“Okro soup how to prepare” – this is one of the most popular search requests that you will see when you open your browser and type in the word “okro”. This soup is totally specific and unusual but once you taste it properly, you will definitely love it! let’s cook it together!
The traditional okro soup ingredients
The thing that makes this soup so special is the okro plant, which is widely spread around Africa. This is a valuable vegetable that’s known in many species. Nobody knows where it’s home is but now it can be found in most parts of the world where it’s grown for food and even cosmetic purposes.
The okro fruits are a nature’s treasury of vitamins and nutritional elements. The vegetable contains a lot of specific slime, which is extremely useful for people with digestion problems and stomach issues. Besides that, the okro fruits contain little calories but plenty of food fibers, which are also great for the digestion.
Apart from okro, the soup may contain shaki (beef tripe) but here we will give attention to two types of okro soup. One of them will be dietetic and suitable for vegetarians and the other will be completely authentic.
The best Nigerian okro soup recipe
The traditional and authentic okro soup should consist of the following ingredients:
A full medium-sized bowl of finely chopped okro
Fresh pumpkin leaves
1 cup of fish stock made of heads (start with only a little because you can always add more if necessary)
½ kilo of beef meat (or goat, if you like. If none, replace with chicken or turkey)
½ kilo of shaki
2 frozen mackerels of a medium size (you can take roasted if you like)
Smoked fish or/and dried fish (as you like to your taste)
1 to 3 cubes of Maggi (to your personal taste)
Salt and pepper
½ cups of ground crayfish
It’s recommended that you slice okro yourself in spite of the fact that it’s quite often sold already sliced. This done, proceed to the preparation of the fish. If you choose frozen fish, it’s necessary to parboil it for several (up to ten) minutes, pick the pieces of fish out of the liquid with a fork, add the stock and smoked or/and dry fish that you have.
Now, it’s time to get down to the meat and shaki. Cut it into small pieces, parboil with some salt, pepper, and a seasoning cube, add two cups of water, and cook until it’s done. You can also try the precooking method when the fish and meat are precooked together, then fish pieces are removed from the pot after 8 minutes, and then the meat is cooked alone until it’s soft.
Anyway, when the fish and meat are ready, put them together into the same pot, add the oil, seasoning cubes, pepper and salt, so that this part of the soup tastes normal to you. After several minutes, add okro and cook for several minutes more.
You can also add some liquid if you think that the soup is too thick. In fact, it’s not supposed to be transparent. Yet, if you don’t like a soup that’s as thick as a stew, you are welcome to add some fish or meat stock or plain water at any moment.
The final stage: add pumpkin leaves, cook for 3 minutes more, and the okro soup is ready!
A tip: in case you don’t like the slimy texture of the soup, try adding tomatoes. If you think that there’s no place for them in the traditional recipe, add a little lemon juice. It will reduce the slime.
Okro soup with tomatoes: a vegetarian recipe
This variation of the traditional recipe contains no meat but there are tomatoes among the ingredients. They influence the taste significantly but not the taste alone. The acid they contain reduces the amount of slime given off by okro.
As well, the soup is quite different from the traditional one that contains both meat and fish. It’s more modernized and less authentic but, indeed, very unusual for those who have never tasted it before. It’s a perfect treat if you are, say, having guests from abroad.
To cook this soup, you will need the following:
4 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of palm oil
1 clove of garlic (smashed)
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
1 sprig of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of salt
½ of ground black pepper AND flakey red pepper (each)
4 cups of vegetable stock
3 cups of water
4 cups of fresh peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 cups of fresh chopped okro OR frozen chopped okro
2 cups of already cooked rice
Seasoning cubes (optional)
To begin with, heat the butter in a saucepan until it melts. Add the palm oil. Add the chopped onion and parsley and cook until they are soft. Add garlic and cook for only a little while until you can smell the fragrance.
Immediately add thyme, both peppers and salt and keep on cooking for another couple of minutes. Add the vegetable stock, water, and tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes on a medium fire.
It’s time to add okro! Cook the soup with okro for 20 to 25 minutes more or as much as needed for okro to become soft and tender. Add pumpkin leaves, cook for a couple of minutes.
The soup is ready! Serve it in bowls, adding a lump of cooked rice in each.
How to cook okro soup so that it’s tasty?
There are several cooking tips regarding okro which you would like to know. Bigger fruits of this plant are likely to have separate bitter parts that are made completely neutral by cooking. The bitterness is not the only thing that should be neutralized in okro. Some fruits may have short bristle hairs on them. Make sure you have removed all of them to avoid allergic reactions.
If you want your soup to have a unique authentic taste, don’t be afraid to mix meat and fish, especially smoked fish. The taste will be brighter if you use only meat or fish stock and no water. You can intensify the taste with the help of cubes but it’s better to add more crayfish to make the taste mouth-watering.
Adding a lot of pepper will make this soup truly African and Nigerian. You should not be afraid of a lot of pepper: in case you have no allergic reactions, the hotness will only increase the taste of this soup. It’s often recommended to take spinach instead of pumpkin leaves but if you have the latter ones, use them. Spinach will never give the necessary taste and texture.
As you can see, there’s no single canonic okro soup recipe but there’s a canvas, to which you can add something from your own experience and liking. Just enjoy your meal and try diverse variations to find the best one that suits your tongue better than others do.