Tis’ the weekend and I’m in the mood for some blast from the past disco tunes!
*♫Listening to Everybody’s Laughing by Phil Fearon and Galaxy♬*
So after our 5 days of summer (sorry sunshine) here in Aberdeen, it’s nice to see that the movers and shakers up at Westminister cannot shake our unique climate here in the North East of Scotland. Our usual cloudy/gloomy/foggy/breezy (this right here is the real confused.com) weather is back.
All these political shenanigans and of course, the ever … cloudy Aberdeen weather has put me in the mood for some spicy and mouth watering easy to make soup from my motherland.
*♫Listening to This kind of love by Phil Fearon and Dee Galdes♬*
Today, we will be making Ofe Nsala popularly referred to as White soup (Please, this has nothing to do with race! Mmhmm! It is called ‘White soup’ because it looks creamy).
Now for a brief lesson in the Igbo language. It is pronounced ‘O’ as in Orange, ‘Fe’ as in the name Faye, ‘N’ as in Martin (emphasis on ‘tin’, American pronunciation where the ‘t’ is silent and the sound comes from the chest and back of the throat) and ‘SALA’ as in salary without the ‘ry’.
Phew! You should all be having this soup for dinner every day this week! Mmhmm.
*♫Listening to Before you throw love away by Phil Fearon and Galaxy♬*
(I love this song!)
Let’s get cracking!
- 1 pack of chicken drumsticks
- fresh fish (I used mackerel but feel free to use Salmon, Haddock, catfish or whatever else you fancy)
- Stockfish a.k.a dried Cod
- 1/2 tuber of Yam (peeled and sliced)
- 2 tbsp ground crayfish
- 2 onions (medium sized)
- Scotch bonnet (chopped and as required)
- 1/2 tbsp salt
- 2 knorr cubes
- Utazi leaves – chopped (The botanical name is a mouthful; Gongronema latifolium – like life isn’t already hard as it is! You can find this at any local African store near you. Alternatively, just use spinach, provided you remember to add this last and allow to cook for ONLY for about a minute or less due to its high water content).
Note: Utazi leaves have been found to be highly medicinal and can be used as an herb or spice. It does, however, have a strong bitter-sweet taste. So I advise you use sparingly if you are new to this. You can get them dry, frozen or fresh. For more information about the Utazi leaf, check out – https://guardian.ng/features/health/health-benefits-of-gongronema-latifolium-utazi/
*♪♪Listening to What do I do by Phil Fearon and Galaxy♬*
(My fav Phil Fearon and Galaxy song)
Now let’s bring out the chef in you.
I initially precooked the stockfish as it comes very dry and as solid as a rock (Thank you, Ashford and Simpson!). So it takes a longer time to cook. I also precooked my beef simply because I can!
Just so you know, the stockfish has a unique strong but pleasant scent and flavour and is commonly used in West African countries, particularly in Nigeria. Oh! The Italians use it as well.
(now let’s bring in some variety to the music)
*♪♪Listening to I just want to be your everything by Andy Gibb♬*
(I could listen to this track for hours!)
- Add 1500ml of water into a stockpot, toss in your already peeled and sliced yams and cook for 30mins over high heat.
- In another pot, add your stock from the stockfish (I also added another 500ml of water), toss your chicken and cook over medium heat for about 20mins.
- After 20mins, add your fresh fish, precooked stockfish and beef, crayfish, onions, scotch bonnet, scotch bonnet and salt and cook for a further 10mins. Then reduce heat to low and allow to continue cooking while you sort out your boiled yam.
- Remove the Yam from heat (do not drain the water yet). There are 2 ways you may proceed. You can either mash the yams or use them whole. Either way, the purpose of the yam is to thicken the soup. For today’s recipe, I decided to mash the yams using a blender (if you decide to tow this route, be mindful to blend a few pieces of yams at a time using some of the water it was cooked in because it can get really thick)
- After blending, add to the soup, increase heat to medium and allow to cook for 5 minutes (I had to scoop some out after I took the picture as I didn’t want my soup overly thick. So, use as moderately as possible).
- Next, add your Ukazi leaves and allow to cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
- remove from heat and enjoy!
*♪♪Listening to Rock the Boat by Hues Corporation♬*
Cooking time: About 50 minutes, excluding the time it took to cook the stock fish.
Now I wonder what drama will unfold at the nursery this week…