5 Amazing African Soups To Try When Visiting

    Soups which got the name from the French word “soupe” has been in existence since time immemorial. According to the Oxford dictionary, Soups are generally a liquid dish, typically savory and made by boiling meats, fish, or vegetables but who needs a definition when a soup is synonymous with delicious.

    The only time a soup meal goes wrong is when either when the consumer has lost his or her sense of taste or when it’s poorly prepared. The first is unfortunately unavoidable due to the fact we are humans and we can come down with an ailment but the truth is when it comes to a badly prepared soup, the chef has a lot of questions to answer.

    It doesn’t need sugar to excite the taste buds, it doesn’t need to have honey extracts to blow the mind. Good food makes one happy by stimulating the release of serotonin. Actually, good food is like an ecstasy pill and soup is not just good food but a perfect meal.

    There are varieties of African soups and every region has a peculiar soup. Thanks to the world being a global village, we have access to every recipe from all corners of the globe most especially African soups. The availability of the ingredients makes this possible.

    Here is a list of some African soups, perfect for every weather, which suits every hunger and fits every mood.

    Here are the most popular African soups

    Egusi Soup – An all-time favorite African soup

    Egusi - African Soup
    Image from potofsoups

    This soup is a crowd favorite and can be seen on almost 60% of occasions in Nigeria. Egusi (melon seed soup) got its name from the main ingredient which is the melon seed.

    The melon seed is a protein and oil-rich seed which gives the soup a peculiar taste after it’s dried and grounded finely. The recipe can be personalized and a few things will be added according to the chef but no matter how it is being prepared, it has a general procedure for preparation.

    Let us run through the ingredients needed for this mouth-watering African soup experience. For feeding a full house of maybe 6 members, you’ll need,

    • 3 cups of egusi (melon seed).
    • 2 cooking spoons of red oil.
    • Meat. This can never be excessive in egusi soup.
    • Fish; stockfish or dry fish goes best and it brings out a sizzling aroma when the soup is fully prepared.
    • 2 medium onions
    • About 3 tablespoon size of ground crayfish.
    • Chopped Vegetables; depending on how you want the taste to turn out, use the bitter leaf to give you that bitter taste, or if you want to go for a softer option, we have the vegetable leaf or the fluted pumpkin leaf(ugu). Know this, vegetables are added last to preserve the vitamin and mineral content of the leaves.
    • Stock cubes should be added to taste.
    • Salt and pepper which just like the stock cubes, should be added to taste.

    Such a short list of ingredients for such a heaven-sent meal right? It doesn’t take as much effort too, just put off the TV for about 20 minutes and move into the kitchen to whip up this dish. Surely the glory walks from the kitchen to the dining area, is worth your sacrifice. Yummy! You’re sure to have a finger-licking experience.

    It can be prepared in two ways:

    • The Frying Method: In this method, the egusi is fried in red oil before any other ingredient is added.
    • The Boiling method: In this method, the egusi is added after palm oil is added to the cooking or stock water and left to boil for about 5 minutes.

    The frying method is considered quite amateur because the kitchen gets quite smokey due to the oil bleaching. To further elucidate how this African soup is prepared, let’s go with a step-by-step process.

    Step 1: You start by steaming the proteins (the meat, stockfish, or dry fish).

    Step 2: In a dry pot, add the red oil, and heat it till the oil is slightly bleached.

    Step 3: Add the desired amount of grounded egusi and keep stirring for about a minute till the egusi is colored with the oil. Then add little water to disrupt the frying process.

    Step 4: Add stock and the steamed meat, fish to the fried egusi, and add the crayfish, spices, all to taste.

    Step 5: Allow the mixture to boil so the raw taste the egusi had will gradually be cooked out. This is cooked for about 5-15 minutes depending on the heat source.

    Step 6: Add your vegetables to the meal. This gives it a distinct taste.


    The second method which is the more popular method is the boiling method. This is pretty straightforward and has no rigorous bleaching of oil which is harmful to people allergic to smoke and asthmatic patients too. Basically, you cannot afford to miss out on this delicacy.

    Step 1: Steam your proteins.

    Step 2: Add your chopped onions and palm oil to the stock. And allow boiling for about 3 minutes to remove the corrosive and raw oil taste.

