How To Cook Onugbu Soup

A plate of onugbu soup
Onugbu bitter leaf soup is a delicacy of the
South Eastern  Nigeria. I ate it at an event, enjoyed it so much that I told myself this soup must be prepared in my house. 

When I got to the market, I asked the ingredient seller to explain the procedure to me, which she did and that is how I tried to remember every step while cooking.

This is actually my
second attempt and I'm happy I got the perfect onugbu soup. Hope my Ndi Igbo readers agree with me o?
Boiling goat meat with salt and onion
Adding stockfish to goatmeat
Adding water and pepper sauce
Cleaning cocoyam (ede) for onugbu sop
Adding palm oil to soup
Boiling cleaned and washed cocoyam

Squeezing bitterleaf
Cocoyam is taking too long to cook so, it's  added to yam to save gas
Add caption
Adding smoked fish to soup
Adding ogiri to soup
Adding pounded cocoyam to soup
Adding washed bitterleaf to onugbu soup
Washed Bitterleaf boils in the pot of soup
Cooked onugbu soup
Onugbu soup with pounded yam
Hot onugbu soup with foo foo
A serving of bitterleaf soup
Tasty slimy onugbu soup
Left over soup packed for the freezer.
Cocoyam makes this soup kind of slimy and very easy to swallow. I like that special ogiri flavour in it.


  1. Ogili (or ogiri) is the best part of Onugbu soup. I ℓove this soup with akpu.

    1. Where do you get akpu? I love it with soft elastic pounded yam.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Can one use ogiri for okro soup? I've never used it before. Is ogiri the same thing as locust beans (iru) I get confused sometimes about the difference or if there's any.

    1. I've never tried it with Okra soup. I add locust beans to okra.
      Iru, ogiri and locust beans(dadawa) are three different things.

    2. Oh really? I should do my research then. For some reason I always thought they were the same thing just called different things in different languages. Thanks for this.

    3. Anonymous06:55

      You can use dawadawa for okro gives it a local taste very nice like ogiri

  4. @ Adele, they are both the same thing but I think processed differently. Iru is seed like while ogiri is pasty.

    @ Aunty Eya, you did a good job! My people love this soup so much. I have not prepared it myself before cos na long thing

    1. Thanks Ahdaisy Jayde. I'm now really interested in finding out more about iru/ogiri/locust beans and which works best for what soups. *research mode activated* :-)

    2. Shayor!21:43

      Ogiri is different from iru. Iru is locost beans while ogiri is made from beef stock. Dey are two different things.

    3. Shayor!21:47

      The mashed iru u called ogiri isn't ogiri, its actually Iru pete, der r 2 types of iru, Iru pete (mashed) and Iru woro (unmashed). Ogiri isn't made from seed, its made locally from beef stock.

    4. @Shayor: You may be wrong there. My grandma makes ogiri from locust beans.

  5. Lizzy21:25

    Looking lovely and inviting and I bet its yummy, dis 1 go snatch person oga o lol.
    Ahdaisy is right, iru is seedlike and ogiri is all mashed up (but d smell of dat ogiri, kai kai.. can b rotten like). I add ogiri or iru to mixed okro soup (yoruba ila asepo). So Adele yes u can add ogiri to okro soup.

  6. Anonymous21:52

    'Ogiri' is used 4 soups dat u have 2 'THICKEN' wif cocoyam or Achi....
    I.E.. Onugbu soup, oha soup, ugu soup, and okazi soup.
    'Locust beans' or 'okpei' (which comes in a hard/ round black form) is quit d opposite..
    For soups dat DO NOT NEED THICKENING wif cocoyam or Achi...
    I.E.. Egusi, okra soup, efo riro etc..and also for 'ofe Akwu'(Gbanga stew 4 rice)
    As 4 'iru'..I don't have a clue wat dat is..
    Hope it helped....
    Works 4 me..
    Billie jean

    1. Thanks Billie Jean. I didn't know this about ogiri, so thanks for improving my knowledge bank. Iru is a yoruba word and I (think) it's locust beans or okpei according to your explanation above. It's round and comes in black or brown. It also has a peculiar smell and it's used for egusi, efo riro, ofada stew etc.

