Okro soup, also known as okra soup, is a popular dish in many West African countries, including Nigeria and Ghana. It’s a delicious and nutritious soup made with okra (ladyfingers), various vegetables, and often some kind of protein like meat or seafood. Here’s a basic recipe for preparing okro soup
For the soup base:
- 250g (about 8-10) fresh okra pods
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons palm oil or vegetable oil
- 1-2 teaspoons ground crayfish (dried shrimp or crayfish)
- 1-2 teaspoons ground pepper (adjust to your preferred level of spiciness)
- 2-3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- Salt and pepper to taste
Optional protein choices:
- 250g (about 1/2 lb) of chicken, beef, or goat meat (cut into bite-sized pieces)
- 250g (about 1/2 lb) of shrimp, prawns, or fish fillets
- Smoked fish or dried fish for added flavor
For the vegetable garnish:
- 1-2 cups chopped spinach, kale, or other leafy greens
- 1-2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1-2 scotch bonnet or habanero peppers (adjust to your preferred level of spiciness), finely chopped (optional)
- Prepare the okra: Wash and trim the ends of the okra pods. Grate or finely chop them. You can use a food processor for this if you prefer. Set aside.
- Prepare the protein (if using): Season the meat or seafood with salt, pepper, and any desired spices. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pot over medium heat. Brown the meat or seafood until cooked through. If using smoked or dried fish, soak it in warm water for about 15 minutes to soften it.
- Make the soup base: In the same pot, add the remaining oil. Sauté the chopped onions and garlic until they become translucent. Add the ground crayfish and pepper, and stir for a minute to release their flavors.
- Add the broth: Pour in the chicken or vegetable broth and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Allow it to cook for about 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
- Add the okra: Stir in the grated or chopped okra. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the okra becomes tender and the soup thickens.
- Add the protein: If you’re using meat or seafood, add it to the soup at this point. Allow it to simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes until it’s fully cooked.
- Add the vegetables: Toss in the chopped tomatoes, bell pepper, and leafy greens. Stir and let them cook for a few more minutes until they are tender.
- Adjust the seasoning: Taste the soup and add salt, pepper, and additional spices as needed to suit your preferences.
- Optional garnish: If you want a little extra heat, you can add the chopped scotch bonnet or habanero peppers now.
- Serve: Remove the soup from heat and serve it hot with your choice of side dishes, such as Banku or yam.
Feel free to customize it with your favorite ingredients and spices.