    Step 3: add your egusi and stir till it’s evenly spread to avoid clustering of the egusi particles. You don’t want to have to taste raw egusi when they cluster together and more so the soup deserves the best treatment because it gives you all you can ask for. It’s just a perfect mood so handle it with care.

    Step 4: add your condiments, pepper, and salt and allow them to cook.

    Step 5: This is always the last thing you add. The finely chopped vegetables are added to the soup.

    A friendly reminder, Do not boil the vegetables for too long as I said earlier to avoid degrading the vitamins which are highly heat-sensitive.


    How to enjoy this delicious African soup

    This soup can be smacked on with either cassava flakes (Garri or eba), semovita, amala, pounded yam, fufu, or occasionally rice depending on your mood and what’s available. Hope you tried it out, do leave a like and comments on how helpful this recipe is to you.


    Healthy benefits of egusi soup

    • Prevents diabetes: Diabetes occurs when your body is unable to respond to insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar) and/or when it is unable to produce sufficient insulin. The egusi seed oil also reduced blood sugar levels in mice with diabetes.
    • Lower lipid levels: High blood levels of lipids (fat, cholesterol, and triglycerides) in your blood can increase your risk of heart disease. Ground egusi seeds lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels in patients with high blood lipid levels.
    • Prevents bacterial infections: Extracts from egusi plants, fruits, and seeds prevent bacterial infections. Egusi fruits contain active chemicals that kill common bacteria like Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Salmonella typhimurium. Egusi fruit extracts are as effective as the antibiotic drug, novobiocin in treating patients with staphylococcal (bacterial) infections.
    • Source of antioxidants: Antioxidants are an essential component of your diet because they neutralize harmful free radicals that cause diseases like cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease. They are typically present in fruits, and egusi is no exception. Egusi fruit extracts are a rich source of antioxidants and studies have proven their ability to neutralize several free radicals.
    • Stimulates hair growth: Egusi extracts are used in Ayurvedic medicine for hair growth. These extracts are effective in increasing the number of hair follicles in animal studies. Minoxidil is the standard treatment for hair loss in men and can be effective in women. In animal studies, egusi extracts were more effective than minoxidil in treating hair loss.


    Nutrition Facts

    Egusi seed is a rich source of protein and omega-6 fatty acids. Similar to most plant oils, it mainly contains unsaturated fatty acids. Its seed oil is a good source of natural antioxidants like vitamin E and ß-carotene.

    Egusi seed is a good source of potassium and calcium, minerals that regulate blood pressure. It is also a rich source of magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc.

    And just like all plant foods, egusi is naturally cholesterol-free.


    The healthy vegetable African Soup

    vegetable soup-African soup
    Image from miro.medium

    When it comes to general acceptance, this African soup competes with egusi soup for the top spot, and just like egusi soup, it got its name from the primary ingredient used which are chopped fluted pumpkin leaves and waterleaf.

    It’s a thick soup with vegetables located at all corners of the pot. It is very similar to afang soup the physical difference is the variation in leaves. Afang soup is prepared with Afang vegetables (okazi) and waterleaf. The ingredients needed for this can be found not far away from any local market around you. They are;

    Here are the ingredients needed to prepare this delicious African soup:

    • 0.5 kilos of roasted/dried fish;
    • 1 cup of crayfish;
    • 10 to 12 cups of waterleaf;
    • 6 cups of ugu leaf;
    • 1 cup of palm oil;
    • Average-sized stockfish head
    • Meat you prefer (assorted is the best);
    • Salt and pepper to taste;
    • 3-4 cubes of Maggi or Knorr;
    • 1 cup of periwinkles (to taste);
    • Two tablespoons of ofor or achi;
    • Half a cup of onions.

    The measurements may be adjusted if you would like to cook more or less food.



