AWANAIJA DELICACIES: AFANG SOUP

Raised by an Akwa Ibom mother and surrounded by aunts and cousins from Akwa Ibom, I can boldly say that I have eaten the best Nigerian meals you could think of. No kidding. Lol. When I was growing up, my mum cooked different meals of different origins and we all ate with relish. I have eaten Nigerian foods native to yoruba, warri, calabar, igbo, plateau, kaduna people, to mention a few. The list goes on, believe me. When I meet people who say “I don’t eat this, or I can’t eat that” it’s all strange to me. Maybe because I was raised by an adventurous Akwa Ibom woman whose cooking was (still is) the best I have ever had. So my taste buds are universal. I can eat anything from any part of the world as long as it is edible (except for gbegiri/beans soup) *straight face* I will be sharing a few recipes with you, my dear awanaijarians. Recipes my mum made, recipes I have learned, recipes that I have stumbled upon. I will try my best to share recipes that have ingredients that are easy to find and readily available in our Naija markets. So if you love cooking, or if you want to learn how to cook, or learn some recipes I will share on here, then you are most welcome.

P.S. Different people have different ways of preparing meals. Mine is just one of the many methods you would find. So let the cooking begin! *wink

Afang soup is an Annang, Ibibio and Efik delicacy of the Akwa Ibom and Cross River people of Nigeria. It is however, enjoyed by all Nigerians. If you are tired of buying this soup outside or you have always wanted to learn how to prepare it, well, I am here for you. Afang soup is very nutritious as the soup consists mainly of vegetables and lots of protein ingredients. It is also a very rich soup as the Calabar/Akwa Ibom add almost every kind of sea food and meat to it (snails, periwinkles, stockfish, dry fish, etc). Afang Soup is prepared with water leaves and Afang leaves (the Igbos call it Okazi).

INGREDIENTS:

400g thinly sliced Okazi/Afang leaves(4 handfuls)
250g Waterleaf
20-25 cl Palm oil (1 drinking glass)
Goat meat or Beef
Kponmo (Ganda/Kanda)
Dry fish (cat fish)
Stock fish (okporoko/kpanla)
Periwinkles (Mfi) I’ll advise you buy the already shelled ones
Crayfish (2 tablespoons)
Pepper
Salt
Seasoning cubes (to taste)

Over time, people have come up with alternative vegetables for this soup like spinach, ugwu, etc. However, this recipe uses the original vegetables used by the A/Ibom and Calabar people.

BEFORE YOU START:

1. Wash, drain and slice the water leaves into tiny pieces.
2. Rinse the Afang leaves in water to wash away sand (Be sure not to let it get soaked in the water) then pound (or grind) the sliced Okazi leaves. You can grind the leaves in the market or use your mortar or blender at home.
3. Wash the dry fish in warm water (use salt to scrub it).
4. Wash your stock fish and periwinkles then grind your pepper and crayfish.

COOKING DIRECTIONS:

1. Marinate your goat meat or beef for about five minutes in onions, pepper, salt and seasoning cubes (do not add water). After five minutes, put it on your cooker to steam/cook (do not add water until there is no water in it).
2. You can add the stock fish and kpomo to the meat or cook them separately. When the stockfish is cooked or soft, add the dry fish and cook for about five minutes more. Cook your periwinkles as well (do not season).
3. Put your cooked meat and fish in the pot you intend to use for your soup and allow it simmer for a few minutes (do not add water if you still have stock from the meat/fish; the water leaves contain enough water. You can add a little water if there is no stock at all).
4. Add your palm oil, crayfish and pepper. Allow to simmer then add the Afang/Okazi leaves (mix it with a wooden ladle and allow to simmer for about one minute); add your water leaves, periwinkle, salt and seasoning cubes to taste and stir it in with your wooden ladle. Stir until the content is properly mixed together and quickly turn off the cooker (do not leave the pot on the hot cooker). Leave the pot open for the steam to evaporate (the freshness would be lost if you allow the veggies to boil). And ta da!

Your Afang soup is ready! Serve with Garri (Eba), Fufu or Pounded Yam *wink*

afang

Photo Credit:Africanbites.com, drumstix.com.ng

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