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Oha soup is peculiar to the South Eastern part of Nigeria. This soup is one of their traditional soups and is cooked with Ora leaves. It is similar to bitterleaf soup; the only difference is that it is cooked with Oha (Ora) leaves. Oha soup is unique because the tender ora leaves used in preparing this soup recipe are seasonal, unlike their bitterleaf counterpart which are available all year round.


Vegetable – Ora leaves

Cocoyam – 8 small tubers

3 cooking spoons of red palm oil

Meat of choice (chicken, ponmo(cow’s skin),shaki(tripe), beef, goat meat or turkey)

Assorted Fish: Dry Fish and Stock Fish

Chilli Pepper, Salt and Crayfish (to taste)

2 Stock cubes

1 teaspoon OgiriIgbo or Iru (locust bean)


If you cannot get cocoyam tubers, cocoyam flour is a good alternative. Also, you can use potato flour.

Ogiri is optional, it gives Ora Soup a traditional taste.



Grind the crayfish and pepper and set aside.

Pound cocoyam

Wash and boil the cocoyam tubers till soft. Remove the peels, and use a mortar and pestle to pound the tubers to a smooth paste.

Using your fingers, cut the Ora (Oha) leaves into tiny pieces. This technique is to prevent the vegetable from becoming darker in colour. This happens when you cut the oha leaves with a knife.

Boil the shaki (cow tripe), stock fish and dry fish in 1 litre of water till they are well done. First sign of a done shaki is that the cuts will start curling on itself.

Wash the beef and add to the pot of shaki etc. and continue cooking. When the meat is done, add 2 stock cubes and cook for 5 minutes.

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Add the pepper, Ogiri and ground crayfish and cook for 10 minutes. Add the cocoyam paste in small lumps and then the palm oil.

Cover the pot and leave to cook on high heat till all the cocoyam lumps have dissolved. You can add more water if you feel that the soup is too thick.

Add the oha leaves and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.

Add salt to taste and the soup is ready to be served with Eba, Cassava Fufu, Semolina, Amala or Pounded Yam.



Funmi Thompson

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