If you haven't had Ofe Oha or Ofe ora whichever you choose to call it, depending on your dialect,you definitely won't understand the hype about this delightful delicacy from the South Eastern part of Nigeria.This soup is a typical example of the saying ' you never know what you have until you loose it.' When I was living in Nigeria I could eat ofe Oha whenever I felt like it because 'fresh' oha leaves are readily available.
Notice the description fresh. This is because oha leaves are very delicate. And the best oha soup is made from fresh oha leaves.
Because of the above, the only time I can enjoy oha soup is when there is a new arrival straight from Nigeria. By new arrival, I mean either when my parents or other relatives visit from home or when I travel home. Fresh Oha is like gold oh so most people appreciate it as a gift from Nigeria.
Don't get me wrong, Oha leaves can be found in African Stores but not 'fresh' oha leaves but sun dried or frozen ones. And in my opinion oha Soup can't be authentic without fresh leaves. One soup I think can be made with the dry oha leaves is Ofe Onu mmuo. It is prepared with Egusi ( melon seeds) and the oha leaves.
While growing up I know we occasionally ate Egusi made with oha leaves but I didn't know it had a designated name until I came to the US. Since Some times the oha from home may not all survive the trip. My aunt sorts out the best and uses it for oha soup on the day the oha leaves arrive, then the other not so fresh oha she sets aside to use for ofe onu mmuo. In other words Oha must not go to waste.
Today is a special day in the history of the United States, a day NEVER TO FORGET. 9/11/2001 day, when over 3000 people ( loved ones; children, parents, cousins, siblings, uncles, aunties, etc. I can't believe it's been 16 years already when that horrible incident took place. I can still remember that day like yesterday. I was still in Med School.
That day was a Tuesday but we didn't go to school. I think it was a public holiday. We studied a bit and decided to go visit some friends. On getting to their apartment we heard then screaming they watching live on CNN as this unfortunate happening unfolded. It was indeed heart breaking to see how precious lives were being cut short.
Today 16 yrs later and as it has been every year since the horrible event, America chooses to remember those who lost their lives, those who lost loved ones and those who lost their live trying to save others we choose to #NeverForget..... We pray such never happens again.
Back to our soup. Oha soup is made in a similar way to ofe onugbu in that it is made with a thickener. This thickener could be traditionally
- Coco yam (boiled and pounded or processed in the food processor then added to the soup.) OR
- Ground Achi. OR
- Ground ofo
Non traditional ones like
- Finely ground oats
- Corn starch
- All purpose flour
For this recipe, I would be using the ground ofo because that is what I have readily available to me ( it's in my freezer enough to last me a long time brought to me by my sweet mama❤)
What is your favorite thickener when making this soup? Would love to know. Don't forget to comment below.
As always I precook my meats to save cooking time. Just precook, and freeze both meats and stock. Pull out of the freezer and thaw overnight as simple as that. You should do that too if haven't already started. It makes African soup making a breeze. Ain't no one got time to spend hours in the kitchen these days. Let's get cooking
Ofe Oha (Oha Soup)
- 500 g Beef precooked
- 800 g Beef foot precooked
- 500 g stockfish precooked
- 200 g tripe precooked
- 1 or 2 dry fish ( cleaned and deboned)
- 120 g Oha leaves (shredded with your hands and washed)
- 2 - 3 pieces uziza leaves sliced (optional but recommended)
- 7 cups Meat stock or water
- ¼ cup coarsely ground crayfish
- 1-½ tablespoon ground Cameroon pepper ( sub with 2 coarsely blended scotch Bonet or habanero pepper)
- 1 to 2 tablespoon Ogiri igbo (1 or 2 wraps)
- 1 tablespoon ground ofo ( sub with 1-½ tablespoon Corn starch)
- 1 cup Palmoil
- Salt to taste
- Bring meat stock to boil, add crayfish and Cameroon pepper.
- Add in the meats and turn heat to low. ( Don't cook meats for too long remember they are already precooked)
- Add in the palm oil and stir.
- Mix Ogiri with a little water and add to the pot. Then take a cooking spoon of hot liquid from the pot to dissolve the ground ofo. Pour the dissolved mixture into the soup and stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
- As the soup thickens, add oha and the uziza leaves. Stir in and turn off heat to allow residual heat finish up. this keeps the oha fresh and green looking.
- Enjoy with any swallow of your choice
- Remember the meats are precooked, don't over cook.
- The ground ofo ( mkpuru ofo powder ) must be dissolved in a hot liquid. it would coagulate with cold water and make your soup lumpy.
