I visited my aunt recently to pick her brain to add to my list of the many un popularized Nigerian soups . I left with an interesting list and one of this interesting recipes is Ukwogho Etidot . If you like bitterleaves and Edikang Ikong you will like this soup.
Bitter leaves soup (Ukwogho Etodot) is a dish from Calabar, one of those soups that is gaining popularity in recent times. Is it the medicinal value of Bitterleaves which has received some prominence as an effective remedy following the scourge of diabetes or hypertension or just that people are seeking variety to their soups? Whatever it is bitter leave soup is fairly popular. We are familiar with Ofe Onugbu from Anambra State with its bitter and pungent flavour from the Ogili isi. Ukwogho Etidot Is quite similar to the process of cooking Afang soup except that you are now combining well washed bitter leaves with water leaves instead of Afang.
Whilst cooking this soup I realized that for some reason bitter leaves soup requires quite a bit of good protein ingredients to make it tasty. So if you are wondering why so many assorted meats for one soup , now you know why. Thats why I am using smoked fish , beef, prawns , snails, periwinkle etc, it is to get that excellent taste.
Bitter leaves is valued for its medicinal properties in most West African countries where it is eaten. The medicinal property is coming from the bitterness. I have come to know that there are many varieties with different degree of bitterness. I am using the ‘ light version’ (reduced bitterness) . The Efiks call this Osio Etidot. It does not require much washing to reduce the bitterness. Of course if you do not have this variety then just use the regular ones you can find in the market and wash properly. The preference for Bitter leaves soup after all is the love of the bitter taste ,so you will not get rid of the bitter taste completely when washing it .
I ate my Ukwogho Etidot with boiled unripe plantain and it was simply tasty and refreshingly different. There is something nice about drinking water after a meal of bitter leaves soup….you will get this slight sweetness in the mouth …..quite interesting.
2 balls washed Bitter leaves (shredded )
3 balls Water leaves ( shredded )
6 pieces Beef
2 piecesStock fish
Handful smoked Fish
6 pieces Cow Skin
6 pieces Snails
1 cup dressed fresh Prawns
1/2 cup Periwinkles (optional)
1 whole onion( chopped)
21/2 cooking spoons Palm oil
1/2 cooking spoon ground Crayfish
Pepper to taste
Seasoning to taste
Salt to taste
1, Pick and wash the bitter leaves to remove the strong bitter taste. Pick some of the leaves and chew as you wash until you have your tolerable bitter level for a soup
2, Pick wash and slice the water leaves very thinly
3, Season and boil the meat and stock fish with some onion, pepper, salt and seasoning. Meat stock needed for the soup is not much , so control the water level as you boil the meats
4, When meat is almost cooked, add the periwinkles and smoked fish and correct the seasonings and pepper.
5, When the meat is well cooked, add the water leaves and the ground crayfish and cook . I try to avoid stirring the water leaves when it is still raw to prevent the soup from having a slimy consistency. You can stir when the leaves are cooked.
6, Add the oil and cook for about 3 – 5minutes
7, Lastly add the bitter leaves and remaining onion and stir the soup. You may need to add more water if the soup is too thick. Cook for about 5minutes .Bitter leaves is a tough vegetable
8, Serve with any swallow of choice, boiled plantain or yam.
Cooking tip: Yellow or Cameroon pepper works well in this soup. You find that after adding the oil the soup is still dark, do not bother as the soup settles when cooked the oil will rise to the top.