WHEN we were young there were two types of soup that excited us growing up, it was either banga soup or this incredibly delicious black soup or Eru ru shin (Scent leaf soup from Agbor, in Delta State) as we called it, I can remember most times being controlled by the scent to land in the kitchen just to watch what was going on, mostly just to beg for a taste anyway.
If you have never tasted it then you don’t know what you are missing. Truly this soup is one of Nigeria’s treasure because it is not only delicious but it is also medicinal. True, the soup originates from Edo State but believe me when I tell you it is very much enjoyed in Delta State and prepared well there too( Probably because they used to be one state: Bendel State).
I have heard many women state categorically that when a women gives birth, the right soup to make for her is the black soup and so men are actually encouraged to learn how to make it not just because it is easy to make but due to the fact that a wife would rather her hubby make it than the maid (LOL). The soup is also quite good for weight loss .
Every kind of food has its origin and ethnicity but we have so integrated that everyone wants to learn a little bit of the other and anyone, who is Nigerian, and selects Nigerian meals based on ethnicity is not ready to learn how to accept this country’s rich cultural heritage, be it tradition or food.
It really doesn’t matter your language or ethnic group, if you try this soup and get it right, you are going to have the same experience as those that have been enjoying it since time immemorial.
The soup is Thick dark green, in fact blackish and this is gotten from the mixture of leaves grinded to make it the way it is.
Essentially there are three leaves used to make this soup, Efirin, bitter leaf and uziza but most people do it with two, my tribe in Delta use all three, some people from the south-west prefer just efirin and uziza and the list goes on.
The differences are there while in our neck of the wood, we use palm-fruits to prepare in the Southwest some use plain oil (I prefer you don’t)
Now let us get down to making some black soup, for this we need
- 1 medium bunch scent leaves
- 1 handful washed bitter leaves
- 1 medium bunch uziza leaves
- meat (Chicken if you wish)
- 1 medium size smoked Fish
- 2 medium-sized yellow pepper, ground
- 2 cups banga juice (palm fruit extract) or palm oil
- some pieces of pomo (optional)
- 1 cup periwinkle (optional)
- 1 cooking spoon ground crayfish
- 4 seasoning cubes
- salt to taste
This soup is actually made originally with banga sauce (Palm fruit sauce) first you boil your palm fruit till its soft (about 15-20minutes will do that) and then you extract the juice from it by putting in a mortar and pounding then sieve by adding water and squeezing the juice out.
Then you grind the Uziza leaves and scent leaves together while the bitter leaf was ground alone. However some people simple grind all together by soaking the scent leaves, uziza leaves in salt water for 5 minutes and rinse with clean water. Chop into smaller pieces with a knife and place in a blender with the washed bitter leaves. Add a little water just to make the blades of the blender move and grind. Set this aside.
Making black soup
Wash and boil the meat with half cup of onions, 2 cubes of maggi and a pinch of salt. Cook until the meat becomes soft and easy to chew, before it softens entirely add stock fish.
Add the dry fish (hot-water-washed), blended pepper, periwinkle (if used), crayfish, add the banga sauce and allow to cook for up to 15 minutes until the soupy mixture thickens.
Add the ground leaves, stir, add 2 cubes of maggi, salt to taste, allow to simmer for another five minutes and you are done.
For maximum enjoyment serve with eba, fufu, wheat, amala or semo.