    • Rinse the meat under water and put it in a large pot. Add the onion, spices, and cook the mixture for half an hour.
    • Wash the crayfish and periwinkles under cool water and add them to the pan. Wait until the meat is about 3/4 soft compared to full readiness.
    • Rinse the stockfish head in hot water to get rid of dirt and sand, mix it with the rest of the ingredients. If the fish is very dry, add it at the very beginning.
    • Slice ugu and waterleaves into small pieces. It’s convenient to buy already sliced leaves. Sellers often slice the leaves themselves. If you need to cut the leaves yourself, use a chopping board and a sharp knife.
    • Put the leaves in separate dishes and rinse them with water to get rid of sand. Ugu can be washed before slicing, but you have to wash waterleaves after cutting.
    • Add 1 cup of palm oil (250 millilitres) to the boiling ingredients.
    • Add spices according to your taste. The dish should then be cooked for another 10 minutes. Make sure all ingredients boil with a little water.
    • Mix the soup, taste it a little and decide whether you need to add spices before putting waterleaves in.
    • Stir and wait for 3 more minutes before adding the waterleaves.
    • Mix and add seafood, periwinkle, Knorr, or Maggi.
    • If desired, add ground ofor or achi (1 big spoon). Then add your ugu leaves.

    That’s all! You just cooked mouth-watering soup. Enjoy its special taste. Invite relatives and friends to dinner. They are guaranteed to appreciate your cooking skills. Complement the feast with a second dish like fufu or semovita.

    With those simple steps, you now know how to prepare vegetable soup with ugu and waterleaf. Bon appétit!


    Health benefits of vegetable soup

    It may surprise you to hear that not only are soups a great option nutritionally but certain types of soup have also been proven to help support weight loss.

    In particular, vegetable-based soups are a great option nutritionally as they combine a high nutrient density with a low energy density – this means that we get lots of key nutrients including vitamins and minerals for relatively few calories. At a time where foods with a high-energy density and low-nutrient density such as white bread, snack foods, sugar-based drinks, and high-fat fast foods dominate our intake, a low-calorie option that fills us up is a much better option for optimal health.

    Studies have repeatedly shown that when diners consume a low-calorie vegetable-based soup before their main meal, they consume up to 20% fewer calories at a meal. The reason is simple. Basically, the bulk of the soup helps to fill us up so we eat less. Nutritionally this is also beneficial as the nutrients found in vegetables including many water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin B, C, K as well as dietary fiber and a range of minerals, also help to regulate the digestive tract and ensure that we get the number of key nutrients we need each and every day.

    In addition to this, eating soup has an extra benefit from a weight and fluid retention perspective; soups that have a base of leeks, onions, and celery are also particularly high in the mineral potassium. As potassium helps to bind excess sodium, it helps to rid the body of excess fluid. As many of us carry fluid and regularly feel bloated thanks to a high-salt diet and a lack of activity, dropping as little as 500g of body weight after a few vegetable soups, even if it is just fluid can make us feel lighter and leaner instantly.

    Naturally, homemade soups are the best option. This way you can control the type and amounts of vegetables that you use to make your soup as well as choose to use salt-reduced stocks and a few other additives. Pre-made soups and packet soup mixes tend to be exceptionally high in sodium (salt) with the average packet soup containing a massive 800-1200mg of sodium or a third to half of your total daily sodium limit. Premade soups also tend to be relatively low in protein and high in carbohydrates thanks to their base being potato starch. If you must seek out a pre-made soup option, look for varieties that contain <20g total carbohydrates per serve and <800mg of sodium.


    Ewedu soup

    ewedu soup-african soup
    Image from 9jafoodie

    This African soup will forever remain one of the most popular Nigerian soups, particularly amongst the Yoruba ethnic group. Ewedu leaves are also known as Jute or Molokhia leaves. Ewedu is highly nutritious and has been proven to aid weight loss.


    Here are the ingredients needed to prepare this delicious African soup:

    • I Big Bunch of Ewedu Leaves
    • 2 Cups of Water
    • 1 Tablespoon Locust Beans (Iru)
    • 1 Heaped tablespoon Ground Crayfish
    • 1 Bouillon cube, I’m using 1/2 Maggi Crayfish
    • Salt to taste



    Step 1: Pick your Ewedu leaves, make sure you don’t pick the stalk/stem along with it.

    Step 2: Wash the leaves thoroughly to rid them of dirt. Pour the water into a medium-size pan, place on a bob on medium heat, bring to a rolling boil.

    Step 3: Wash the leaves thoroughly to rid them of dirt. Pour the water into a medium-size pan, place on a bob on medium heat, bring to a rolling boil.

    Step 4: Wash the leaves thoroughly to rid them of dirt. Pour the water into a medium-size pan, place on a bob on medium heat, bring to a rolling boil.