- If you are using beef stock and not water, be cautious as you add extra salt, remember the stock already has some salt and seasoning whether it is home made or store bought.
Uche Adeola ifeyinwa
I really loved the taste of my soup, tnks to ur recipe. Oh my gosh my tummy is big now because I can't stop eating the soup with garri my friends really enjoyed the soup so much. thk u.
Thank you for your feedback it made me smile. Happy you enjoyed the Oha soup with your friends. Feel free to look through the blog try more recipes 😀. Stay safe!
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Thanks for this, but if I may ask why is onions not used at all?
You are very welcome. The use of onions in this soup can be a matter of choice.
But traditionally, soups made with Ogiri like Oha and Onugbu soups are usually made without onions.
Don’t really know the reason for that. Maybe our fore fathers didn’t think it necessary to do so. 🤷🏽♀️
But like I said it could be a matter of choice. Boiling your meats with onions may not really matter.
Hope that helps 😊
Ohh....i want to try this so bad. This looks delicious. I live in south carolina.... never stepped foot in Africa (yet). I wonder if that tree can be grown over here.
Nice to have you stop by. You will love Oha soup that I can assure you. I am not sure Oha can be grown in South Carolina because of the weather but I am sure you will find some Oha leaves in any african grocery store but what I can’t guarantee is getting it fresh as most of them are sold dry. Let me know when you get the chance to make it or if you need further guidance. I will be all too happy to help. Hope you stick around longer to try more of the recipes on the blog. ?
I love to eat oh a soup n plan making it myself some time soon bt wld like to know if it's safe to eat in early pregnancy
Yes it’s safe in pregnancy. There isn’t any ingredient in it that will affect you or baby ❤️. Congrats by the way???? on you coming new addition. May the Lord bless and keep you in Jesus’ name
I plan on making this for my husband. I'm Yoruba but I love food from other places. I think Yoruba meals are boring. So to this recipe, I have pretty much everything except for the ogiri Igbo. Can it be substituted?
I am so excited that you would love to give this recipe a try. About your boredom with Yoruba dishes, that’s natural because that’s what you grew up with. I totally get you since I crave Yoruba dishes a lot. As an Igbo girl who grew up in Lagos, I seem to have a taste for it. But back to your question. Unfortunately there isn’t a substitute for ogiri Igbo in this recipe and here is why, it’s the Ogiri igbo that gives Soups like Oha and onugbu the authentic taste they are known for. Because I know how Eforiro should taste I know that ogiri igbo won’t taste right in it because the iru is what makes Eforiro. Some people leave out the Ogiri because they say they don’t like its pungent odour so you could leave it out. But if you want the exact taste of Oha you need it. So let me know if hubby enjoyed it with or without ogiri igbo. Hope my long epistle was helpful ??
Very helpful! Thanks. However I read somewhere that dawadawa can be used as substitute, thoughts!?
P.S Yoruba Meals are boring mostly because they are limited and a tad unimaginative. It's a very short list of delicacies and I could give you but it's not why we are here. LoL!
I honestly don’t think Dawa dawa will make the cut. I can see why some people would want to use it. But like I said the taste won’t be the same. . I have used dawa dawa for Ogbono and Egusi but it doesn’t have the ogiri taste. You can try it out though. it would sure taste nice but the authentic taste Oha and Onugbu is known for won’t be there. Do you mind my asking where you stay? You would be surprised to find ogiri in an African store near you. Let me know how it goes. Between is oga Igbo?
I also talked to my mum about this and I asked about dawa dawa and she is of the same opinion that it won’t taste the same but can be used.
We had a Christmas dinner where we invited some of hubby’s colleagues. We are Yoruba, a couple of his colleagues were Igbo so I decided to make Oha soup as an alternative to the eforiro I already planned. So we had two soups available. Our guests enjoyed both soups but Ian particularly excited because the Igbo guys couldn’t get over the Oha soup. They said it tasted so authentic and couldn’t believe I had never made Oha soup in my life before. Thanks to you. Sorry for the long comment I just wanted to appreciate you by letting other readers know your recipes work. I have tried quite a number ? Thanks again.
Awww. Lola you just made my day. I am always so happy to read from you. You are one loyal reader ?. I am happy the recipe worked out well for you. Thanks so much for taking out time to drop a feedback.
Waoh. Chichi i tried your Oha recipe 0- exact recipe and it was wow. my hubby is yoruba and he loved it so much. thank you
Awww. Glad he liked it. Thanks so much Oluchi, for taking out time to write your feedback it means a lot. Hope you get to try more recipes from the blog ?