Oha (Ora) Soup – Ofe Oha

Oha Soup, popularly referred to as Ofe Oha by the Igbo people of Eastern Nigeria is an absolutely delicious traditional soup recipe. Oha soup isn’t exactly a go-to kind of soup because the main ingredient, Oha leaves, is a seasonal one. Traditionally, the leaves are shredded by hand and not with a knife or any other sharp object cos rumour has it that if the leaves are chopped with a knife, the soup will end up bitter.  I’ve never tried it and I never intend to, Oha leaves are too precious and hard to source to mess about with.

Oha Soup is traditionally thickened with Cocoyam though Achi or Ofor can also be used.

The people of Anambra prepare their Oha soup with Akwu (raw palm kernel oil) while the people of Imo state use Palm oil. I’ll be using Palm oil. Let’s cook!


Assorted meats (Beef, goat meat, Ponmo, Shaki are ideal)

2 Cooking Spoon Palm oil

1 Bunch Oha leaves

Handful Uziza Leaves or 1 Teaspoon ground Uziza seeds

3-4 Medium size Cocoyam (Ede)

Smoked Fish

Stockfish, the head especially (Okporoko)

4 Tablespoons Ground Crayfish

1 Tablespoon Ogiri Igbo

2-3 Yellow Scotch Bonnet

2 Maggi Crayfish

Salt to taste


These are the Oha and Uziza leaves. Ignore the state of the Oha leaves, these are pure gold in obodo oyinbo…?

oha soup

Soak and wash your Stockfish and Smoked fish with hot water to remove all traces of dirt, then set aside…

Start by boiling your meats, start with the tougher meats like Cow leg, Shaki first, also add the Stockfish. Add the Maggi crayfish and salt to taste, leave to cook till soft….

oha soup

While the meats are boiling, boil the Cocoyam with the skin on, do not add salt, boil till tender. This should take roughly 20 minutes on medium heat…


When the cocoyams are soft, gently peel the skin off and pound till smooth in a mortar, alternatively, chop them into small chunks and purée in your electric blender till smooth, then set aside…


Blend your yellow scotch bonnet peppers and set aside…


When the meats are soft, add the smoked fish and blended pepper, leave to combine for 5 minutes. You should end up with at least 4 cups of rich stock, if you don’t, add more water and seasoning if needed…

oha soup

You may want to remove the Smoked fish at this time if you don’t want it to disintegrate in the soup…

Add the Palm Oil….


And the crayfish and combine…

oha soup

Allow to boil for 6-8 minutes or until the oil is fully incorporated into the stock, then add the blended Cocoyam into the stock in small dollops, be careful not to add too much. The consistency should be semi fluid, though I prefer my slightly thick. Taste for salt/seasoning and adjust if necessary…


The Cocoyam will dissolve; thickening the soup, leave to fully dissolve and combine for 5-6 minutes, then add the Ogiri, leave for a minute then add the washed and chopped Uziza leaves or Uziza seeds, leave for a minute then add the Oha leaves, switch the heat off and leave to simmer with the residual heat for 2-3 minutes…

My Oha Leaves weren’t enough, hence the scantiness. Took nothing away from the taste though….

oha soup

And it’s ready. enjoy with any swallow of your choice!Oha soup


So, let’s hear from you when you’ve had the chance to replicate this easy yet delicious Oha soup recipe. See you soon. Cheers!

21 thoughts on “Oha (Ora) Soup – Ofe Oha

  1. Hi!
    I love your website and I especially love the look of the soup. I want to make it for my husband but I’ve got some questions. 1. I have dried oha and utazi leaves, will it still work? 2. I have Achi but no cocoyam, can I use the achi as replacement?
    3. Won’t cornflour serve the same thickening purpose?

  2. Am yoruba but I love Ibo soups. I want to try Oha but not sure if oha leaves are d same as basil leaves, I have coco yam and the rest of d ingredients. Thanks in advance for response.

  3. This is very good sisi but you need to try the Anambra method with palm kernel oil and lots of stockfish, how my mother makes it. Pls where can I get fresh Oha leaves. I live in Coventry.

    • I’ll definitely give it a try. It’s hard to get Palm kernels here and I’m not really a fan of canned ones. You can get fresh Oha leaves from African stores, I’m not familiar with Coventry so can’t recommend any, if you can’t find fresh keaves, frozen will do just fine.

Join the discussion!

Love Our Recipes? Then Stalk Us Here!