    Step 5: Transfer the Ewedu back into the pan, add the ground crayfish, bouillon cube, and salt to taste

    Step 6: Switch off the heat and let it simmer with the residual heat for 3 minutes….stir occasionally to prevent burning. Do not overcook or the Ewedu will go brown.

    Ewedu is perfectly matched with amala because it’s a match made in heaven. But it can also be eaten with pounded yam, eba, and fufu.


    Miyar kuka

    Miyar kuka-african soup
    Image from cookpad

    In case you’re wondering if that’s food, yes it is a delicious African soup. This is indigenous to the northern part of Nigeria but due to how delicious it is, it’s sold in almost every part of the country.

    This soup is rich in calcium, phosphorus, and potassium amongst the micronutrients needed by the body. Its main ingredient is the baobab leaves which is a good deoxidant that cleans up the system and is also used in the treatment of various diseases like malaria, diarrhea, tuberculosis just to name a few. The ingredients needed for this African soup delicacy is as follows;

    • 3 tablespoons Kuka powder (dry baobab leaf
    • Powder)
    • 1kg cow ribs (cut into pieces)
    • 2 dry cat fish
    • 2 cooking spoons red palm oil
    • 2 handfuls crayfish (2 tablespoons ground crayfish)
    • 1 flat round Dawa Dawa (ogiri okpei, iru, locust beans)
    • Habanero pepper (atarugu, ose oyibo, atarodo)
    • 1 onion
    • 2 big seasoning cubes
    • Salt (to your taste)

    The quantity of Miyan Kuka soup that the following quantities of ingredients will give you depends on the consistency you like for your soups. As you cook the soup, add water to bring it to the consistency you like. Some people like it quite watery, others like it moderately thick.


    Before you cook Miyan Kuka:

    • Soak the dry cat fish in some cool or lukewarm water. When soft, clean thoroughly and debone.
    • Grind the crayfish and ogiri okpei with a spice/coffee grinder.
    • Grind or pound the pepper.
    • Cut the onion into big chunks. I use chunks of onion whetime want the flavor of onion but not pieces of onion in what I am cooking.
    • Boil some water and set it aside, you may need it.


    Cooking Directions for Miyan Kuka:

    • Cook the cow ribs with seasoning cubes and onion.
    • When the meat is done, turn off the heat, remove the chunks of onion then take out the meat from the beef stock.
    • Add the Kuka powder, spreading over the meat stock as you add. Then stir very well with a slotted spoon to ensure that you get a smooth mix without lumps.
    • Add the pepper, crayfish, and Dawa Dawa blend and palm oil. Stir very well.
    • Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring it from time to time. Kuka is very much like ogbono hence sticks to the bottom of the pot if not stirred often.
    • After 5 minutes, add the cooked beef and some salt if necessary. Stir very well.
    • Cover and once it boils again, it is done!

    This amazing African soup is best eaten with tuwo shinkafa.



    Okra soup – one of the most popular African soup

    okra soup-african soup


    This African soup is one of the most popular delicacies in Nigeria. The dish is not only full of nutrients, but it is also quite tasty. If you would like to prepare the soup, then you need the help of some tasty okra soup recipes. This soup barely does any wrong because it stings the tastebuds just right. In case you’ve never had one, here are the ingredients you need for this mouth-watering delicacy.

    • Diced okra
    • Palm oil
    • Fish: iced fish, dry fish, stock fish, beef, shaki (cow tripe)
    • Pepper
    • Salt
    • Vegetables: Nigerian pumpkin leaves(ugu)
    • Onions
    • Crayfish
    • Boullion cubes


     Method of preparing this delicious African soup:

    • To begin with, heat the butter in a saucepan until it melts.
    • Add the palm oil.
    • Add the chopped onion and parsley and cook until they are soft.
    • Add garlic and cook for only a little until you can smell the fragrance.
    • Immediately add thyme, both peppers, and salt and keep on cooking for another couple of minutes.
    • Add the veget-okra stock, water, and tomatoes. Cook for 30 minutes over medium heat.
    • It’s time to add okra. Cook the soup with okro for 20 to 25 minutes more or as much as needed for the okro to become soft and tender.
    • Add pumpkin leaves, and cook for a couple of minutes.

    Like other African soups earlier, you can eat it with any fufu, semo, eba, and pounded yam.




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