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Cuisine Africana

Cuisine Africana: Ogbono Soup

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Cuisine Africana: Ogbono Soup

These are very common foods you find on the menu of many Nigerian restaurants, they are enjoyed both at home and in parties! Some things just combine well together, stock fish, smoked fish, Pomo, beef ,ogbono, and bitter leaf combo with pounded yam or Eba is a winner any day. Its most common in the West African region with each region having its own variations.

Ogbono is the dried seed of the African mango tree, and it is ground and used as a powerful thickener with an earthy flavor. Ogbono soup is popular everywhere in Nigeria and neighboring countries. Ogbono which is the seed of African mango is believed to have benefits in controlling weight. Some composition of this seed helps prevent sugars from being stored in the body.

4 to 6 servings


  • Palm or vegetable oil — 3/4 cup
  • Ground ogbono seed — 1/2 cup
  • Onion, chopped — 1
  • Chile peppers, minced — 2 or 3
  • Meat (cut into cubes 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Tomatoes, chopped — 2 cups
  • Water or stock — 3 cups
  • Vegetable: Frozen Spinach (you can also use Pumpkin leaves or even Bitterleaf)
  • Okra, cut into rounds — 1 cup
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 crayfish seasoning tablets
  • 2 tablespoons ground crayfish
  • 6-8 pieces Pomo
  • 1 medium piece Stock Fish head

1, Season the beef with beef seasoning, onion, some dry pepper and salt and set aside for about 30 minutes .
2, Steam the beef in its juice till dry, add some water and boil
3, Add the Pomo, stock fish head and cook till soft. If these get soft before the beef is fully cooked ,take out and set aside.
4, Wash and add the smoked fish and prawns when beef is almost cooked.
5 Heat you palm oil till hot but not smoking for about 3 -5 minutes
6, Pour ogbono into oil and turn off heat. Stir to dissolve the ogbono and set aside.


  • Substitutes for Ogbono: Ground ogbono seeds also go by the names agbono, apon, etima, dika and odika. They can be hard to find if you don’t have an African market near you. You can get some of the effect of their thickening power by doubling the amount of okra. Or try substituting ground pumpkin seeds (pepitas).
  • Meats: Any kind of meat can be used in ogbono soup. Beef and goat and bushmeat are popular, but you can use chicken too. Other options are oxtails, tripe and kpomo (cow skin).
  • Fish and Seafood: Dried, smoked or fresh fish are common — and for some, essential — additions to a pot of ogbono soup. So are fresh or dried snails, shrimp or crayfish, which are often ground to a powder. Use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 pound according to your taste. Add the fish or seafood at the same time you add the ogbono, greens and okra. Whole dried fish should be presoaked before adding to the soup.
  • Greens: Use spinach, collards, turnip greens or kale. Or if you have access to them, use local Nigerian greens like ugwu, igbo, waterleaf or bitterleaf.
  • Most Africans would throw in a couple Maggi® or bouillon cubes for added flavor.
  • The tomatoes can be eliminated if you prefer.
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