  7. Anonymous21:53

    Hhhhmmmmmm yummy .@unty eya well done
    u can get akpu (fufu) at Garki market or nyanya market were they sell soup ingredient . Ogiri is not blended dawadawa it is made from rooten melon or fermented melon

  8. This is looking so yummy! and because i know just how well Eya cooks, i know it will be as tasty. Thanks for giving me something to try out for lunch 'morrow.

  9. Anonymous22:41


  10. Anonymous00:14

    Yummy. Can I cook mine without the ogiri(smelly)?

    1. Funke05:27

      That is what I want to ask too o. I can't eat ogiri,the smell puts me off. Eya,is it a must in this soup?

    2. Anonymous15:12

      Ogiri is actually an essential ingredient in cookin onugbu(bitter leaf) soup. Now d quantity u add depends on u.

    3. Funke16:47

      Thanks for the response. Guess I won't be trying this.

  11. Anonymous04:52

    Aunty Eya or sombori pls help with step by step pics of ewedu and amala.

  12. Anonymous07:17

    Aunty Eya, nice attempt!
    I put Uziza leaf in mine, u don't wash d cocoyam before cooking, dats why it took time to cook.

    1. Anonymous07:22

      Ofe onugbu is usually thick(No watery substitute dis time)
      Why did u add Yam??
      D bitter leaf u used is too tiny,Onugbu is cooked with long bitter dat look like meat inside soup sef!
      Like I said befor Nice attempt, u can do betteer!asmmile*

  13. Chiomz07:43

    Pls oooo aunty eya onions is not added to ds soup....evn oha soup and nsala soup...
    Thank me later

  14. Nekky08:46

    i agree with Chiomz. onions is not added in onugbu soup. infact any soup cooked with cocoyam should not have onions added in it. also onugbu soup is not a watery soup but your is. i guess its cos you like your soups watery so i'll pardon you for that.
    Nice try anyway. you are such a good and versatile cook.

    1. Anonymous19:30

      Do u mean the meat shuldnt be cooked wit onions?

  15. Anonymous09:06

    Nice attempt Eya , but next time add onugbu n allow it to simmer for some minutes before u add palm oil to reduce d bitterness.

  16. Anonymous09:10

    You try Eya but abeg no more onions in Onugbu soup and you have to add the cocoyam before the oil!!!for originality

    1. Anonymous10:54

      Correct igbo lady.................ds aunty Eyas onugbu no dey hungry me @all.................looks somehow

    2. Anonymous11:09

      Dear Anon, continue to type and reply yourself. I am Igbo and can't even cook dis soup d way Madam Eya just did.

    3. Anonymous11:34

      Bad learner, what do you mean soup looks somehow?? Abeg learn to cook and vamoose the seat for a learner better learner like me. U cyber bully

    4. Anonymous13:12

      U both r see smthn is really wrong wt ur head.thnk God u confessed u cnt cook,so dts d reason y d food looks gud in ur sight.lyk oda commenters said,d soup looks watery n d onugbu is in tiny come lemme teach u hw t cook.ur type eats poti in d name of food.i dnt go get a lyf n stop attackn pple.

  17. Anonymous09:11

    All these our bota people say ogiri is iru and beef, I wan laugh troway phone. Ogiri is made from melon. Yes, its cooked for 2days and some spices added and u ground and left for awhile before u start to use. My gran ma was a pro, she sold this in Edo for yrs as a trade and wen her kids pepper rest she wud make and just give to people for free.I still cook all my soup with it. Its completely healthy. Sandy

  18. Anonymous09:28

    Yea its made from melon. Wasn't too sure b4 now. And that soup wud be beta without onion and too much water. Nice try sha

  19. Onugbu is my next best soup after Nsala (white) soup. Eya you tried sha, just that you're to use the bigger leafy bitterleaf for onugbu not the tiny one. I mean chewing those big leaves is part of the fun :D
    I noticed you hardly use crayfish in your soups. Maybe its ur personal thing. I love lots of crayfish and mbasa in my soup. Mbasa is that flat dried bony fish, that you peel the back and bones before blending into powder.
    Nice as usual

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. This looks nice, great african delicacy!

