First, I discovered Native soup. Then, I became a believer.

My love affair with Native soup began at first taste. It was on a work trip to Port Harcourt and I, of course, was eager to try out soups from the South-South region. The term ‘native’ is quite generic as it can be tweaked to different forms as desired, but this classic is indigenous to Rivers state. 

The first thing that intrigued me about this dish is its abundance of ‘obstructions.’ Rich in assorted meats and a range of seafood including shrimps, prawns, stockfish, periwinkles, and fresh fish. I took one glance at the steaming bowl and knew that this was a recipe I needed to have. Then, came the tasting. There was an instant burst of spiced flavours and a distinct taste I couldn’t quite place. I soon found out that it was cocoyam, mashed and added to the soup as a thickener to seal in the deliciousness of this dish. I would later understand that in the absence of cocoyam, Ofor is an amazing thickener for Native soup. 

Morsel after morsel, the experience intensified. Today, many years later, I am still sharing this amazing recipe with anyone who cares to listen, and that includes you. 

As you’d expect, Native soup is part of our menu and a top choice at Orishirishi kitchen. The secret is in the recipe, and I am sharing it with you because everyone is deserving of this finger-licking goodness. 

Ingredients:

  • 200 g large unshelled periwinkles
  • 100 g small unshelled periwinkles
  • 20 g dry fish 
  • 20 g crayfish
  • 6 yellow ata rodo (Scotch bonnet) peppers
  • 1 cup shrimps
  • 7 king-sized prawns
  • 6 large snails
  • 3 medium sized fresh fish
  • ¼ cup ofor 
  • 250 ml palm oil
  • 1 tbsp uziza seeds (ground) 
  • 1 stock cube
  • Salt to taste 

Pre-cook process: 

  • Shell and clean snails. (See snail cleaning instructions on page ?)
  • Clean fish and cut up into smaller pieces.
  • Blend yellow peppers with crayfish.
  • Clean and devein prawns.

Process: Serves 6

  • Boil snails with a pinch of salt and a cup of water for 15 minutes. Strain and set aside.
  • In a separate pot, add 750 ml of water, stockfish, dry fish, fresh fish, shrimps, prawns, large and small periwinkles. 
  • Allow to simmer for 10 minutes till fresh fish is cooked.
  • Take out cooked fish and set aside.
  • Add blended crayfish and yellow peppers.
  • Pour in boiled snails.
  • Add palm oil. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Add ground uziza seeds. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in ofor and fish.
  • Add a pinch of salt to taste and stir gently. 
  • Leave to boil for 5 minutes.
  • Serve with preferred swallow.

There you have it! The recipe you definitely want to keep trying out. For a full-course introduction to the Nigerian cuisine, check out my cookbook available on the below links

Nigeria orders: here

Rest of the world order: here

I hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do!