Food is more than just eating. It is a blend of years of cultural heritage, history, recipes, techniques and flavour passed down from one generation to another.And Nigerian meals comes in different forms from their alluring colours to snacks, drinks and tastes with unique recipes used by different ethnic groups and tribes around the country.
Today, the most popular Nigerian dishes are not consumed only by the ethnic groups or tribes to which the meals are peculiar to, they are now a daily meal across the country and have also become popular among those living outside the country either within Africa or outside the continent at large.
Individually, we are raised eating meals from our cultural heritage, which becomes part of who we are. Just as many of us do, we associate different meals from childhood memories with good memories and warm feelings or events that holds a personal or special value for us. Such meals become what we crave for as adults in times of anxiety and frustration creating a way we all remember home differently.
As a little kid, I often went on holidays to visit my grandparents God bless their soul. And coincidentally always came down with malaria fever each time I went there. I can vividly remember, my grand mum would prepare pepper soup (a native Nigeria soup) and bring it to bed for me. She always prepared it with some spices, fresh fish and goat meat.
The favour as well as taste of the soup turned to something I actually got accustomed to. So whenever I feel stressed or get the feeling I might be coming down with a fever I remember my grandma’s soup and will immediately develop an instant craving for it.
I will be guiding you through with the ingredients and procedures on how to prepare this lovely delight.
As well-known as this soup is within Nigeria, it really is such an exclusive recipe as you can prepare it with several types of sea foods and meats. There is the assorted (offal) pepper soup, catfish pepper soup, goat meat pepper soup, cow leg pepper soup etc. just to mention a few.
I will be exposing you to that cooking secret so you can also have the chance to cook this delicacy right in your own kitchen any day anytime.
- 1kg goat meat or chicken (whatever you prefer)
- Fresh or chilli pepper to your taste
- 3 or 4 calabash nutmeg or Ariwo or Ehu seeds
- 2 medium sized onions
- 3 teaspoons of grinded Uziza
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 2 seasoning cubes
You will be needing coffer or spice grinder for the Ehu seeds
1- You can prepare this soup with meat, offal, fish or a combination of all of them is fantastic. You can also decide to make it exclusively with a single type of meat or fish either only chicken, or goat meat, beef or catfish. So wash and cut up the pieces of the meat or fish and cut to sizes big enough that it can be big enough to be chewed at a go.
2-You will need to roast the Ehu seeds using a frying pan, you will have to stir the seeds constantly on the pan till you can smell it, you will know when it is ready as it will bring out a distinctive aroma. Also you can pick out one of the Ehu seeds from the pan and try to break off its shell, if the shell comes out easily then the Ehu is done.
3-Remove off the shell from the seeds and grind either with your coffer or spice grinder.
4-Slice the onions into cute little bits.
5-Rub the dry Uziza with your hands ti shred them into tiny bits. Alternatively, you can make use of fresh saint leaves.
1-I will be using Goat Meat for my cooking illustration. To prepare cat fish pepper Soup, chicken pepper soup, beef Pepper Soup or Assorted Beef Pepper Soup just substitute Goat Meat with cat fish or chicken respectively.
2-Put the cut pieces of Goat meat in the pot add the seasoning cubes, thyme and onions, pour in enough amount of water and cook till the meat is properly cooked and tender. Some meats are tender while others are tougher, whatever your choice might be, make sure it is properly cooked till it is tender enough to your taste.
3- After a while you will notice that some of the water in the pot has reduced, add more water to the level of the meat contents in the pot.
4-You can then add the sliced saint leaves or shredded Uziza, fresh or chilli pepper and salt. Add the pepper with care as too much of it would ruin this recipe for you, just because it is called pepper soup doesn’t you shouldn’t be able to taste its other ingredient asides the pepper.
Allow to boil for about 5 to 10 minutes and there you have it your pepper soup is ready.
One of the many reasons I love the Nigerian pepper soup is that its light, delicious, easy to prepare and also nutritious. It is perfect for you should be down with a fever or have loss of appetite as it awakens your hunger urge. It can be eaten alone alongside a chilled drink or you take it with boiled Yam, Bread, White Rice, Pounded Yam or Fufu.