  22. Aunty Eya, this ur onugbu no be am all. first, we dont use onions and the onugbu leaf must be long and not the type u used(for egwusi soup).

    Secondly, the ogiri is pounded with crayfish and not just added like that cos some of them have white particles in it. so pounding it will make it smooth.
    Lastly, the soup looks watery. one must use enough cocoyam to thicken it.
    i hardly cook this soup cos it takes time and hubby will not MANAGE if any mistake. this is the only soup hubby WILL NEVER eat outside. Our correct native soup.

  23. Anonymous12:08

    Ogiri pounded with crayfish....I don't get it. You mean iru is pounded with crayfish. I dislike Onugbu soup...I don't know why. I heard its medicinal and all but I still don't like it . Is there a way I can start liking it so I can prepare it at home even if its for others to eat. GLADDENED HEART

    1. Anonymous12:56

      D only way u cn start liking it is t add ur shit in place of ogiri n ur urine in place of crayfish
      see me see trouble,,,see ?

  24. Anonymous12:10

    Someone pls tell me where I can find UKWA in abuja.

  25. Anonymous13:09

    if you want ukwa go to NEXT cash and carry stores on ur way to gwarimpa. You will get the roasted and the raw ukwa there. Pls make sure you go there from wuse 2 oooo its easier that way.

  26. Anonymous13:21

    Aunty Eya, good job! Noticed it was missing and hv bn planning 2send it 2u, happy u gave it a try

    1. PLease still send yours. I'm sure it will look better. This my onugbu here is just a trial kind of... ' Testing the microphone"

  27. Onugbu wt snail is simply d is called erichaa atabie aka...thnk God its rainy season so snail wl b a lil cheaper dn bfr.wl definitely cook one tmrw.buh Aunty Eya,ur onugbu looks lyk u jst added vegetable,dey r so small n tiny.u really tried sha as a 1st timer...i find it difficult trying new food

  28. Anonymous17:42

    I wanted to tell u that your onugbu is watery but I can't.

  29. Anonymous19:27

    Aunty Eya,nice one.I like wat I'm seeing. Plz sum1 shuld cook d real onugbu nd send so we can see d difference.

  30. Anonymous21:53

    I make mine with banga. Trust me its the best, its more difficult but trust me it wld impress any palate. I only use palm oil wen am too lazy.
    First you boil and pound the banga, after pounding pour hot water to bring out enough oil and sieve it. Pour the oil in a pot and allow to boil. Boil ur meat and other assorted separately make sure d stock isn't too watery.
    As the banga boils put ur pounded cocoyam and allow to melt add the meat, fish nd other assorted along with the stock into d well boiled pot of banga, add ur crayfish, maggi or d like and dry pepper (I use cameroun pepper), then your ogili.
    Allow to boil a little longer then add your washed bitter leaf.
    Make sure you buy the right type of cocoyam so it doesnt take time to boil. I can ask for anambra cocoyam.
    I use blender, I barely pound so its very creamy with no lumps.
    Using smoked fish and stock fish enhances d taste, just boil with the meat.
    You can buy already processed canned banga.
    U can also use same method for oha jst substitute d leaves and less ogili.


  31. Anonymous08:25

    Doesn't look yummy to me...sorry to is too thin...the water is one side,bitter leaf the other side and the colour is no attractive...the soup is way scanty...I may be rude buh just speaking my mind...apologies for that...


Post a Comment

Feel free to email me with comments, suggestions, recipe ideas, or pretty much anything! I love hearing from you and I am always excited to receive a comment or email from a blog reader.
Contact Email:

Most comments are by blog readers. Always seek Professional Help First.
“As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.” When readers purchase items through links on this blog.
- Eya Ayambem