Ofe Nsala (or fondly called White soup) is one that is loved by many; including my humble self. At the sound of the name, one will think it is going to be stark white. At least, that’s what I thought!!! But in its appropriate context, it means that “no palm oil is added.”
It originates from the southern part of Nigeria, particularly the Igbos. But, the Igbos are not the only consumers of this dish. The Efiks, who originate from Akwa Ibom state also chime in this soup consumption as well. The versions of preparation are slightly different between the Igbos and the Efiks in the addition of several ingredients.
It is a rather “rich” soup, in terms of taste, cost and the ingredients. It is indeed a delightful sight to see how my Yoruba friends enjoy this delicacy.
So, what do we need to prepare the Almighty white soup?
✓Assorted meat or chicken
✓Catfish (1 medium size)
✓Stock fish (3 pieces)
✓ White yam/cocoyam/potato puree: used for the purpose of thickening the soup
✓Dry chilli peppers/Habanero and onions
✓Ogiri (a chunk of it)
✓Scent leaves; also known as Uziza leaves
✓Utazi leaves (moist or dry)
Now that we have gotten our ingredients, let’s explore the preparation of this delicious soup in five steps.
Peel, boil and pound the yam/cocoyam into a smooth paste. In the absence of the above ingredients, you could opt for yam/potato puree.
NB: The use of catfish (alone) is mainly attributed to the Igbo’s way of preparing Ofe Nsala. But for the Efiks, they may or may not use the catfish. They mostly add assorted meat, goat meat, dry fish and sometimes snail. It is usually a full pot.
Wash the catfish and cut into three to four pieces; add hot water on the catfish to prevent it from breaking in the soup.
Efik style: In addition, wash and add the meat or chicken, assorted meat and fish into a pot of water. Then add cut onions, seasoning and salt to taste. Boil till it’s soft.
PS: Gage your water level depending on the quantity of your ingredients so that the soup will neither be too watery or too thick.
Once confirmed soft, add the dry chilli peppers, crayfish (ground), Uziza seeds and utazi leaves. You might want to be cautious in the quantity of utazi leaves added to the soup. This is because of the bitter taste, so go easy on it. The same thing goes for the Uziza seeds due to spicy taste.
Add the pounded yam or the other substitutes to the mix. Check frequently to monitor the process of thickening. Peradventure the soup is not thick to your taste, you can add more of the pounded yam. If your choice is a slightly watery soup, add few pieces of the pounded yam.
Cook for the next few minutes and viola, you have your tasty, lip smacking Ofe Nsala live and direct!!!!!!
Serve with Pounded yam, Eba, Fufu (the type that bounces back when thrown to the wall, LoL) and Amala.
Here are two videos on how to prepare the White Soup; the first is a quick 1 minute video while the other is slow for first-timers!!