Swallow is a local slang in Nigeria used to describe a dough-like moulded starchy solids eaten with soups. They are naturally solid, stretchy, starchy and easily malleable once prepared. Often made from the derivatives of tubers (cassava, yam,etc) or grains (wheat, millet, rice, etc), swallows make up most of the Nigerian main course meals when accompanied with soups. There are varieties of swallow which stretch from tribes to tribes across the nation. Popular ones are Eba (Garri), Fufu, Iyan (pounded yam), Starch, Amala, Semo, Tuwo, etc.
Nigerian soups are typically made with a variety of vegetables, plant seeds, prepared from palm Oil, and spices while garnished with meats – beef, fish, chicken, etc. Nigerian soups can be either thick, thin or slimy (draw). While some soups slap effectively with certain swallows, there are other soups that are delicious irrespective of the swallow you use. These are our top ten picks of those soups.
Nigerian Egusi Soup is one of the most popular soups consumed in Nigeria. This delicious soup is well-sought all over the country and beyond, and it is equally enjoyed by everyone. Egusi soup is nutty, spicy and so rich thanks to the variety of meats and fish often used.
The Nigerian soup is made from melon seeds called “egusi”. It can be made plain or have some vegetables added to it. In some places, it is made plain and watery, while some tribes like it thick, garnished with vegetables. This healthy soup, full of beneficial nutrients like Vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, tastes terrific when paired with fufu dishes.
Ofe Nsala is arguably the most delicious soup in Nigeria. It is a mouth watering delicacy peculiar to the Igbo tribe of Nigeria, especially the people of Anambra state. It is called white soup because it doesn’t require palm oil – well different from other Nigerian soups. It is a very rich fresh fish soup, traditionally made with Catfish. Efik people have their own version of White Soup, it’s known as Afia Efere. It is made with small pieces of yam with utazi/uziza leaves. Although very popular to make with catfish, one can decide to use any other meat source as they want – chicken, smoked fish, and dry fish are other options.
When you describe a soup that is very easy to prepare but very delectable, Ogbono Soup is that soup. The soup is also known for its slimy nature and is locally called as draw soup in Nigeria. It is eaten in virtually all places in Nigeria although very common in the south-west and South-Eastern region.
Ogbono soup is made from ground ogbono seed (African mango seeds), red palm oil, onions, stock, seasoning cubes, leafy vegetables such as spinach, pumpkin leaves, or bitterleaf, and assorted meat and fish such as beef, tripe, shrimp, and crayfish. It is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. While the soup is best eaten when cooked with vegetables, it can also be eaten plain or combined with okra.
Seafood Okra is a hearty seafood soup that will make you fall in love with okra. To make this soup, you can use a mix of prawns, catfish, crabs, tilapia, shrimps, or any seafood of your choice. The more, the better.
Seafood okra soup is made differently from Nigerian okra soup and can be eaten alone as a meal. This protein-packed meal is rife with health benefits and tastes so good!
Afang soup is a yummy delicacy, a vegetable soup that originates from the Efik people of the Efik kingdom in Cross River State and the Ibibio People of Akwa Ibom in South South Nigeria It is a delicious soup made with Afang leaves and leafy vegetables. Afang leaf also called Eru in Cameroon and Okazi in other parts of Nigeria is a flavorful green leafy vegetable Gnetum africanum, that is commonly grown in West Africa and used in making different soups and stews. The ingredients used to prepare Afang soup include beef, fish, palm oil, crayfish, pepper, Shaki (cow tripe), waterleaf, okazi leaf, onion, periwinkle salt and some other seasonings.
Edikaikong Soup is a highly nutritious, delicious and savoury vegetable soup natively prepared using ‘ugwu’ (pumpkin leaves) and spinach (water leaf in Nigeria). It is a soup popular with the South South region of Akwa Ibom and Calabar. Like most soups from these coastal regions, this dish comes loaded with various seafood delicacies (periwinkles being a regular staple) and all forms of “obstacles” (Nigerian slang for the preponderance of assorted meat cuts in their soups) . This soup goes well with any form of ‘swallow’, although it is often eaten with fufu.
Miyan kuka also called Luru soup is a Nigerian soup that is common in the northern part of Nigeria. The soup is prepared with ground baobab leaves and dried okra, which are both very healthy ingredients; other ingredients used in cooking it are onions, oil, ginger, dried fish, locust beans, hot chilli peppers, and seasoning cubes. Baobab trees are prolific in northern Nigeria and the leaves are picked, dried and ground into very fine green powder. This leaf is nutrient-dense and the tree is in fact called the ‘tree of life’. This soup is usually eaten with some healthy Nigerian swallows but the common ones are tuwo shinkafa, fufu, garri etc.
Oha or Ora soup is one of the most delicious soups in Nigeria. This tasty soup is native to the South Eastern people of Nigeria. It is a very traditional soup cooked with oha leaves ( the English name is the African Rosewood plant). The plant is medicinal and grows into a huge tree that retains its green leaves throughout the year. The green leaves are incredibly nutritious and are used in preparing a delicious local soup called Oha/Ora soup. Oha soup is high in folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, and iron all of which are necessary for a healthy pregnancy. Oha soup is recommended for women who are pregnant.
Bitterleaf is one of the most nutritious vegetables, so the health importance of this soup can not be overemphasised. Ofe Onugbu is made with bitter leaves and cocoyam paste. This delicious Nigerian soup is packed full of flavour, hearty and quite filling too
The leaves are transformed into a wholesome and well-sought-after delicacy when cooked with ingredients like beef, stock, smoked catfish, ground egusi, palm oil, and blended tomatoes and peppers.
Efo-riro needs no introduction as it is one of the most popular soups in Nigeria. The name efo-riro means vegetable soup and it is a hearty Nigerian soup native to the Yorubas. It usually consists of spinach, Ugwu, stockfish, scotch bonnets (atarado), tatashe (red bell pepper), onions, crayfish, water, palm oil, red onion,, other vegetables, seasonings, meat.
It is one unique soup because it goes well with any swallow as well as rice, yam, etc.