The Punch

Foodie Ogolale pepper soup

- With Iyabo Lawani Tel: 0705478675­2 (SMS only) Email: iyaboadeli­ Mobola Sadiq Sundayfood­ 0905944604­4

Ogolale (like the Itsekiris call it) or Ihribotor (like the Urobohs calls it) or Ose ani (like the Ibusa people call it) simply means pepper soup that was not cooked. It sounds interestin­g, right? Well, this is one pepper soup that is amazingly sumptuous.

I was always puzzled by how my mother used to put all the ingredient­s together, roast them and put them in a mortar to be grinded with a pestle. She would then add some water and ground pepper, then mix well. For me, the catch was how she would take a smoked fish mackerel or dried herring (bonga fish) like they call it in Warri and roast well. She would then put the soup in the mortar and the sizzling sound it made would alert us that ‘ogalale’ is done.

This soup is usually served with boiled yam and plantain, with palm oil.

Welcome to my world!


•1 medium mackerel fish or bonga fish

•8 iwo (African nutmeg)

•4 omillo

•1 pod Negro pepper (uda, egidije)

•1 small piece aidan fruit (iyanyang, uyayak)

•2 tbsp crayfish

•6 dried pepper (pounded)

•4 fresh pepper, optional (pounded)

•1 tsp dried ground pepper

•6 scent leaves

•1 tsp beletete

•1/2 tsp native salt

•Seasoning to taste Method

•Break all spices from casing and roast over a burning fire. Put in a clean mortar and grind well

•Pour four cups of water in the pot, add the pepper, crayfish, seasoning and native salt, then grind further

•Add hot water and stir well

•Roast the mackerel till it is quite smoky. Submerge in the soup, stir well and taste for salt. Correct the seasoning if necessary and add all the herbs. Stir well again

•Serve immediatel­y with boiled yam or plantain and palm oil.

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