Ugba Soup

a-to-z-letters-uTrying to find food for the letter ‘U’ was not easy.  Thankfully, Google is my friend and this is what I found.  Naturally, this is a new one on me, but when I read the name of it from the list of Celtnet, it sounded interesting.  Thankfully, they do give a few alternatives since some items cannot be found easily outside of West Africa.

Here is what Celtnet gave on this soup:

This is a traditional Nigerian recipe from the Igbo peoples for a classic stew of oil beans, okra, pumpkin leaf, ground snail and fish with hot chilli powder and Maggi cubes. This is a classic soup (a stew to be served with pounded yam, fufu etc.) from the Igbo peoples of Nigeria. Ugba is the African oil bean (the beans themselves, rather than the pod) which has been sliced thinly and then fermented. They do not last very long, and are not often found outside West Africa. This soup can be made without the ugba, or you can substitute sliced, fresh, broad or fava beans, which though they do not give the same flavor at least approximate the texture and dietary value.

I think I may have to give a variation of this a try.



60 g ugba (sliced and fermented oil beans)

20 okra, finely sliced into rings

1 bunch of ugu leaves (fluted pumpkin leaf) [use any squash leaf], finely shredded

100 ml red palm oil

4 tbsp dried and ground crayfish (prawns)

6 pieces of giant African land snails (optional)

1 medium piece of dried and smoked fish, washed and flaked

6 pieces of beef (about 80 g each)

1 piece of stock-fish (dried fish), soaked for at least 2 hours

salt, to taste

hot chilli powder, to taste

2 Maggi (or beef stock) cubes


Combine the beef and stock fish in a large pot. Add just enough water to barely cover then bring to a simmer, cover the pot and cook for 60 minutes (add more water as needed). Pour in the palm oil and cook for a further 10 minutes then add the ground crayfish, chilli powder, snail, flaked dried fish and bring to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes more before adding the sliced okra. Continue cooking for 5 minutes then add the ugu and cook for 5 minutes before adding the shredded ugba. Continue cooking until the greens have wilted then serve hot, accompanied by fufu, eba or pounded yam.

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