Vegetable Soup is cooked in different ways by different tribes in Nigeria; You have Afang and Edika Ikong for the Efiks and Ibibios, Efo for the Yorubas, Ofe Akwukwo for the Igbos and so forth... All of these soups bear great similarities in cooking technique and major ingredients but you might see different vegetables being used that will change the taste just enough to make it geographically identifiable.
Today i'm making the Igbo version of Vegetable Soup, but because in the United States, i'll be using Kale instead of the traditional Ugu Leaf. There is almost no difference in taste or texture.
Lets get started.
1Kg Goat Meat
1Kg Assorted Meat (Optional)
1 Dried/Smoked Fish - De-boned and cleaned
250Grms Stock Fish - Washed
1 Cup of Ground Crayfish
5 Cups Chopped Spinach/Water Leaf
4 Cups Chopped Kale
1/2 Cup Choped Uziza Leaf
2 - 3 Cups Palm Oil
Salt & Pepper
Step 1 is the most important step. This is where the flavor of your soup is built.
Wash your meat and season with salt, pepper, seasoning cubes and chopped onions and enough water to come up to the level of the meat. You want to also add your stock fish at this time so that it flavors your meat as well and it has enough time to break down.
Tip 1: Do not put too much water in your meat as you will not be able to drain it and you do not want a light soup.
Tip 2: Cook tougher cuts of meat first, when the meat is half cooked then add other cuts such as beef. For those who don't know, if you choose to add shaki (tripe) to your soup, make sure you cook it down first as it gets extremely tough. Even if you are using a pressure cooker, cook tougher cuts first and then add other meat cuts. If you put them all in at the same time, by the time they are cooked, your other cuts of meat would have turned to mush!
As much as possible i do not add any additional water to this soup when i cook because i like a thick Vegetable Soup, but feel free to add a little at a time until you get your desired consistency.
When your meat is cooked, your soup is 75% cooked.
Add dried fish, snail, periwinkle and crayfish. Season to taste and turn the heat down and allow the soup to cook for 5 - 7 minutes.
Add palm oil and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or till your oil turns from red to a brown-orange color. You do not want your soup tasting of raw palm oil. Season and taste.
Add your chopped, washed spinach/water leaf and uziza leaf, mix properly. Allow to cook for 2 minutes only, we do not want to kill the vegetable by overcooking it.
Tip 3: As you wash your spinach/waterleaf, squeeze was much water out of it as you can, even if you're using chopped frozen spinach in a bag. It can quickly make your soup more watery than you had originally intended.
Next comes your chopped kale or ugu leaf. As soon as you add it and mix your soup properly, take it off the heat.
Serve up and enjoy with your choice of swallow, rice, boiled yam (Whole 30 compliant) or even by itself (LCHF compliant).