They are known as the leaves of the African Pterocarpus soyauxii /Pterocarpus mildbraedi tree. It is a traditional soup that is very similar to bitter leaf soup but the only difference is that it is prepared with Ora leaves.
Oha leaves used in preparing soup is special leaf, it is very tender leaf and seasonal, you mostly get to cook the soup during the spring time unlike bitter leaf which can be found anywhere all year round. Many people are so fond of this soup because the taste of the oha leaf, though the use of goes beyond its taste.
Oha soup is majorly prepared using cocoyam, but some people prepare oha soup with egusi, achi, ogbono etc. There are different species of oha leaf in preparing the oha soup.
The Ora(Oha) leaves found in Anambra are very big in size and it is the best to use for preparing oha soup with egusi, there is also Umuahia oha leaf, Nsukka oha leaf etc. Different species of ora leaves grows in the south eastern part of Nigeria.
Cocoyam is a very common tuber crop that is mostly used in Igboland has a base for their soups, Oha soup is one the soups. There are also different species of cocoyam but the best to use is Ede ofe as called in Igboland. Ede ofe is small in size compared to the other species of cocoyam. You need about 8 corms of it to prepare the oha soup.
Aside from the ora leaves and cocoyam used in making the oha soup, there are other major ingredients such as crayfish, palm oil, onions, assorted meats, dry fish, chili pepper etc. All these ingredients constitutes in making a delicious oha soup, some people can add more ingredients to it.
Oha is very nutritious and it contains basic minerals like, calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, potassium, manganese and zinc. It also acts as a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin C and amino acids such as glutamic acid cysteine. It is also very low in sodium.
Some people eat oha soup majorly because of its health benefits.
Health Benefits of Oha Soup
- It improves the digestion function: The presence of the dietary fiber helps to improve the digestion function and makes it absorb nutrient very well.
- It prevents constipation: The presence of fiber in oha leaf helps to prevents constipation. The fiber present in the oha leaf is very soft and tender which helps the digestive system to function well.
- It panels the blood glucose levels of the body: The dietary fiber of oha leaves absorb and distribute the calorie that is to be used in all organs of the body. It helps to prevent the increase of calorie which could lead increase in blood glucose level. Oha soup is very good for diabetic patients to help control their glucose level.
- It helps with the treatment of diarrhea: zinc mineral is present in ora leaves and it has the mechanism of protecting and repairing the intestinal mucosa. This mechanism helps the intestine to recover on time so that the diarrhea can be stopped on time.
- It helps to treat anemia: Ora leaves are very rich in iron and this helps to treat anemia. This iron mineral plays an important role in red blood cell creation of hemoglobin. Vitamin C also plays an important role in this health benefit because it absorbs iron well.
- It helps to maintain a good heart condition: Potassium in Oha leaves helps to maintain the contraction of the heart. It helps the heart to contract well and also helps the blood to be effectively pumped to all parts of the body.
- Improves eye sight: Ora leaves is a good source of vitamin A which helps to retain good eye sight and a strong immune system.
- It helps to reduce muscle cramp: Ora leaves contains magnesium mineral which helps in relaxing the muscles. This gives the leaf the capability to reduce muscle cramp
- It improves the function of the brain: The presence of glutamic acid an amino acid substance which is an important neurotransmitter helps to maintain the brain to function well. It also helps to treat brain disorder like schizophrenia.
- Helps with the formation of collagen: Collagen is an essential substance that helps to maintain a healthy skin. Ora leaves contains copper mineral which helps in the formation of collagen. This helps to create a healthy and young skin.
- It helps to treat malaria: The anti-microbial properties present in ora leaves helps to treat malaria. This anti-microbial agent is capable of killing the parasite that can causes malaria.
From the above health benefits, you can see that is oha soup should be in our regular diet.
- A bunch of Oha(oha) leaves
- 8 small-sized cocoyam corms
- 3 cooking spoons Red Palm Oil
- Assorted Meats or beef
- 1 large Dried fish
- Stock fish
- Chilli pepper
- 1 handful of Crayfish
- salt (to taste)
- 2 Stock cubes
- 11/2 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo or iru
- 1 medium-sized onions
Steps to take before you start cooking
- Wash your cocoyam properly with water to do away with the dirt and sand, then put it in a pot, pour water enough to cover the cocoyam and boil it until it becomes soft.
- After the cocoyam is boiled drain out the hot water, peel the brown skin off, then pound the cocoyam in a mortar and pestle.
This can also be done in a blender to get a soft stretchy paste. See how to make cocoyam paste in a blender.
- Rinse the dried fish and stock fish with salt and hot water. Remove bones in the dry fish then rinse and set aside for later use.
N.B: Leave your stock fish in the hot water in order to become tenderize.
- Blend the crayfish, ogiri or iru and the chilli pepper together then set aside later for use.
- Shred or slice the oha leaves and set aside.
- Wash your meats and put it in a pot. Add in your onions, seasoning cubes and salt. Let the meat boil in its juice for few minutes, then add in the stock fish, add more water and cook until it is soft or tender. If it turns out to be tender, add the dried fish, and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
- Add in the palm oil, the blended mix of ogiri, crayfish and pepper then add the cocoyam paste.
- Stir properly, and then leave to simmer until the cocoyam dissolves and the soup is thickened.
- Add the shredded Oha leaves, then let cook for about 3 minutes, turn off the heat.
- Your delicious oha soup is ready to be eaten.
- It can be eaten with any swallow of your choice.