Okra soup is a popular Nigerian recipe that has taken over Nigeria. In regular Yoruba style, okro is typically served with stew. Ila is the Yoruba word for Okra, and Asepo means “To cook together”; ila Alasepo is mixed okra soup. There is hardly any part of the country that is not aware of this soup. It is easy to make and it tastes nice as well.
The major ingredients needed
- Okra (of course)
- Palm Oil
- Beef, Iced or Dry Fish
- Crayfish (grounded)
- Pepper and Salt (to taste)
Other ingredients are
- Shaki (Cow Tripe Optional)
- Fish: Iced Fish (Mackerel/Titus), Dry Fish, Stock Fish
- Pepper and Salt (to taste)
- Onions (optional)
- Vegetable: Nigerian pumpkin leaves or spinach (fresh or frozen)
- To make the stock-fish soft enough boil the stock-fish for 20 minutes and leave in the pot with the hot water to soak about two hours before you start cooking. There’s a type of stock-fish in Nigeria that does not need all that soaking you can use that if it is available.
- Cut the okra fingers into tiny pieces. The tinier you cut the okra, the more it will draw. To achieve this, you need to make a few vertical cuts followed by horizontal cuts on the okra fingers.
3.Wash the pumpkin leaves, if it is your choice of vegetable, and cut into tiny pieces. If you will use frozen spinach, defrost and cut into tiny pieces.
- If you will use shaki (cow tripe) for the soup, wash and boil till it is done. Add water sparingly because this soup needs to be thick. Add the soaked stock-fish and dry fish to the cooked shaki. The length of time it will take to cook shaki depends on the cooking appliance utilized. You can take a bite to confirm this.
- Once the shaki and stock fish are well-done, add the beef, onions and stock cubes and cook till done. Then add the iced fish and cook till done.
- Pour red palm oil in another pot and heat the pot to dissolve the oil if it is congealed. Add the diced okra and start frying to kick-start the drawing process, add some meat stock from time to time till you notice the okra start to draw. This process should take a maximum of 5 mins to avoid over-cooking the okra.
- Now add the vegetable and stir well. Add all the meat and fish, crayfish, pepper and salt to taste. Then stir well.
- Cover the cooking pot and leave to simmer and it is ready to be served.
It is worthy to note that it is not expensive to cook this recipe as the stock-fish, dry-fish and shaki is optional and it is not compulsory to use all at once. You can choose any of the fish or meat above and still get a nice taste in your okra soup. Onions is optional depending on what you like.
Here is a video on how to make Ila Asepo
Source: All Nigerian Recipe
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