THE BENIN OWO SOUP/STEW: As I have already written in most of my articles that in Nigeria there are many kinds of Soups and some are regarded as "Traditional" that loosely means originated from certain tribes or ethnic groupings. For example, Edika-ekong is believed to have its origin from the people of Calabar in the Cross River state, Ewedu soup and Efo riro originated from the Yoruba tribe, while Egusi soup originated from the Igbo tribe.
However, Owo soup originated from the Benin tribe. To me, Owo soup should really be called stew because the preparations, recipes and ingredients are too short and few to be compared with the above mentioned soups.
Most Nigerian soups are cooked with vegetables like spinach, greens, fluted pumpkin leaves, and other leaves but the few Owo soups I have seen and eaten seem to me to be mere stew baptized as soup!
The Benin owo soup is traditional used in eating mainly cabohydrates such as boiled yams, boiled plantains, sweet potatoes, boiled green bananas to mention a few.
Although some people can use Owo soup to eat boiled rice and beans but I have never seen any body eating akpu, eba gari, amala or pounded yam with it. I might be ignorant of the tradition but I deeply believe that Benin owo soup ought to be called stew instead of soup. To be sincere, the difference between Benin owo soup and other traditional or Nigerian soups in comparison is too clear!
RECIPES/ PREPARATIONS/INGREDIENTS OF BENIN OWO SOUP:
1..Smoked fish- cat fish, sardines, cray fish, herrings, mackerels etc. The quantity depends on the number of people that will participate in the eating.
2..Potash ( okawu or Kan) This is rare in soups!. No Nigerian major soups have potash as one of the ingredients.
4..Fresh tomatoes (ground)
5..Fresh peppers (ground)+ any local spices and seasonings
6.. Locust beans (Giro) boile7..Palm oil, and salt to taste.
Cooking Benin owo soup is very easy and saves lots of time compared with other soups. First, you have to determine what you want to eat the soup with. Naturally, the soup goes well with boiled yams, plantains, green bananas and beans and of course, including rice.
Preparation and cooking starts with washing the smoked fish or fishes, and adding all the ingredients into the cooking pot already pre-heated and on the stove. Then follow up with the palm oil and continue to mix and stir until the soup is thick and ready to be eaten with the natural accompaniments such as yams and bioiled plantains etc. Nigerian yam pottage!