How to Cook Nigerian Ogbono Soup: Hot Recipes

by Hobeth HD, on May 15th 2024

Nigerian Ogbono Soup
Nigerian Ogbono Soup

Nigerian Ogbono Soup is a delicious and hearty stew that is loved by many. Made with Ogbono seeds, meats, fish, and simmered in broth, this traditional dish showcases the rich flavors and culinary heritage of Nigeria. If you’re looking to explore Nigerian cuisine or simply want to try something new in your kitchen, this step-by-step guide will help you master the art of cooking Ogbono Soup.

Definition and Description:

Ogbono soup, also known as draw soup, is a traditional Nigerian dish that originated from the Igbo ethnic group. The soup gets its name from the main ingredient, which is Ogbono seeds. These seeds are obtained from the African wild mango tree and are ground into a powder or paste for use in cooking.

Ingredients And Cooking Method


For the Soup

  • 1 cup of ground ogbono seeds
  • 1/2 cup of palm oil
  • 2 cups of assorted meats (beef, goat meat, or chicken)
  • 1 cup of assorted fish (dry fish, stockfish, or fresh fish)
  • 1 cup of assorted offals (shaki, cow skin, etc.) (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of ground crayfish
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ground pepper (or to taste)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 cubes of seasoning (Maggi or Knorr)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of ground uziza seeds (optional for a spicy kick)
  • 4 cups of water or meat stock

For the Vegetables

  • 2 cups of chopped spinach or ugu (fluted pumpkin leaves)
  • 1 cup of chopped bitter leaf (washed to reduce bitterness) (optional)


Preparing the Ingredients

  1. Prepare the Meats and Fish: Clean and cut the assorted meats, fish, and offals into bite-sized pieces. If using dry fish or stockfish, soak them in warm water for a few minutes to soften, then remove bones and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Season and Cook the Meats: In a large pot, add the assorted meats and offals. Season with salt, chopped onions, and one seasoning cube. Add enough water to cover the meat and cook on medium heat until the meat is tender. This may take 30-45 minutes depending on the type of meat. Remove the meat from the broth and set aside. Reserve the broth for later use.
  3. Prepare the Ogbono: In a small bowl, combine the ground ogbono seeds with a little palm oil to form a paste. This helps to dissolve the ogbono easily in the soup without forming lumps.

Cooking the Soup

  1. Heat the Palm Oil: In a large pot, heat the palm oil over medium heat until it is hot but not smoking. Be careful not to overheat the oil as it can become bitter.
  2. Dissolve the Ogbono: Add the ogbono paste to the heated palm oil, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, allowing the ogbono to fully dissolve and thicken.
  3. Add the Broth: Gradually add the reserved meat broth to the pot, stirring continuously to combine with the dissolved ogbono. Ensure there are no lumps. If the mixture is too thick, add more water or broth to achieve your desired consistency.
  4. Add the Seasonings: Stir in the ground crayfish, ground pepper, ground uziza seeds (if using), remaining seasoning cubes, and minced garlic. Adjust the salt to taste. Let the soup cook for another 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
  5. Add the Meats and Fish: Add the cooked meats, offals, and assorted fish to the pot. Stir well to combine. Let the soup simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, allowing the meats and fish to absorb the flavors of the soup.
  6. Add the Vegetables: Finally, add the chopped spinach, ugu, or bitter leaf to the pot. Stir to combine and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender but still vibrant.


Ogbono soup with eba

Serve Hot

Nigerian ogbono soup is best served hot. It can be enjoyed with various side dishes like pounded yam, fufu, eba, or rice.


    • Vegetable Variety: You can use other leafy greens like kale, collard greens, or waterleaf as substitutes for spinach or ugu.
    • Protein Alternatives: Feel free to use any combination of meats, fish, or seafood according to your preference.
    • Adjusting Consistency: If the soup is too thick, you can add more water or broth to reach your desired consistency.

    FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

    Can I use pre-ground Ogbono powder instead of whole seeds?

    Yes, you can substitute pre-ground Ogbono powder for whole seeds. However, be aware that the texture and viscosity of the soup may vary slightly when using the powder.

    What should I do if my Ogbono Soup turns out too thick?

    If your Ogbono Soup turns out too thick, you can simply add more broth or water to achieve the desired consistency. Stir well and adjust the seasoning as needed.

    Is Ogbono Soup spicy? Can I adjust the heat level?

    Ogbono Soup can be made spicy by adding hot peppers or chili flakes. You can certainly adjust the heat level to your preference by increasing or decreasing the amount of spicy ingredients used in the recipe

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