Ofe Nsala (African white soup) is one of the easiest soups to cook, it is similar to cooking pepper soup but the only difference is that, it needs to be thickened with yam. This soup is one of my favourites back home in Nigeria, my mother made the best Nsala soup. We so looked forward to new yam festivals (iwa ji), mothering Sundays, father's Sunday and somettimes, when special visitors visited. My mother never cooked this with fresh fish, she made them with Agric-chicken. Chicken back home is so tasty than what we have here in the UK, hence the reason I opted for fresh fish. When she cooked it with chicken, she would add dry fish, bear this in mind if you will be cooking yours with chicken. Since, I got married, 6 years now, I have never attempted to make Nsala soup, not because I cannot cook it but simple because I want mummy dearest's specially cooked Nsala soup as an "aka ochie" ( as a pro).
Nsala soup is perfect winter soup and a very spicy one. We all know, eating spicy foods have a lot of benefits; aids in weight loss, longevity boost, anti-inflammatory effects and oh yes, as a pain reliever.
Enough of my rambling, here is my recipe.
Foodace Nsala Soup
Fresh cat fish (just as seen in the picture)
White peppercorn (optional)
Yam ( cut in cubes. About 6 cubes)
2 Knorr seasoning cubes
3 garlic cloves
Salt to taste
2 scotch bonnets
1/4 cup crayfish
1 bay leaf
Fresh king prawns (washed and peeled)
1/2 small onion
Basil leaves (chopped)
Combine white peppercorn, bay leaf, dried Uzizza and crayfish in a miller, blend until turned into powder. set aside.
In a blender, combine onion, scotch bonnet, garlic and water and blend.
Wash cat fish and pat dry with kitchen towel.
Place in a pot with the prawns (use a bigger pot, if you are using fish to avoid them breaking), add the Uzziza mix and the blended onion mix. Add water (the amount of water depends on the quantity of soup you aim to cook) and turn on the gas heat, medium burner.
Add seasoning cube (again adjust according to quantity of soup), yam, stir and cover pot with lid.
TIPS: When I am cooking anything with fish, I usually don't stir with cooking spoon, I just shake the pot. You get what I mean, right? Stir this way occasionally, saves the fish from breaking.
Once yam is cooked, take them out and pound or use food processor. Once they become like pounded yam, place back in the pot in small balls and reduce gas heat to allow simmering.
Again stir occasionally and add basil leaves, once the pounded yam is dissolved and soup thickened, add salt to taste; if need be.
Serve hot with any swallow of choice.
NOTE; if soup is too thick, add more water. If you are cooking with meat, add some dried fish, it enhances the taste and also remember to add a little bit of fresh Utazi.