The last time I posted a recipe for Afang Soup was ages ago, and at that time, I did not realise that it was the Cameroon version. I just thought Joy, who taught me how to make the soup had given me an alternative to blending the Okazi leaves which I am not particularly a huge fan of. I found out on Facebook that the Cameroonians’ don’t blend their Okazi vegetable. They soak it in hot water till it softens. Whoop, whoop. Further increase in food knowledge.
With the Cameroon version on lockdown, I decided to just make the Efik version to complete it. Especially after seeing Mrs Iquoh’s Editan soup last week, which brought back a flood of memories. If I see Editan leaves anywhere in London, I am probably going to scream. I do that a lot in African stores, when I find something totally surprising, after which I break into this weird dance, I forget for a few seconds that I have an audience. Then I compose myself. One of my fears is that one day, someone is going to record me and post on YouTube. So, if you see a video of one skinny black girl dancing like a white person (i have been told, my dancing is awful) in an African store, chances are that it would be me. The store owners are already used to my squeals of delight. So, the next time you hear someone let out a huge guffaw, check very well, it just might be me. Don’t be shy, or embarrassed, just come over and introduce yourself. I will be really chuffed to meet one of you. Hehehehehehe.
Anyways, back to Afang Soup. This is the sister version of Edikang Ikong (recipe HERE), save for the difference with one vegetable, Okazi instead of Ugu. Due to the texture of Okazi, you would have to pound or blend it. Now, this is where my disagreements with the soup start, so I usually go the Cameroon way, but for this post, I decided to let go of my personal preference for the benefit of you the readers, so you can replicate in your homes a truly Efik dish. I am kinda a little into “if i have to eat something, I sure as hell (oops potty mouth, or is it potty fingers, hehehe) must enjoy it”, so I gave the okazi a slightly rough blend. It is up to you to decide if you want a smooth blend or a rough blend. Anyways, enough of the talking, let’s get down the recipe of one of the delights of Efik cooking.
You will need
4 bunches of Water leaves
2 – 3 cups of blended Okazi leaves
Ground fresh pepper – preferably yellow pepper
Smoked red prawns
Salt – optional
Seasoning cubes – optional
Prep all your ingredients i.e. boil the meats with stockfish and smoked red prawns, wash and chop the water leaves, soak the Okazi leaves in hot water for a few minutes to soften and then pulverize (blend) in a blender to your tolerance level of smoothness.
Now, it’s time to start cooking.
1. Add palm oil and ground fresh pepper to the pot containing the meats and stock. 2 cooking spoons should be fine. Allow the palm oil to dissolve into the stock
2. Add the periwinkles if you have any
3. Add the water leaves and stir
4. Allow the water leaves to wilt into the stock. This should happen in about 2 – 3 minutes.
5. While the water leaves are wilting and dissolving into the palm oil stock, add fresh crayfish and fresh prawns, if you are using any fresh prawns.
6. Add the blended Okazi leaves. here is a close shot of the texture after blending. Also notice that the okazi leaves are not swimming in water. This is because, only a little water is needed to blend it. Remember, the leaves have soaked in hot water, and thereby softened.
add all the okazi leaves to the pot and stir. Lower the heat at this point, to prevent the water leaves from over cooking.
7. In a few minutes, you will notice a lot of dark coloured watery stock bubbling up. Not to worry, the blended okazi leaves, will soon absorb most of it. Still keep the heat on low and allow the contents of the pot to simmer. If it is looking slightly dry, just add a little palm oil to top up. Taste for salt and seasoning and readjust if necessary.
8. In a few minutes time, this is what you should have staring back at you. The okazi leaves have meshed well with the rest of the ingredients, it has also absorbed most of the watery stock, leaving you with Afang Soup that feels well moistened and squishy to touch.
I’m sorry, that’s how best I can explain it. Squishy is the word, because of the blended Okazi leaves. This distinctively denotes Efik Afang from Edikang Ikong.
……………………….and that’s your pot of Afang Soup ready to be enjoyed.
Serve hot, with your choice of starchy solids.
Yellow garri is especially amazing with Afang Soup
Of course, you can serve it with Pounded Yam too