how to make Onugbu soup

Onugbu Soup

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How to Cook Anambra Onugbu soup? Bitter Leaf Soup Anambra Onugbu soup, originating from the Igbo tribe in Anambra state, is a cherished traditional dish that holds a special place in Nigerian cuisine, particularly in the eastern region. Named “Onugbu” due to its primary ingredient, bitter leaf, this soup is renowned for its rich blend of high-quality ingredients and its distinctively slightly bitter flavor.

How To Cook Anambra Onugbu Soup with Chicken


  1. Bitter leaf (Some prefer to wash and thoroughly squeeze it to reduce bitterness)
  2. Chicken
  3. Palm oil
  4. Onions
  5. Pepper
  6. Crayfish
  7. Salt
  8. Seasoning (in a cube or powder form)
  9. Stockfish
  10. Periwinkle
  11. Thickener (Yam, cocoyam, or plantain)


  1. Begin by cleaning and rinsing the chicken pieces. Place them in a pot along with seasonings, salt, pepper, onions, and stock or dried fish to infuse flavor.
  2. Peel and slice the cocoyam, then boil it until it becomes soft and easy to pound. A thorough pounding results in a smooth, soft paste.
  3. In a separate pot, combine the well-pounded cocoyam with water, stirring continuously over low heat. The aim is to achieve a thick and smooth consistency resembling stretchy dough, known as the thickener.
  4. Next, prepare the bitter leaf. Wash it meticulously to remove any impurities, and then squeeze it to extract some of the bitter liquid content, ensuring the soup is not overly bitter.
  5. In a large pot, warm the palm oil until it is clear but not overheated. Add the chicken, dried or stockfish, periwinkle, crayfish, bitter leaf, and thickener (cocoyam paste).
  6. Thoroughly stir the ingredients and add water to achieve the desired consistency.
  7. You can enhance the flavor with seasoning cubes or powder, adjusting to taste.
  8. Allow the Onugbu soup to boil for about fifteen minutes, allowing the flavors to blend harmoniously.
  9. Your delicious Onugbu soup is now ready to be enjoyed with your choice of swallow, such as fufu, eba, or pounded yam.

Does Onugbu Soup Have an Expiration Date?

Yes, Onugbu soup has a limited shelf life, as is the case with many African dishes. The duration of its freshness depends on various factors, including storage methods.

Failure to store it correctly can lead to spoilage.

Hence, it is crucial to adhere to proper storage procedures to preserve the quality and freshness of your Onugbu soup.


How to Reduce Bitterness in Onugbu Soup

Reducing the bitterness in Onugbu soup can be achieved through the following steps:

  1. Thoroughly wash and rinse the bitter leaf under running water to eliminate any lingering impurities.
  2. Squeeze the bitter leaf properly to remove or diminish excessive bitterness.
  3. Optionally, you can immerse the squeezed bitter leaf in boiling water for a few minutes, which some find effective in reducing bitterness. However, this method is not mandatory.
  4. After squeezing, taste a small portion of the leaf to determine if it remains too bitter for your preference. You can repeat the squeezing process until the desired level of bitterness is achieved.

Health Benefits of Onugbu Soup

Onugbu soup offers several health benefits, including:

  1. Antioxidant Protection: The polyphenols and flavonoids in bitter leaf help protect body cells from oxidative damage.
  2. Digestive Aid: The slightly bitter taste of the bitter leaf can aid in digestion.
  3. Nutrient-Rich: Bitter leaf is a source of essential vitamins, minerals, potassium, and calcium, contributing to overall well-being.
  4. Immune Support: Bitter leaf helps strengthen the body’s defense against infections.
  5. Weight Management: Despite being rich and nutritious, Onugbu soup is low in calories, making it a suitable choice for weight management.


How Long Can Onugbu Soup Be Stored in the Refrigerator?

Your Onugbu soup maintains its freshness for approximately four to five days when stored in the refrigerator. However, proper storage is essential to ensure this duration. Follow these steps to keep your Onugbu soup in optimal condition:

  1. Allow the soup to cool to room temperature after cooking.
  2. Transfer the soup to a clean airtight container with a tightly sealed lid. This step prevents external elements, such as air and moisture, from infiltrating the container.
  3. Place the airtight container at the rear of the refrigerator, where a stable temperature is maintained. Avoid storing it near the door, as frequent opening and closing of the fridge can lead to temperature fluctuations.
  4. Consider labeling the container with the storage date to help keep track of its freshness. Adhering to these guidelines ensures that your Onugbu soup remains fresh for an extended period in the fridge.

How Long Does Bitter Leaf Soup Last in the Freezer?

Bitter leaf soup, including Onugbu soup, can endure freezing for up to two months when stored correctly. Similar to refrigeration, proper handling, and storage are crucial to maintaining quality. Here’s how to prepare and store your soup for freezing:

  1. Use airtight sealed containers designed for freezer storage.
  2. Distribute the soup among these containers, taking into consideration portion sizes that suit your needs.
  3. Seal the containers tightly to prevent the intrusion of air and moisture.
  4. Store the containers in the freezer, where the extremely low temperature helps preserve the soup’s quality.

By following these steps, your Bitter Leaf or Onugbu soup can remain in the freezer for up to two months without compromising its taste and texture.

How To Store Bitter Leaf Soup To Last Longer

Onugbu soup can be stored in different ways, depending on how long you plan to keep it:

  1. Refrigeration: In the fridge, Onugbu soup can stay fresh for about four to five days. Cool the soup to room temperature before transferring it to a clean airtight container. Ensure a tight seal to prevent air and moisture infiltration. Store the container toward the back of the fridge to maintain a stable temperature and consider labeling it with the storage date.
  2. Freezing: If you want to preserve Onugbu soup for an extended period, freezing is ideal. Use airtight containers for proper storage, as they can last up to two months in the freezer, thanks to the low operating temperature.

Factors Affecting the Price of a Pot of Onugbu Soup

The cost of a pot of Onugbu soup can vary widely, typically ranging from NGN25,000 to NGN100,000.

However, the price is not fixed and can be influenced by various factors.

These factors include market prices, location, cooking techniques, ingredients, pot size,

And the quantity of soup, which collectively determines the final price.


Signs of Spoiled Onugbu Soup

Recognizing spoiled Onugbu soup involves looking for specific indicators:

  1. Unpleasant Odor: If the soup emits an unusual or foul smell, it is a clear sign that it has gone bad and should be discarded immediately.
  2. Altered Taste: Tasting a small portion of the soup can reveal whether it is safe to consume. A sour taste indicates spoilage and the need for disposal.
  3. Unusual Appearance: Observe the soup for any color changes, which could result from mold growth or other microbial activities.
  4. Unusual Texture: An abnormal consistency, such as sliminess or mushiness, can signal spoilage.

Disadvantages of Onugbu Soup

While Onugbu soup is highly regarded, it does have some disadvantages, including:

  1. Slight Bitterness: Some individuals may find the soup’s slightly bitter taste unappealing.
  2. Caloric Content: The palm oil used in cooking contains saturated fats, which can pose health risks when consumed excessively.


Anambra Onugbu soup is a highly nutritious delicacy that demands top-quality ingredients and precise preparation.

To savor the true essence of this delicious soup, it’s essential to use the right ingredients and follow the correct preparation instructions.

Your ability to create this soup successfully hinges on adhering to the correct techniques, ensuring a delightful outcome that captures the essence of this traditional Nigerian dish.

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