Otong soup is a popular traditional Okra soup recipe from the Efik people of Cross river, South Eastern Nigeria. Otong soup is very similar to the Yoruba Okra Soup; Ila Alasepo. The major difference is the addition of Ugu leaves which isn’t a requirement in the preparation of Ila Alasepo.
If you cant source Ugu leaves, you can use spinach, Water leaves or Kale instead. If you cant source Uziza leaves, which is optional anyway, you can use ground Uziza seeds insead.
30-40 pieces Fresh Okra
1 Cooking spoon Palm oil
Assorted meats (Shaki, Ponmo, Cowfoot, Beef, Goat meat and Offals are ideal)
2-3 Pieces Stock fish
2 Medium size Smoked fish
Fresh prawns (Optional)
1 Cooking spoon Crayfish
2 Cups Chopped and washed Ugu leaves (substitute for Spinach, Water leaves or Kale)
Handful Uziza leaves, chopped and washed (Optional)
2-3 Scotch Bonnet (Ideally Yellow Nsukka Pepper)
Knorr Chicken Cubes/ Maggi Crayfish
Salt to taste
Pound in a mortar or chop the Okra with a processor. I prefer to chop 3/4 finely with a food processor then chop the rest by hand cos I love my Okra with a bit of crunch. If you want it chunky all through, with little or no elasticity, then you can chop the entire Okra. I prefer mine both ways.
Clean the Smoked Fish and soak in hot water to remove all traces of dirt, shred and set aside.
Chop or blend the Scotch Bonnet and set aside. Also blend the Onion and set aside…
Boil the meats, starting with tougher meats like Shaki, Cow foot, Ponmo, add softer meats as you go. Start by transferring the meats into a big pot, add blended Onions, Salt and Bouillon cubes, do not add water, allow the meats to sweat out. Stir from time to time and allow to steam for 5 minutes..
After 5 minutes, add enough water to cook the meats, cover and cook till soft. When the meats are soft, add the Stockfish and leave to soften for 6-8 minutes..
Then add chopped Pepper and half of the Crayfish…
Add the Smoked/ fresh Prawns, and shredded smoked Catfish, leave for 2 minutes….
Add the Palm oil and leave to boil for 2-3 minutes. Use Palm oil sparingly, unlike Ila Alasepo, Otong soup requires very little palm oil..
Now, add the Okra, combine and leave to cook for a minute…
Once the okra is added, do not cover the pot till you’re done cooking. covering will affect the elasticity of your Otong soup.
Add the Ugu and Uziza leaves, combine and leave to cook for 2 minutes…
Add the rest of the Crayfish..
Switch the heat off, then allow to simmer with the residual heat for 2 minutes…
Your Otong Soup is ready! Enjoy with your preferred Swallow!
Will be waiting on your feedback when you’ve had the chance to replicate this easy Otong soup recipe. See you soon!