Okra Soup: West Africa’s Rich, Flavourful and Much Loved Soup By Nourishing Africa

Image Credit: 1Q Food Platter

 

Okra soup is a popular West African soup. It contains various essential and non-essential ingredients including Okra, red palm oil, beef, fish (Mackerel/Titus, dry fish, and stockfish), crayfish, pepper, salt, Nigerian pumpkin leaves or spinach, and stock cubes.

Okra is a flowering plant and is most notable for its edible green seed pods. It is available year-round, with a peak season during the  / spring months in countries such as North America when winter season has passed. The pods grow rapidly, being ready for harvest in about 60 days of summer weather when grown from seed.

It is believed that Okra originated in East Africa, and was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians in the 12th century B.C. Its cultivation spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East. Okra expanded its reach to the Caribbean and North America in the 1700s, through the movement of slaves from West Africa, and was introduced to Western Europe soon after. Today okra is popular in Africa, the Middle East, Greece, Turkey, India, the Caribbean, South America, and the Southern U.S.

 

 

Okra can be prepared in various ways: steamed, baked, pickled, boiled, or stewed. It can also be eaten raw as the seed pods can be seasoned and mixed into a salad. Okra has been incorporated into many stews around the world, for example in Sub-Saharan Africa, Okra soup is a favourite . Okra soup is a popular soup in Sub-Saharan Africa where the okra is sliced and cooked with red palm oil, beef, shaki, dry fish, stockfish, crayfish, and vegetables such as Nigerian pumpkin leaves or spinach. There are also optional ingredients such as onions, tripe.

 

Okra is a good source of vitamin C and A, also B complex vitamins, iron, and calcium. It is low in calories, a good source of dietary fiber, and is fat-free. Its health benefits include insulin-like properties that can keep blood glucose levels regulated, a boosted immune system and antioxidants which help fight free radicals (helps prevent mutation of cells).