Ofe Nsala (Nsala Soup) is a delicious soup, popular in the eastern part of Nigeria. It is also known as ”white soup” because of its light color , due to the absence of palm oil.
The authentic Nsala soup recipe calls for fresh whole Cat Fish, which gives this soup its unique taste. But in the absence of whole catfish, catfish fillets or conger eel can be used.
Ofe Nsala is also similar to Afia Efere, which is the Efik-style white soup, but the extra condiments added to Afia Efere is what differentiates it from Nsala.
So here’s a simply Ofe Nsala recipe, using Fish only, I also included some tips on how to cook this delicious soup, with assorted meat and dried fish. Hope you enjoy!
Ingredients For Nsala Soup:
– 1 medium sized Cat Fish (use conger eel if you can’t find Catfish in your area, they taste almost the same)
– 5 small sized raw Yam cubes OR Yam Powder (Potato Puree can also be used)
– 2 tablespoonful chopped Utazi Leaves or parsley(optional)
– 1 tablespoonful ground Crayfish
– 1 teaspoonful Ogiri or Iru (fermented locust beans)
– 1 tablespoonful chopped Onions(optional)
– Chili pepper/chopped Scotch bonnet peppers (to taste)
– 1-2 Stock/Seasoning cubes(maggi, knorr etc)
– Salt (to taste)
For a richer (orisirisi) soup, you can also add
– dried fish (to taste)
– Stock fish (to taste)
– 5 pieces Chicken pieces or 10 pieces Beef pieces
1. If you want to add beef, chicken or stock fish or dried fish to your Nsala soup; season and cook the meat or dried fish , with onions, seasoning cube and salt to taste. Cook until done and set aside
2. Peel the yam cubes and boil until soft, then pound to a smooth paste, using a mortar and pestle.
In the absence of a mortar and pestle, you can place the cooked yam in a food processor/blender, add a little hot water and blend until smooth (you can use the hot water you cooked the yams in).
If what you have is yam powder, boil some hot water,add the powder and stir continuously until you get a smooth paste (just like the texture of pounded yam) .
Then, Set the yam paste aside for later use.
3. Next, place the catfish into a pot, pour enough water to cover it, add the chopped onions, seasoning cube and salt to taste. Cook for about 10-15 minutes or until the fish is almost done.
** The large/medium sized catfish takes about 20 minutes to cook through, but a small sized catfish, takes a shorter time, always check for doneness **
Tip: if you’ll be adding the catfish head,add it first and leave to boil for about 1 minute before adding the other fish parts. This is because the head of the catfish is a bit tough and if added at the same time, the other fish parts will cook faster and even break to pieces before the fish head is done.
4. Now, add the pepper, crayfish and ogiri/iru.
Tip: if you’re cooking this soup with chicken/beef or dried fish,this is the time to add the cooked meat and dried fish(in step 1) to the pot.
Also, add the yam paste bit by bit and leave the soup to cook until the paste is completely dissolved and the fish is well done.
5. Finally, add the utazi leaves, taste for salt and simmer for 30 seconds.
Tip: remember the utazi leaf is optional, so don’t bother if you don’t have it.
Serve with gari, Fufu semo….