Ila asepo (Okro soup)

Ila asepo (okro soup) is a one pot okro soup. Okro is usually served with a separate stew but when all the ingredients of stew go into the okro in one pot, it is then called Ila asepo. Asepo means cooked together in Yoruba which explain how the name Ila asepo came about.

When it comes to Ila asepo, it is popular among the Yorubas but Ondo people have it on lockdown! Ondo people are known for their love of one pot soup especially Ila asepo.

This method of cooking Ila asepo was passed down to my sister by her Ondo mother in law. My sister is married to Ondo man who is a very sure guy- my brother in law rocks 🙂 . My sister in turn taught me this method which is very similar to how I used to cook it but right up till years ago when she mentioned one ingredient, I had never heard of that ingredient before. Apparently, the ingredient called Ila fa is very common in Ondo’s Ila asepo cooking. She also taught me to blend the Okro end with the ogiri but I was never able to achieve that with my blender and I gave up on that a long time ago.

So with all thanks to my sister and her mother in law and with a little twist of my own, I give to you my recipe:

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes


25 pieces medium sized Fresh Okro (lady fingers)

2 tablespoons locust beans (Iru)

2 tablespoons Ogiri

3 Bouillion cubes (maggi)


1-2 cooking spoons Palmoil

3-4 Scotch bonnet (ata rodo)

1 handful Dry Shawa fish

1/2 cup grounded Crayfish

1/2 cup Prawns

Ila Fa (Optional)

Few pieces Stock fish (Panla)- optional

1 medium size dry smoked catfish

Beef and assorted meat (shaki, ponmo, etc)

Vegetable such as Kale, Spinach, ugu, etc (Optional)


1) Wash the smoked fish by pouring hot water and salt on it, leave the fish in the water for 3 minutes then washout the dirt. Debone and shred the fish.


2) Boil the assorted meat ( shaki, ponmo,etc) seperately and set aside.


3) Blend half of the locust beans, Ogiri and scotch bonnet.

Note: I blend half of the locust beans as I like seeing the other half visibly in my okro. If you’d prefer for the locust beans not to be visible in your okro soup, blend all the locust beans with the pepper and ogiri.
4) Wash the Okro and grate or blend into small cubes. If blending, be careful to blend with minimal water.

5) Boil the beef with 1 maggi cube and salt.


K’s Cuisine recommendation: Do not add water to the beef. Beef brings out water when boiling. Just boil (more like steaming) on low heat and watch the meat bring out water.


6) When beef is tender, there will be stock in the pot from the beef. Add the assorted meat, smoked fish, palm oil, prawns and crayfish. Cover and leave to cook for 2 minutes.

Tip: If stock is too much in the meat after boiling, take out some of it. You do not want too much water as this can result in watery okro soup.
 7) Add Palmoil and the pepper/ogiri/locust beans mixture and leave to boil for 3-5 minutes



8) Add the grated or blended okro, the remaining half of locust beans, Ila fa and the  vegetable.




Do not cover pot after okro has been introduced into the pot and be careful not to overcook the Okro.

9) Taste for salt and seasoning, adjust accordingly, reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.

10) That’s Ila asepo done.

ila asepo (okro soup)

Enjoy with pounded yam, Eba, Amala, Semo or any other solid.

Okro soup

Ila asepo with poundo yam
Ila asepo with poundo yam

Ila asepo and pounded yam

okro soup


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11 thoughts on “Ila asepo (Okro soup)

  1. #TeamOndo Yes we have ila Asepo on Lockdown!!!!!!!!!!!! Ila fa and leun… are the local spices we use plus Ogiri and bushmeat … SIGH…. *salivating* I miss home.. 🙂 and we dont use blended pepper locally, just dry pepper… Looks amazing!!!! I would try your method….

    1. Heheeee…no doubt about it you Ondo people totally have it on lockdown😊 . Will ask my sister about Leun and I can imagine the flavour of bushmeat in the ila asepo..yummy I think. Thanks Aarinolaoluwa

  2. I don’t think you can get ila fa in UK. The last one I bought was Frm ondo town. But ondo people will know it. Its like herbs and its optional. Love the poundo doughnut

  3. Please what is the english name of ila fa? Can we get it here in the UK? Can you post a picture of it?

    1. Damilola, I do not know the English name if it does have one. I will post a picture of it for you to see. I don’t think it’s available in the UK. You can leave it out as it’s optional 🙂

  4. Thanks K’s cuisine.With regards the ogiri,wat type of ogiri did you use since there r different types??.cos i saw in ur preparation that you blended yur ogiri.What’s d english name for ila ifa?Habanero pepper(scotch bonnet) is it the same for cameroun yellow pepper?Sorry for d numerous question.

    1. You’re welcome Jean. I used ogiri ijebu. The one that looks similar to iru pete. I honestly don’t know the English name for Ila fa. It is a type veg/herb. You can leave it out as I do that most times.scotch bonnet is ata rodo.i use the red one for ila asepo so it’s not yellow pepper. I will post a picture of Ila fa and the ogiri to help you understand better 🙂

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