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How to make a Nigerian delicacy- the Oha Soup

Updated on August 6, 2015
Oha (Ora) Soup
Oha (Ora) Soup

Hello and welcome to another exciting edition of food recipe on my hubpage.

I will be guiding you through on how to prepare another Nigerian soup delicacy which is Oha soup (or can also be called Ofe Ora). Since it is already known that Nigeria is the most populated black nation in the world with over 160 million people and an estimated 300 different ethnic groups and language, it is natural that one should always expect to see a lot of different food delicacies especially soups. Generally, soups could be refrigerated for not more than a week as not to lose its nutritional value but most Nigerian soups including this oha soup can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

This soup might not be very popular probably because it's a little bit expensive to prepare and its ingredients are difficult to source and are also not readily available in most markets in Nigeria except of course in the Eastern part of Nigeria. But regardless of this fact, it is still one the most delicious if not the best soup one can get in Nigeria for those who had the opportunity to have a meal of it. The Oha soup is very peculiar to the Ibo people (one of the three major tribes in Nigeria) of Southeastern part of Nigeria. This rich and nutritious soup is usually prepared with the leaves of the Pterocarpus soyauxii (Pterocarpus mildbraedi) tree, known traditionally as Oha leaves and thickened with cocoyam. The soup is made with only the leaves and so apparently the name of the soup was derived from the name of this local leaves used to prepare it. This oha leaves are what makes the soup so unique and distinguishes it from other local Nigeria made soups.

Oha Leaves
Oha Leaves

So to prepare a delicious and spicy Oha soup the following ingredients are used in Nigeria which of course is largely dependent on the number of people to be served; they include,

Cook Time

Prep time: 50 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 1 hour 20 min
Yields: Six to eight people
Uziza Leaves
Uziza Leaves
Ogiri Igbo in display
Ogiri Igbo in display
Stock fish
Stock fish
Dry or smoked fish
Dry or smoked fish


  • 3-4 pieces Cocoyam
  • 2 punch Oha/Ora leaves, Hand-picked
  • 1 punch Uziza leaves, chopped
  • 2 wraps Ogiri Igbo
  • 2 pieces Ata rodo - scotch bonnet/habanero pepper, Grinded
  • 2 spoons Palm oil
  • 1 bowl (Akwu) Palm fruits- to produce palm fruit juice
  • 1 piece Stock fish
  • 2 pieces dry or smoked fish
  • 8 medium size Assorted meat (goat or cow)
  • 2 Cups crayfish, Grinded
  • 2 cubes Maggi or Knorr Seasoning
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 medium size Cow skin (kpomo or kanda)

To make a thick and spicy Oha soup, you are expected to prepare beforehand the following;

Please do not shred the oha leaves rather tear them up with your clean hands, but one can shred the Uziza leaves into tiny pieces before washing. Put them in separate sieves to drain out all the water as much as possible and set aside.

Wash and cut the assorted meat in bite-able sizes. Also wash the dry fish and stock fish with hot water to remove dirts and sands, and then set aside.

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Palm fruits locally called Akwu
Palm fruits locally called Akwu
Cocoyams  in the pot set to be boiled
Cocoyams in the pot set to be boiled
Cocoyam before use
Cocoyam before use

Also if you want to use palm fruit juice, then it’s still all good. Just wash your palm fruits properly well with salt to remove tiny bits of sand, pour in a pot, and add water to boil for about 15 minutes till it’s well cooked. Put the boiled palm fruit in a bowl and mash to get the juice all out, and then set aside.

Wash the cocoyam with water to remove sands then boil using a pot for about 10 minutes until it becomes tender. Then peel of its skin and pound the cocoyam in a mortar and pestle while it is still hot to avoid forming lumps to avoid affecting the taste of your oha soup. Make sure the pounded cocoyam is very soft to make a smooth paste before you scoop it out from the mortar and place in a plate ready for use.

One can use cocoyam flour or potato flour as an alternative if you can’t go through the stress of pounding.

Cocoyam after the skin has been peeled off before pounding
Cocoyam after the skin has been peeled off before pounding
The final smooth cocoyam paste, ready for use
The final smooth cocoyam paste, ready for use
  1. Season the assorted meat, cow skin (kpomo or kanda) with salt, few slices of onions and steam with washed stockfish in a pot and watch closely till the meat is tender.
  2. Add the grinded crayfish, washed smoked fish and pepper to the cooking pot for ten minutes
  3. Then, pour a little more water before adding the Maggi or Knorr (seasoning) cubes, salt and pepper to taste. Stir and allow boiling.
  4. Add two cooking ladle-spoon of red palm oil (or pour the juice from the palm fruit) into the pot of soup and allow boiling until the red palm oil dissolves well into the stockfish.
  5. At this point the soup should give a good spicy taste (even though it would be watery), don’t worry at all.
  6. Just add the cocoyam paste to the stock in balls and allow it to completely dissolve; by now it should thicken the soup.
  7. Add the sliced Uziza leaves; then simmer for about 2 minutes on a low heat before adding the wraps of Ogiri for more flavour. Start with one wrap and let it dissolve.
  8. Now add the hand-picked oha leaves and little salt to taste. Then Stir the contents of the pot properly well and cover the pot to simmer for about five minutes on low heat.
Yummy Oha soup in cooking pot
Yummy Oha soup in cooking pot

Remove from heat and we are done!

Congratulations for if you have been following this my procedure, you have just successfully made a delicious and spicy Oha soup and this can be served with cassava fufu or eba, wheat meal, semolina or pounded yam.

Would you love to have a meal of Oha soup anytime soon?

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Video on how to make Oha Soup

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 235
Calories 84
Calories from Fat9
% Daily Value *
Fat 1 g2%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 15 g5%
Sugar 5 g
Fiber 3 g12%
Protein 4 g8%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 491 mg20%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.


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