Ogbono soup also called Apon is another Nigerian soup. It falls into the category of ‘draw soup’ because of it’s slippery and slimy texture. The first time I ate this soup was during my NYSC year. My friend Ope had cooked this soup. Mind you that was surprising as Ope rarely cooked in the house. It was three of us and I was the major cook. Esi was my assistant and Ope doesn’t mind cleaning. You see, my dear Ope would rather do all the washing up than boil a cup of rice. Lol…
Anyway, I was very hungry on the day and tried the soup. She had cooked it with Okro and the soup tasted delicious. I asked how she made it as I got home just as she was taking it off the cooker and missed seeing how it was done. She told me the process involved and few days later I watched Esi cook it. This time without Okro nor vegetable. Ogbono became one of my favorite soup since then. With my experience of cooking it, I have learnt few tricks to Ogbono and this is how I cook Ogbono :
2 cups grounded Ogbono ( I normally blend with crayfish from the market and my mum does same when she brings for me. It makes storage and cooking easier)
2 cooking spoon palm oil
2 tablespoon grounded dry pepper
1 tablespoon locust beans (Iru)
2 bouillon ( I use maggi cubes)
1/2 cup grounded crayfish
Smoked dry cat fish
Dried fish (Shawa)
Assorted meat (ponmo, tripe, etc. )
Vegetable leaves of your choice (Ugu, spinach, kale, greens)- chopped
Boil beef and assorted meat and set aside.
K’s Cuisine tip: Avoid using seasonings like curry and thyme when cooking traditional soups.
Boil offals ( tripe, ponmo, etc) seperately from the beef.
Soak dry smoked fish in hot salty water for 5minutes ( this takes out the dirt). Shred and debone the fish.
Pour palm oil in a pot and put on medium heat on the cooker. When the oil is hot reduce the heat to low and add the Ogbono. Stir with cooking spoon to dissolve the Ogbono in the Palmoil.
The Ogbono and oil mixture should be thick and there shouldn’t be palmoil floating around at all. You only need small amount of palm oil to dissolve and smoothen the Ogbono.
Mix the ground dry pepper with 3 tablespoons of water and add the meat stock to this mixture.
Now add the pepper/stock mixture to the melted Ogbonno and add water little at a time till you get the consistency you desire.
I personally like Ogbono to be thick in consistency.
Add the maggi cubes, locust beans, crayfish, salt, dried smoked fish, beef and assorted meat. It’s better to add this early so they absorb the flavours of Ogbono and also infuse their own flavor into the Ogbono.
Stir and leave to cook for 15 minutes while stirring the soup intermittently.
Do not cover the Ogbono at anytime during the cooking process.
Make sure you cook the Ogbono well or it will have a bitter taste. If you follow this recipe and use good Ogbono seed it will not lose it’s slippery and slimy texture.
When the Ogbono is cooked, add the Vegetable if you desire ( Vegetable is good for us😀).
Cook for another 3-5 minutes and take off the heat. Ogbono is ready😊
Like Bitter leaf and Ayamase, the older and more times you warm up the soup the sweeter it becomes. Trust me on this..It’s sweetest around the 3rd day😁 but the colour will be darker..
You can serve it with Amala, Eba, Semo, Pounded yam and the likes. Enjoy!
I will make a seperate post on Okro-Ogbono.