OFE NSALA SOUP aka WHITE SOUP || SISIYEMMIE
How to Prepare Nsala Soup
If you want to make a simple Nigerian soup, try nsala. This catfish-based soup is easy to prepare in a single pot. Boil the catfish and yam before you grind the yam into a paste. Blend ground crayfish with ogiri and utazi leaves. Add these to the fish in the pot and bring the soup to a boil. Stir the yam paste into the soup to thicken it and give it flavor.
4 1 inch (2.5 cm)-thick pieces of catfish
1 large white yam
1 tablespoon (8 g) ground crayfish
1 teaspoon (9.5 g) ogiri or fermented locust bean seasoning (iru)
1 stock cube (such as Maggi or Knorr)
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons (3.5 g) utazi leaves (Gongronema latifolium), optional
1 habanero pepper, optional
Makes about 4 servings
Preparing the Catfish and White Yam
Gut and cut the catfish into 4 pieces, if necessary.Buy 4 catfish steaks that are 1 inch (2.5 cm)-thick. If you bought 1 large piece of catfish, remove the intestines, head, and tail. Slice the piece of fish into 4 equal sized fish steaks that are 1 inch (2.5 cm)-thick.
- If you can't find catfish, substitute conger eel.
Pour hot water over the catfish and soak it for 2 minutes.Set the fish steaks in a bowl and pour enough hot water to cover the fish by about 1 centimeter (0.4 in). The water should be close to boiling (about 200 °F (93 °C). Let the fish soak in the hot water for 2 minutes so the skin toughens. This will help the fish hold its shape as it cooks in the soup.
Rinse the fish with cold water.Carefully pour away the hot water from the bowl and run each fish steak under cold water. Rub the fish gently to rinse away any slimy material that may have accumulated as the fish soaked in the hot water. Transfer the fish steaks to a soup pot.
Cut and add the yam to the pot.Use a vegetable peeler to remove the peel from 1 large white yam. Cut the yam into large chunks that are about 2 inches (5.1 cm) in size. Add the yam chunks to the soup pot with the catfish steaks. Pour in enough water to reach the top of the fish.
Cover and cook the yam and catfish for 25 to 30 minutes.Turn the heat on the burner to high and bring the water to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-high, cover, and boil the yam chunks and catfish until the yam is soft when you poke it with a fork. The fish should be completely cooked.
- The yam will thicken the soup as it cooks.
- The amount of water you need will depend on the size of your soup pot.
Remove and pound the yam into a smooth paste.Turn the heat off and use a slotted spoon to scoop out several cubes of cooked yam. Transfer all of the yam to a mortar or food processor. Use a Mortar and Pestle or food processor to blend the yam into a smooth paste. Set the yam aside.
- If you're using a food processor, you may need to add a few tablespoons of water so the blade can blend the yam.
Assembling the Nsala Soup
Soak the utazi leaves for 10 minutes.If you'd like to include them, place 2 tablespoons (29.6 ml) (3.5 g) of utazi leaves into a bowl with enough water to cover them. Soak the leaves for 10 minutes so they soften a little.
- If you have trouble finding utazi leaves or don't like their slightly bitter taste, you can leave them out.
Rinse and cut the habanero pepper.Trim off the stem from 1 habanero pepper and slice it in half. Rinse away the seeds and finely chop the pepper.
- You can leave out the habanero pepper or substitute a jalapeno pepper if you don't want the soup to be very spicy.
Pound or grind the utazi leaves, pepper, and ground crayfish.Drain the utazi leaves through a fine mesh strainer and transfer the leaves to a mortar or food processor. Add the finely chopped habanero pepper and 1 tablespoon (14.8 ml) (8 g) of ground crayfish. Use the pestle to pound the mixture until it's a thick paste or use the food processor to blend it. Set the mixture aside.
- If you're using the food processor, add a few tablespoons of water to keep the mixture from sticking.
Stir the utazi paste into the soup pot with the fish.Remove the lid from the soup pot and add the utazi paste to the liquid in the pot. Stir gently so the paste dissolves but doesn't break up the fish.
Add the yam paste, stock cube, and ogiri.Stir the yam paste into the pot 1 spoonful at a time. Add 1 stock cube and 1 teaspoon (9.5 g) ogiri or fermented locust bean seasoning (iru). Stir the seasonings into the soup so they dissolve.
Finishing and Serving the Soup
Adjust the seasonings.Taste the soup and add salt according to your taste. For more flavoring, you can also stir in an extra stock cube or another 1 teaspoon (9.5 g) of ogiri or fermented locust bean seasoning.
Boil the soup for 5 minutes.Turn the heat back to high so the soup comes to a boil. Boil the soup for 5 minutes so the yam dissolves completely. Cook the soup until it's as thick as you like.
- Keep the lid off of the pot so some of the liquid evaporates and the soup thickens.
Dish the soup and fish steaks into serving bowls.Turn off the heat and ladle the soup into 4 serving bowls. Place 1 of the catfish steaks into each bowl and then use the ladle to spoon in the soup.
Serve or store the soup.Serve the soup while it's still hot. Consider serving the nsala soup along with ofada rice, fried plantains, or beans porridge. Refrigerate the leftover soup in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
Video: Ofe Nsala Soup Recipe: How to Cook Ofe Nsala With Goat Meat (White Soup)
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