“This soup looks like beans, is it yummy?”, I asked when a friend mentioned Owo Isha recently. I was not hearing about the soup for the first time and my curiosity was piqued. What was all the fuss about this funny-looking dish? So, after much research, let’s hear what this dish is all about. We’ll find out the ingredients needed to make the meal, the health benefits, and of course, we’ll take away interesting key points.
Owo soup is a special soup native to most of the riverine areas in Nigeria. However, it is mostly cherished by the people of Delta State, especially the Urhobos and Isokos. It is usually prepared for special occasions. There are actually two major Owo soup recipes. The Deltans argue that the main version is the one called ‘Owo Esha’ or ‘Owo Isha’ – the version that has the smallest size of brown beans as the major ingredient. The soup can be served with starch, fufu, plantain, semolina, or garri.
Ingredients for Owo Soup (Owo Isha)
Beef – dried beef preferably
Cow Skin (ponmo)
Edible potash (akanwu, kaun, keun)
Uda or Negro Pepper
Hot and spicy pepper (to taste)
Preparing Owo Isha
- Soften your beans in warm water for about 25-30mins.
- Rinse out the beans, transfer them to a cooking pot and add water and palm oil. Leave it to cook for about 45mins to 1 hour.
- Then, add your crayfish, clean meat & fish, and allow to cook for another 20 mins
- Melt some potash and native salt in water and add in bits to the soup (on low heat)
- Next, add melted starch, a little quantity at a time till you notice the soup thickening.
- Add the Uda, pepper, and stock cubes. Taste for salt.
- DO NOT cover the soup, allow simmering for about 20mins
- And, Voila! Owo Isha is ready!
- Obviously, it takes quite some time to get this soup ready, thanks to the beans.
- There are a lot of healthy components to the dish. You will be stocking up a lot of energy from the starch as well as calcium, iron, fiber, and B-vitamins. The potassium in the dish works well on the nervous system and the heart while reducing water retention.
- It is worthy to note that the Owo Isha is loaded with calories.
- Consuming Potash during pregnancy is still a controversial topic. While some reports suggest that eating potash during pregnancy can actually lead to abortion, other reports state that it can only induce abortion when taken in large amounts.
So, should you try out this dish? Please! By all means, do try it out. But, (Shhhhh…..) if you are watching those calories or you’re pregnant, take Owo Isha in moderation. We hear that every day, and for all the things that are worth bingeing on. Oh well, can it get any better?
Remember the question I asked my friend? “Yes oh.. very yummy” That was his answer. Sincerely, the soup looks weird at first, but for all it’s worth, you’ll find out that it is really yummy. You’re welcome to Delta State.
If you’re interested in learning how to prepare owho isha, see this video. Stay tuned for more interesting food articles.