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