Nigerian Soups

how to make bitter-leaf soup

Welcome to ChowHub

We will learn how to make bitter leaf soup today.

Bitter leaf soup also known Ofe-onugbu in the eastern part of Nigeria is a popular Nigerian soup. Ofe means soup  while  Onugbu is means bitter leaf in Ibo language

Some people shy away from this soup because they think it is bitter according to the name it bears, on the contrary this soup is very delicious and tasty. The bitter leaves to be used are washed thoroughly to remove all traces of bitterness.

Bitter leaf soup can made with cocoyam,egusi( melon seeds), ofor, achi or ogbonno but we will be using the most popular one which is cocoyam, together with  meat, fish, crayfish and bitter leaf.

Vernonia amygdalina is commonly called bitter leaf due to its peculiar bitter taste. Bitter leaf is common in most West African and Central African countries. They are one of the most widely consumed leaf vegetables in Nigeria. Some common names of bitter leaf in Nigeria is ewuro( Yoruba), onugbu(Igbo), ityuna(Tiv),  oriwo ( Edo), shakwa shuwaka ( Hausa),  etidot( Ibibo) . It is called ndole in Cameroon.

Some health benefit of bitter leaf

  • Bitter leaf posses medicinal value, it can be used  for the treatment of malaria,diarrhea, and  stomach upset.
  • Vernonia amygdalina ( bitter leaf)  speeds up body metabolism and so it is great for weight loss
  • Bitter leaf has been said to soothe and cure pile
  • This  leaf also contains other nutrients like fiber,protein, and minerals like zinc,iron,calcium,potassium, phosphorus.
  • Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant mineral found in bitter leaves that has a special role in the body which is the maintenance of bones and teeth as well as prevention of deficiencies associated with this essential vitamin
  • Scientifically, it has been proven that bitter leaf contains plant compounds which contribute to its bitter taste and play a vital role in moderating the blood sugar level and promoting normal insulin function.This compound in bitter leaf hinders the rising of glucose in the blood which leads to the risks of diabetes

  • Bitter leaf has also been mixed with other herbal preparations in an alternative medicine experiment on breast cancer and was found effective.
  • Another nutrient in bitter leaf, which is vitamins E serves as an antioxidant that fights against free radicals which have harmful effects on the body system
  •  Vitamin B1, Thiamine is an important dietary supplement occurring naturally in bitter leaf that helps to oxidize fatty acids in other to produce the synthesis of lipids.

Cocoyam is  a common tuber crop that is often used in making soup especially in the eastern part of Nigeria.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.

Some Health benefit of cocoyam include

CANCER PREVENTION: High level of vitamin A, vitamin C, and various other phenolic antioxidants found in cocoyam help to boost immune system and help eliminate dangerous free radicals from our system.Free radicals are actually the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that may result in healthy cells to mutate and turn into cancerous cells.By eliminating these free radicals, our general health is almost guaranteed.

REDUCE SYMPTOMS OF RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS: Cocoyam is extremely beneficial for overcoming rheumatoid arthritis because low levels of vitamin B6 are related to increased signs of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), like more severe pains.Vitamin B6 benefits include curbing pain and it can be useful in supplement form for controlling aches in the muscles and joints owing to arthritis.

BLOOD PRESSURE AND HEART HEALTH: Cocoyam consists of considerable amount of potassium, which is considered essential minerals that are essentially needed to remain healthy and efficient.. Potassium not only enables healthy fluid transfers between membranes and tissues throughout the body, but also helps to relieve stress and pressure on blood vessels and arteries.

IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTH:Cocoyam plays an important role in the immune system. Vitamin C is found in cocoyam, which helps to encourage immune system to create more white blood cells, which help to defend the body from foreign pathogens and agents. Additionally vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, which moderately prevents the development of conditions such as heart disease and cancer.

DIGESTIVE HEALTH:Cocoyam plays an important role in digestion because it consists of high level of dietary fiber (a single serving contains 11.32% of the daily requirement of dietary fiber). Fiber is very important for supporting our gastrointestinal health. Fiber helps to add bulk to our bowel movements, thus helping food move through the digestive tract and facilitating improved digestion. Apart from that, it can help to prevent certain conditions like excess gas, cramping, bloating, constipation and even diarrhea.

DIABETES:If you have diabetes, then fiber-rich foods like cocoyam can help prevent the spikes and plunges in blood sugar that can be so hazardous.Apart from proper bowel movement dietary fiber can also help lower the chances of developing diabetes because it helps to regulate the release of insulin and glucose in the body. If you consume sufficient amount of Cocoyam in your regular diet then you can manage your glycemic levels and lower your chances of developing diabetes.

CIRCULATION STIMULATION:Cocoyam consists of several mineral contents. But the presence of iron and copper in Cocoyam make it an important food to prevent anemia and boost circulation throughout the body. Both iron and copper are essential for the production of red blood cells that carry the all-important oxygen to our body’s systems and cells.

I guess we will agree with me that cocoyam is very nutritious and adding it to our soups is in our own advantage!!!

Since we have seen the nutritonal benefits this tasty soup has to offer,  I believe we will try it as soon as possible!!!

These are the ingredient to be used

  • A bunch of Bitter  leaves
  • 8 small-sized cocoyam corms
  • 3 cooking spoons Red Palm Oil
  • Assorted Meats or beef
  • Ponmo
  • 1 large Dried fish
  • Stock fish
  • Chilli pepper
  • 1 handful of Crayfish
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 Stock cubes
  • 11/2 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo
  • 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  and the chilli pepper together then set aside later for use.
  • rinse the bitterleaf, then wash thoroughly, if the bitter taste is still persistent, then boil tyhe leaves for 15 minutes. drain and set aside.


  • Wash the meats and ponmo  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 bitter leaves, then let it cook for about 3 minutes, turn off the heat.
  • Your delicious  bitter leaf soup is ready to be eaten.
  • It can be eaten with any swallow of your choice.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *