Ofe Nsala a.k.a Afie Efere a.k.a White soup as it's name suggests is one of the few Nigerian soups where the ever-present palm oil is absent. This soup is native to the Igbos in the eastern part of Nigeria and the lovely folks of the Niger-Delta (of which I am proud to be part of).
Weeks ago while hanging out with Fola of Stylefash and Berry of Berrydakara, Fola unknowingly placed an order for Ofe Nsala. Yes it was unknowingly 'cos she didn't ask directly, she just said 'lemme know when I can come and eat Ofe Nsala at yours' (or something like that. lol) and subconsciously my mind went to fufill-order-mode, I made a note to myself that the next soup cooking marathon I do would consist of a delicious pot of nsala for Fola (I cook soups in bulk on a single day, package 'em and freeze 'em). This past Sunday I made five soups and of 'cos Fola's beloved nsala was included (pssst she knows I cooked nsala this weekend but she doesn't know I cooked it for her, she'll be shocked when she finds out....heehee). Anyway I decided to cook mine with catfish as I feel it tastes better with catfish (you can cook yours with beef, chicken, tripe, pork etc). As expected The Chief Taster decided he wanted some of the nsala after I sent him pictures of it and some of the pounded yam I made, he went further to reserve the head of the fish and made me swear it would be served steaming hot.....Imagine! Anyway sorry Fola, your full pot has been cut to half, I will make it up to you I promise!
1. One large catfish
2. Utazi leaf
4. Yam or Cocoyam (to be used as thickener)
6. Smoked catfish
10. Uziza seeds
11. Ogiri Igbo or Maggi/Knorr
1. Cut 2 large pieces of old yam and boil till properly cooked then pound in a mortar or process in a food processor and set aside (do same if using cocoyam). I decided to make extra pounded to be eaten with my portion of nsala (like they say "in for a penny, in for a pound", might as well do enough that can be eaten with your delicious fresh nsala)
2. Gut catfish and clean thoroughly. Put in a bowl and pour hot water on it and leave for 2 minutes, afterwards douse with cold water (this helps to make the fish tougher so it doesn't break up during the cooking proper).
|cut fish into parts|
4. Add your ogiri igbo (or maggi/knorr), pepper, pounded uziza seed, stockfish, black fish and crayfish and stir carefully. I like the traditional taste that ogiri igbo gives my soups so I try to use it as often as I can.
|Large wrapped package of ogiri igbo|
|All that wrapping is just fancy stuff|
|what you get after all that unwrapping...half a teaspoon of ogiri|
|mash any stubborn yam lump|
|add utazi leaf...sparingly|
4. Let it cook till the fish is almost cooked through then add utazi leaf (due to the bitter taste of utazi leaf, it is advisable to use only 3-4 leaves out of the bunch).
5. Lower heat and allow simmer for 5-8 minutes and hey presto! Nsala is ready
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