Ofe Owerri , which is usually prepared with two different vegetables namely Uziza and Ugu or Uziza and Ukazi, is a favourite of the Igbos from Imo State, South-eastern Nigeria.
This is a highly nutritious vegetable soup usually flavored with aromatic Uha leaves. An average Owerri man is an ardent lover of this vegetable soup which literarily means Owerri soup.
The soup is one out of many soups eaten by the Igbos. Uziza helps a lot to prevent allergy and running nose. Those who do not eat hot spices can benefit a lot from the use of Uziza to prevent or cure their running nose.
Ugu (pumpkin) leaf is reputed to be highly rich in dietary iron, calcium and magnesium. Research shows that this vegetable has great antioxidant capacities, helping to restore any damage to our cells and skin, protecting our heart and enhancing youth.
It also protects against liver damage caused by agents such as paracetamol and other toxins.
Another unique ingredient used in the preparation of this Igbo delicacy is coco yam. Coco yam is a class in the category of tubers, which are known for the fertility benefits mostly experienced by the Yoruba people in Nigeria due to their love for its consumption.
They are also good sources of Vitamins and the trace mineral manganese and most importantly, they serve our daily requirement of carbohydrate.
These vegetables are available frozen in North America and Europe at some African food stores. In Nigeria, it is gotten raw from the market.
The above vegetables are used as part of the vegetable used in writing this recipe. You might want to try it out. You would not regret it.
Depending on the style of each cook, one can flavour Ofe Owerri with Uziza leaves, and you can as well not put it.
Start by soaking your stock fish for around an hour. After that peel and cook your coco yam until it is very soft; then pound it in a mortar until the paste comes out smooth.
Wash the meat or chicken very well before putting it in a pot; season it to your taste, add a little water and cook till soft and edible. Soak your smoked fish and add salt to kill any form of bacteria.
When you have confirmed that your meat is done, you can add your stockfish and smoked fish and leave to cook for 4 minutes. Then you can add pepper, crayfish and palm oil.
After about 2 minutes, add coco yam in bits and leave to dissolve. Put shredded uziza and ugwu leaves, Ogiri and salt to taste, stir and then leave to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Bring down your pot of nutritious Ofe Owerri because it is ready for consumption.
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