Arigbi.
Okazi Leaves: This vegetable is also known as Afang leaves or wild spinach. Okazi leaves have a glossy look and are tough to touch. It is usually sliced thinly. It has a slightly bitter taste. Okazi is used to prepare Afang Soup, Ofe Okazi, Ofe Owerri, Atama soup, Egusi Soup.
Pumpkin Leaves: This vegetable is locally known as ugu but I think it should be nicknamed “call and I will answer” because of its versatility. Ugu has no smell, so to speak; it can be used in making Egusi Soup, Okro Soup, Ogbono Soup; it can also be paired with water leaves to make the popular vegetable Soup, Edika Ikong Soup.
Ora(Oha) Leaves: This vegetable is indigenous to the Igbo ethnic group. It is mainly used in the preparation of a delicious soup which is known as Ofe Ora.
Utazi: Some people mistake this vegetable for Uziza. But both are different. While Uziza is known for its sweet aroma, Utazi is known for its bitter taste. Utazi is used to prepare Utazi soup, Ofe Nsala and Pepper Soup.
These, my people, are some of the Nigerian Vegetables and the soups that they are paired with. Feel free to try any vegetable-soup combo that you’ve not tried before. Happy New Month.
Featured Image Source: All Nigerian Foods
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