What I termed Ofe Owerri then, is simple Ofe Uziza. I had been wanting to cook this dish for some time now, and yesterday evening, I had no choice. I prepared it for a pregnant woman whose recent craving is Uziza.
It was almost an emotional please. The poor thing, can’t get the smell and taste of Uziza out of her mind, and though she suggested I make Efo riro with some uziza, I said no, I will do it the Igbo way. You see, I have made what I used to call ofe owerri, so many times, and each time it has been a hit, especially with guests. The pot emptying kind of hit, and yesterday, it was no different.
Her feedback – “Dunni, your soup almost caused fight yesterday. I was so territorial with it, my husband was only allowed a small portion and when he wanted more, my mama bear instincts came out in full force. Long and short of the story, we are ordering another bowl, you satisfied my cravings 100%“.
That is what I do and that is how I roll. This is a recipe, that is designed to make Uziza shine like the amazeballs herb that it is. Uziza should have protected status, like champagne. There are so many things I want to do with it, just waiting for the stars to align and His Grace to open that door. Watch out world, the Uziza takeover is coming. Let’s Cook
- 2 bunches of Ugu leaves
- 1bunch of Uziza leaves
- Palm fruit extract – substitute with palm oil
- Assorted meats
- Ponmo – optional
- Smoked fish
- Beef Stock
- Stock cube
- Fresh pepper
- Dry pepper
- Cocoyam – you can use achi or ofor
- Season and boil your meats till tender, leaving a little stock in the pot
- Pick your leaves, wash and shred the leaves and set aside
- Boil the cocoyams until tender. Peel the skin and pound in a food processor until smooth
- Extract the juice out of the palm fruit. You do this by boiling the palm fruits till the skin is tender almost peeling off, transfer to a food processor, pulse, to rid to turn the skin into mush, pour hot water over the shredded skin and extract the juice. Or you can use the canned extract, about a cooking spoon or two. Or, good oil Palm oil.
- Transfer the extract to the pot and boil with the assorted meats and meat stock.
- Add some ground crayfish, fresh pepper, smoked fish, stock fish, 1 – 2 wraps of Ogiri, depending on the volume of stock you are working with, and let it boil.
- Once the Ogiri dissolves, you should be able to taste and smell it. Adjust for seasoning, and let it boil till the beef stock and palm fruit extract have properly combined.
- Once you are satisfied with the taste, scoop in the cocoyam and keep boiling till it dissolves
- Once the cocoyam lumps have dissolved, your soup should take on a mustard-ish shade of yellow. It should not be thick too, because the vegetables you are about to add will thicken it some more. With Igbo soups, you are best going watery, than too thick, trust me.
- With the consistency of your cocoyam thickened stock perfect, add the vegetables and stir. Give it another 3 – 5 minutes max, and serve. See the video on Instagram @dooneyskitchen.
- I was able to save a little portion for myself which I served with Semo. You will almost bite your fingers, I promise you.
If you have other suggestions as to what vegetables make up Ofe Owerri, or if you have a recipe you would like to share, please comment below. I have to do an Ofe Owerri rematch and I want to nail it, no questions asked.