Food Recipe: Native delicacy from Delta State (Ofè Ujuju)

Ika/agbor Cuisine (ujuju Soup)

It is no secret that Delta is home to the best soups in Nigeria (yes!!! Argue with your tribe)

Delta State has delicious soups that are rich with all sorts of assorted meat, dry fish, fresh fish, seafood, bushmeat/grasscutter….. Should I keep going?

Nah… I don’t think you can handle this torture *wink*

This Delta soup in particular, makes my people so happy. In my house, if you serve this soup to a visitor, it’s like you just gave them a gift. They will praise you, thank you and pray for you…. Youl’d even get confused *lol*

This soup is (Ofè Ujuju)common among the Ika/Agbor people of Delta state. They love the soup so much in my house, they had to plant a tree at the backyard. I have been told a lot of times, that the leaves are medicinal.

Ujuju leaves are not sold in the markets here in Lagos, now you’ll understand why it brings them joy when they are able to find it here.

The leaves cannot be substituted for another vegetable, otherwise it won’t be Ujuju soup anymore.

Ujuju soup is a very simple soup to prepare.  Some people prepare it alone, while some add okro or ogbono or both to their soups.

 I prepare mine with little or no ogbono at times. I want to relish just the taste of the Ujuju. Now, let’s move on to preparation of this delicacy…

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Recipe: Ofè Ujuju

Ingredients:

Ujuju leaves

Palm oil

Grounded crayfish

Seasoning cubes

Salt

Black Pepper

1 medium sized Onion

Stockfish

Dry fish

Goat meat

Shaki

Snails

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Directions:

  • Remove the mid rib from all the leaves. Rinse thoroughly under running tap water.
  • In a cooking pot, pour in enough water that would cover the leaves and bring to a boil.
  • Add 11/2 cooking spoon of palm oil to the water, add the Ujuju leaves.
  • Cook leaves until they are soft. Strain, and mash the leaves in a mortar or you may use a blender.
  • Wash stock fish and dry fish. De-bone dry fish and set aside.
  • In another pot, wash and season goat meat & shaki with salt, black pepper, onions and seasoning cubes.
  • When meat is almost cooked, add stockfish, dry fish and snails. Allow to cook for 8minutes.
  • Add the mashed Ujuju leaves and grounded crayfish,  stir and allow to cook for 7minutes..
  • Taste for salt, pepper and seasoning.
  • Turn off the heat, and Serve soup with your desired swallow. (fufu, eba, pounded yam etc..)

Note: If meat stock is a lot, it should be reduced to prevent the soup from turning out watery.

           You may also add a little palm oil, after adding leaves.

Medicinal value:

Ujuju leaves ( Myrianthus Arboreus)  are very rich in Vitamin A & C, Fibre, Protein, Iron and other mineral components. Research performed by both British and Nigerian researcher, have shown that high intake of this local vegetable can prevent, correct or treat health disorders such as stroke, arthritis, gallstones, diabetes, high blood pressure, among others.

Written by Sandra Omose.

Source: lifestyle

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