Eat Soup! - Okra & Salmon Soup

Saying Nigerian cuisine is characterised by the range of soups / stews it offers will be speaking the absolute truth! Across the length and breadth of the country and across ethnic regions, there are as many soups as there are vegetables (particularly leafy vegetables).

Each soup is clearly defined by and named after the vegetable(s) used to cook it. There are simple (watery) soups and bold (thick) soups, all loaded with an assortment of meats, fish, condiments, spices and other vegetables.

In Nigeria, soups are eaten to complement the main meal which is usually a carbohydrate based one, examples being pounded yam, akpu, tuwo etc. This has been the age old practice especially by our fore-fathers who did a lot of manual labour and needed a carbohydrate rich diet.

Things have changed from that over the century/decades, especially, majority of us now live sedentary lifestyles which means we do not need that much carbs any more.

Okra & Salmon Soup served with Agidi / Eko
I have often wondered, couldn't we change focus and eat soup as our main meal with a bit of carbs on the side? The fact of the matter is, we need more proteins (for healing and cell renewal), more essential fatty acids, more minerals, more vitamins (including the all too important anti-oxidants) and less carbs.

I can assure that a well put together soup is almost certainly going to nourish you with these important nutrients.

Today's recipe, okra and salmon soup, is designed to be eaten as the main meal served with a small side portion of eko / agidi (cooked and cooled maize porridge).

This soup can be eaten as a light meal and is ideal for breakfast (yes!), lunch or supper. Also excellent for those watching their weight or on a calorific diet.

Read more about the nutritional benefits of okra here: Food Profile - Okra.

Okra & Salmon Soup

My message today, change your food focus - eat soup as a main meal! Let me hear you say, I want to eat Okra Soup with pounded yam, not I want to eat Pounded Yam with okra soup. (take note of where the emphasis lies). Enjoy!

Ingredients: (for two people)
  • 2 skinless salmon steaks. Cut into bite size chunks;(you can use any other type of fish you like. Tilapia and red snapper are also very good for this recipe) 
  • About 40 individual okra fingers (use more or less according to preference) 
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ground crayfish 
  • 250ml (1 cup) of good quality chicken stock 
  • A handful of thinly sliced fresh scent leaves (basil is a good substitute) 
  • 2 tablespoons of locust beans (optional) 
  • 1 teaspoon of Cameroon pepper or chilli powder (do not use if you do not want your soup to be spicy) 
  • Sweet peppers & tomatoes base sauce (see one of my previous posts on how to make this versatile sauce. Alternatively you can buy Molli's Jollof cooking sauce, its much quicker to use for this recipe)). 
  • Half a teaspoon of ground African nutmeg (ehuru - optional) 
  • 2 tablespoons of red palm oil (you can use any other preferred cooking oil. Read more about the benefits of Red Palm Oil here - Food Profile: Red Palm oil)
  • Salt to taste 
Vegetarian option: Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and use mushrooms instead of fish.

What to do:
  1. In a medium sized pot, add the chicken stock, 1 cup of water, African nutmeg, ground crayfish, locust beans and Cameroon pepper. Allow to boil for about 3 minutes. 
  2. Then add about 3 serving spoons (more or less as preferred) of the red peppers and tomatoes sauce. Stir well together. 
  3. Cover the pot and continue to cook under low heat, until the flavours of the condiments and spices have infused. Taste for salt and adjust as preferred. You may use chicken stock granules if you are unable to use real chicken stock. 
  4. Now add the salmon chunks, again cover the pot and allow the fish to cook for about 2 minutes. 
  5. Finally add the chopped okra and scent leaves. Add also the red palm oil if using. I prefer a thick soup so the more okra you add the better to ensure that the soup does not turn out watery. Adjust consistency if too thick by adding some hot water. Once you add the okra, cook for no more than 3 minutes. Serve hot with eko, agidi
Enjoy your main course soup!

Funke Koleosho's Okra & Salmon Soup Recipe



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