Bitter Leaf Soup and Pounded Yam

Bitter leaf soup is a proud Nigerian delicacy to behold. Bitter leaf soup is delicious, nutritious and medicinal.This soup is native to the ‘Igbos’ of Eastern Nigeria.

The bitter leaf soup is known as “Ofe Onugbu” in Igbo language with “Ofe” meaning “soup” and “Onugbu” meaning “bitter leaf”.

The bitter leaves used for this soup,are properly washed and squeezed to reduce the bitterness to the barest minimum.

Bitter leaf has so many health benefits ;reduces blood sugar level,reduces risk of heart attack and stroke, used as remedy for treating stomach pains.When chewed, it is known to reduce toothache, prevents damage caused by free radicals, hence it is an antioxidant.

Ingredients for Bitter Leaf Soup

Freshly squeezed or dried bitter leaf

1 onion

2 tablespoonful ground crayfish

1 kg of assorted meat(shaki(cow tripe),beef,ox tail,cow leg,goat meat)

-Dried fish

Stock fish

2 medium sized cocoyam

3 cooking spoonful palm oil

-1 teaspoonful ogiri (fermented oil seeds)

2 seasoning/stock cubes (eg maggi or knorr)


-Salt (to taste)

Yam being pounded with a pestle.
Image: All-Nigerian-Foods on Flickr

Cooking Direction

1.Wash the cocoyam corms and place into a pot,pour enough water to cover the cocoyam and boil till soft.Peel off the cocoyam skins while it’s still hot (extra care should be taken to prevent the fingers from burning) and grind to a smooth taste in a blender or pound using a mortar and pestle.

2.Wash the bitter leaves by squeezing and scrubbing the leaves in between your palms (change water at intervals) until the water is clearer and there is faint taste of bitterness.

3.Wash and clean the dried fish and put aside.

Spice the meat and boil with onion, tougher ones should attended to first ,(the shaki(cow tripe),cow leg always take longer time to cook.Add the cleaned stock fish and cook until done.4.Add the palm oil,cleaned dried ffish ground crayfish, ground ogiri/iru and stock cube.Cook for about 10 minutes.

5.Scoop in the cocoyam paste (used for thickening the soup),cover and leave to cook until the cocoyam paste and lumps are well dissolved. Add bitter leaves and salt to taste, mix thoroughly and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes and the soup is ready.

This delicious soup can be served pounded yam.

Pounded yam is simply boiled yam that has undergone the process of pounding (usually with mortar and pestle) .

Bitter Leaf Soup served with Pounded Yam
Image: Trip Advisor

Note:You need to know that the yam for preparation of pounded yam must have stayed for at least 3 months on the surface, newly harvested yam cannot be used for pounded yam.

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