Exploration is not only by going places but trying new things and if you’ve been to Nigeria and you have not tried its diverse delicacies then believe me you have not been to Nigeria.
In truth there was a time in the country when people would avoid the delicacies of other tribes because it is not what they are used to but due to proper integration, people are learning that they have fantastic foods where they are from but that the horizon is broad and there are more fantastic food out there.
Now to our raison d’ etre, Afang. This exquisite delicacy originates from the Efik people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states of Nigeria but enjoyed by all Nigerians. It is also a very nutritious dish as the soup consists mainly of lots of vegetables, seafood, and some oil. Afang Soup is prepared with a generous quantity of Water leaves and the wild herbal Ukazi leaves, for non-Nigerians, well you just have to do some research or order it from Nigeria .
Ingredients for Afang Soup
Sliced fresh water leaves (1kg)/ can also be substituted with spinach leaves
1/2 cup of ground crayfish
Ground fresh Ukazi leaves (200g)
3 seasoning cubes (sweetener)
1 stock fish head (medium size)
2 medium sized dried or roasted fish
1.5 cups of palm oil
1 cup of Periwinkles (optional) but necessary to give it the much needed finesse
Salt and Pepper to taste (red fresh pepper)
1-2KG of any meat of choice.
Preparations to make Afang Soup
Assorted meat is the most suitable for afang soup but if you can’t find it in your location you can use any meat you can find. I used a combination of assorted meat and kpomo. Chicken too is also a substitute
Wash the snails with lime juice or grape juice and be sure it is rid of its slimy fluid. The periwinkle (isam) are usually cleaned by the sellers, you just need to wash.
The ground ukazi leaves act as thickener for this soup, Use fresh leaves for the soup but if you can’t find fresh stuff in your location, go ahead and substitute with the dried alternative. You can tell from the image above that the leaves are fresh.
Just go ahead and start parboiling the meat with all the necessary ingredients. (2 seasoning cubes, half cup of sliced onions, salt and other spice of choice)
Some people wash the water leaves before slicing them while other choose to slice them before washing. Slice and wash the water leaves and set aside in a plastic sieve to make sure that water is properly drained away.
Most people don’t like trace of water in their afang soup, that can be easily arrange, just try to squeeze the waterleaves tightly before you add them to the soup.
Soak the dried fish with warm water, remove the center bones and wash thoroughly with just water; also wash the stock fish head with warm water. Add them to the cooking meat and cook till they are soft and the pot is almost dry. Add the palm oil, crayfish and stir all together. Add the remaining cube of seasoning, ground pepper, snails and salt to taste, allow cooking for 3-5 minutes.
Add the water-leaves; allow to heat for 5 minutes before adding the ground ukazi. Stir all together, cover the pot and allow another 5 minutes and you are done with a delicious Afang soup.
Afang soup can be served with fufu, eba, pounded yam, wheat. A nice cool glass of water would wash it down nicely, as we are in the business of making sure you eat healthy.