Here’s a little Confession: I haven’t made Afang in nearly two months before I started thinking about this post. I’ve been making Edikaikong, Abak Atama , Okazi but not afang. I only decided to make afang because I was getting tired of cooking edikaikong all the time. Now I’m like, WHAT WAS I THINKING? One thing I’ve noticed whenever I make vegetable soup is, I never get to reserve some as everyone always seems to want more. This is one soup you can never go wrong with.
Afang Soup “Efik” is a tasty Nigerian soup which originates from the South-eastern (Cross river….Akwa ibom) part of Nigeria. It’s similar to the Igbo version known as Ofe okazi but slightly different. The major ingredient which the name of the soup was coined from is the wild spinach leaf (Ukazi/Afang leaf) “Gnetum Africanum” (View full list of Nigerian leafy vegetables here). It’s got a tough (hard) papery glossy texture and is tasteless without any distinctive smell until cooked.
Due to its tough texture, it’s usually sold pre-sliced in the Nigerian market by the vendors. Sometimes after it’s sliced, its further ground with a dry mill as this tends to bring out the taste more in soups. Afang is a rich source of protein and both essential and non-essential amino acids. It also has an anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties.
- 450g Afang “Okazi” leaves (4 Handfuls), Sliced thinly
- A Full bunch Water leaves
- 400g Periwinkles “Mfi/isam”, Shelled – Optional
- 400g Red Beef
- Assorted meat: Sharki”Tripe”, Pomo
- 2 Fresh scotch bonnet pepper (Yellow “nsukka pepper”/red”ata rodo”)
- 2 Seasoning cubes
- 1 Small Stock fish part
- 1 small dry fish – optional
- 1 cooking spoon crayfish
- 1 cup Palm oil
- Salt to taste
Step 1: To prepare the Afang leaves, you’d have to choose between Grinding or pounding the leaves. If you want to pound, wash and place the leaves in a mortar and pound with a pestle till it breaks up further. You can also grind the leaves at home or with a commercial mill in the market (This is usually done with a little bit of crayfish to make it grind smoothly). – Set this aside.
Step 2: For this meal, i used shelled periwinkles “Mfi/isam”. You could either use the shelled or un-shelled type. To prepare, wash the shelled periwinkles thoroughly to remove the mud. Chop off the sharp edge of the Isam/ Mfi with a Knife or pincer as shown in the pic below, Rinse clean and set aside.
Step 3: Wash the Beef, Stockfish, Dryfish, Sharki, Pomo and place in a small pot. Add the seasoning cubes, Salt and pepper. Add a little water, just enough to cover the contents of the pot and cook for about 15 mins till tender. At this point, add more water into the cooked meat. This would serve as a base for the soup.
Kitchen Tip: To reduce stress, you could add the pepper whole so that once the stock is done, they could easily be removed before the real soup preparation. This doesn’t prevent it from giving you the needed flavor and basic nutritional benefits.
Step 4: Once the stock starts to boil, Simply add the palmoil and mix. Leave to cook for about 15 mins till the stock in the pot reduces and the soup thickens.
Step 5: At this point, you can now add the Crayfish and Periwinkles, Leave for 5 minutes
Step 6: Add the ground Afang. Leave to cook further for 5 mins.
Step 7: Add the chopped water-leaves. Leave to cook further for 5 mins. Water leaves tends to bring out more water once it gets into the soup so ensure the liquid in the pot is very little before adding water leaves.
Turn off the burner and Serve with your favorite swallow; Garri/Eba, Fufu, wheatmeal, pounded yam, Semolina e.t.c. O! and don’t forget to suck out the periwinkles, that’s the best part 😉
Dobby is a culinary enthusiast with a flair for Local Cuisines in Nigeria and around the globe. She runs an online recipe diary where she explores and showcases dishes from her Nigerian kitchen to inspire meals in yours. Cooking is one of her major hobbies and she does it well.
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