Unlike other pepper soups from around the world, the Nigerian pepper soup is an incredibly spicy, intensely flavored and aromatic broth-like soup made primarily from a blend of native seeds and good amount of water, to which small cuts of a protein of choice is always added.
Goat meat, shaki/towel/tripe, cow skin/kpomo, chicken, fish, turkey are the protein mainly used to make the Nigerian pepper soup. Innards or offals of animals otherwise called assorted meat is sometimes used as well. This includes intestines, hearts, liver and other such parts.
Goat meat pepper soup is one of the most popular among the many pepper soup recipes in Nigeria. The catfish pepper soup popularly known as point and kill, comes in second after the goat meat pepper soup. It is not uncommon to find a local bar, lounge or restaurant in Nigeria that serves Nigerian pepper soup.
How to Make Nigerian Pepper Soup
In making the Nigerian pepper soup, the bone of contention usually bothers on what ingredients to use in the soup. With many, it’s always the case of not knowing the names of the ingredients but being able to recognise it on sight or smell. The Nigerian Pepper soup is an intricate soup to make and the native seeds are what brings the soup to life.
To learn how to make Nigerian Pepper Soup, here’s what you’ll need:
- Prep: 2 hrs 30 mins
- Cook: 1.5 hrs
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Serves: 1-2
- Electric or gas stove
- A powerful blender or spice grinder
- Medium sized bowls
- Cooking pots
- Measuring cup
- Cutlery (spoon and fork)
- Cooking spoon ladle
- Sieve or strainer
- Kitchen knife
- Pressure cooker
- 10-12 small cuts of skinless goat meat
- 6-8 small cuts of shaki/tripe/towel
- 6-8 small cuts cow skin/kpomo
- 4-8 rodo/scotch bonnet peppers/habanero
- 1 cluster uda uwentia/negro pepper/enge
- 3 tbsps ulima/alligator pepper/atariko
- 3 calabash nutmegs/ehuru seeds/ariwo
- 3 tbsps ground crayfish
- 1 handful/2-3 tbsps nchawu/scent leaves
- 4 stock cubes
- 3 tbsps crushed red pepper (optional)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 12-15 cups of water
First things to do/note
If preparing chicken pepper soup, use the whole chicken instead of drumsticks. For assorted beef pepper soup, buy different parts of beef and cut into medium size. Wash and cut cow foot into medium pieces for cow foot pepper soup.
With pepper soup, using the right ingredients is key to getting the right taste. You can either use water to make your pepper soup or you could grind the ingredients into a powder form and then add that to your meat stock. Use a mortar or try soaking the seed ingredients in water overnight to soften.
Add garlic cloves or sliced onions at the boiling stage of the meat to quicken the softening process, this is optional. Except you love the extra kick of pepper, you don’t have to use habanero peppers.
You may choose to buy the pre-ground pepper soup spice from African markets/stores if doing it from scratch would be a bother.
How to Make Nigerian Peppersoup: Steps
This preparation method describes goat meat pepper soup. To prepare chicken pepper soup, cow leg pepper soup, assorted beef or catfish pepper soup just substitute goat meat with the desired meat or fish.
In a bowl filled with water, add the ulima seeds, uda seeds and calabash nutmegs. Wash goat meat and shaki/kpomo. Put in separate pots.
Remove extra fat off the cow skin/kpomo and pluck the excess hairs. In the pot with shaki and kpomo, add water and slice 2 garlic cloves. Allow to boil over medium heat.
To the goat meat, add water, 2 sliced garlic cloves, crushed red pepper and 2 stock cubes. Boil over medium heat.
Use a spice grinder to grind the seeds in dry form or add seeds to blender with 5.5 cups of water and blend for 1-2 minutes. Add 4 more cups of water and blend till it begins to turn brown in color. Blend for another 2-3 minutes. Strain the blended liquid with a sieve or bowl twice to rid off sediments. Use the back of a spoon while straining to get the extra concentrated liquid out. Do away with the sediment once done.
Keep strained liquid aside and check on the meat, shaki and kpomo. Add water as needed till meats are soft.
Soak nchawu/scent leaves in water, loosen dirt by swishing around with spoon or fingers. Sieve soaked nchawu leaves, rinse under running water for a few minutes. Add nchawu leaves, habanero peppers and crayfish with 1 cup water and blend until smooth. Strain this blend as was done with the seed blend. Add the seed liquid to the newly strained liquid and mix thoroughly. Add crayfish remnants to liquid.
Add the mixed liquid to a large pot, add 2 stock cubes and boil over medium heat. Remove meat from pot and discard stock. Add boiled meats to boiling pepper soup. Allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes over low heat. Turn off heat and let is sit for 5 minutes before serving.
For a sensational feel, add a little palm oil as the last step in the cooking process.
- You can use any combination of meats to your heart’s desire. Assorted goat meat, shaki, kpomo, cow leg and assorted beef are popular ones. If you love to point and kill, then use catfish or otherwise try using chicken or turkey.
- You can replace the nchawu/scent leaves with bitter leaves or ukazi/utazi. It is important to use leaves that have a slightly bitter element to them. Chop the leaves into smaller pieces.
Video: How to Make Nigerian Peppersoup
For a more satisfying soup, add some small pieces of boiled yam into the soup.
Important health notes about Nigerian Pepper soup
- In hot or cold weather, the Nigerian pepper soup is enjoyed all year round.
- The soup has the capacity to stop a cold/flu in its tracks.
- It is a great soup for the convalescent group.
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