This should not be confused with Ila Asepo. Technically, the English translation of Ila Asepo would be Okro soup, but this has no Palm oil, and the pepper mixture has no tatashe (red bell pepper), tomatoes or even onions. I use just Rodo, specifically Yellow Pepper. There are also many differences between this soup and Ila Asepo, you will notice that as you read through the recipe. A friend calls it White Okro Soup, another friend calls it Ibo Okro Soup. Lol. I love any soup with okro in it. When I prepare Ogbono, I also add Okro. When I prepare Ewedu, I blend the Ewedu leaf with okro to give it more body.
So, you will need
3cups Okro – grated
1 handful Uziza leaves
Rodo – Yellow variety
Iru – optional
1 small sized Smoked fish
So here we go
1. Roughly grate the Okro and set it . Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: If you want to go traditional, do this with a knife instead. It is time consuming, but I prefer this method. Chop your Ugwu, rinse and set aside
2. Season and boil the meats with stockfish. Later in the boiling process add pomo and smoked fish. Once the meats and cowleg are tender, check for the volume of stock you have left. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: due to the nature of okro, the soup must have enough liquid to create some fluidity when eating, otherwise you will be struggling to scoop it with your fingers. So, ensure you have enough stock, or add more water to the meat and boil for another 5 minutes
3. Add pepper into your meat mixture and let it boil with the meats and fish. The volume you will need depends on personal preference. I tend to use 2 cooking spoons.
5. Rinse the Iru and add to the pot, and let this boil for a few minutes Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Do not drown Iru in water when rinsing, otherwise you’ll throw part of the flavour down the drain. Just enough water to cover it, and pick out the seeds one by one
6. Add Blended crayfish and let the whole mixture boil for 5 minutes, to let all the flavours combine perfect sync. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: As with my other recipes, you will notice that I always blend crayfish wet. By now you should have a very tasty peppery stock. Taste for salt. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Do not add seasoning cubes yet, because you may not need it at all.
7. Add the Okro and Ugwu and stir. Dooney’s Kitchen Tip: Okro cooks very fast, and if you let it cook for too long, you lose some of its slime and taste. So, while my method may not be common, I add the Okro and Ugwu together, so they both cook at the same time. Remember the Ugwu leaf is only 1/2cup against 3 cups of Okro, so it is okay.
Let the Okro cook for another 5 – 7 minutes until you see bubbles on the surface. Stir and taste. Dooney’s Kitchen tip: At this point, you may need seasoning cubes. Just dissolve one cube in water and add to the pot. Lower the heat, and let it cook for another two minutes.
……..and it is a wrap
Serve with Yellow Garri – personal favourite
Someone asked me once, why I use Ugwu sparingly in my Okro soup? My answer to her was, this is Okro soup. In my opinion, Ugwu should be a condiment, an addition, to give a little roughage to the soup, but Okro is the main star of the dish. So it is a personal peeve of mine, when I see Okro soup, where I have to separate the Ugwu to get to the Okro. Personal preference oooooo. Lol