Cusines

SOME OF IHIAGWA’S CUISINE & RECIPES

The people of Ihiagwa as earlier said are part of the Igbo speaking ethnic group in Nigeria and as such our recipes and cuisine are also those eaten among the Igbo’s of  Nigeria. Ihiagwa is not complete without some of her special cuisines, some of which are mentioned below.

OFE – OWERRI SOUP

OFE – OWERRI SOUP serve 4-6

This is classic Ihiagwa and Owerri soup flavoured with aromatic Uzouza leaves, Ugwu (fresh Pumpkin leaves) and Okazie leaves and lightly thickened with Cocoyam, really captures the scent of Ihiagwa town and Igbo land.

lkg / 2Ib assorted meats (Beef Oxtail, Tripe, Bokoto & Bushmeat),
Ponmo, 450g / lib stockfish (washed & flaked )
1 medium dry fish (washed & flaked)
225g / 8oz ground chilies
225g / 8oz ground crayfish
225g/8oz Uzouza leaves, shredded
450g/lib cocoyam boiled and pounded
1lt / 2 pint stock or water
salt to taste

Wash the meat thoroughly and place in a large pot. Season with salt and ground chilies add some stock and cook for 45 minutes. Cook the stockfish separately for 1 hour or pre-soaked. Meanwhile, wash and peel the cocoyam, cook until soft and pound. Add the washed smoked fish and stock to the pot of boiling meats and cook for I0 minutes. Add the stock and bring to boil. Mould the pounded cocoyam into small balls and add to soup, stir in the crayfish, shredded Uzouza leaves and oil. Adjust seasoning and simmer for 15 minutes until slightly thick. Serve hot with Pounded yam, Garri (roast cassava grains) or akpu.

EGUSI SOUP

EGUSI SOUP serves 4-6

This humble melon seed soup is quite popular in Ihiagwa and all over Nigeria. Although cooking techniques and the kind of vegetables used might differ from region to region it is still absolutely delicious when properly cooked.

250g 8oz fresh beef chucks
500g / llb bushmeat
500g / lib stockfish (pre-soaked)
500g / lib smoked dry fish
250g / 8oz oxtail
250g / 8oz cleaned tripe
2pt stock or water
300g /100z ground egusi
500g lib fresh tomatoes
250g / 8oz fresh peppers
2 large onion
teaspoons iru
4 tablespoon ground crayfish
500g.llb fresh bitter leaf (washed to remove excessive bitterness)
salt to taste

Wash thoroughly the beef oxtail bushmeat and tripe. Place a large pot with sliced onions season with salt add a drop of water or stock and cook for 30 minutes or until tender.

Add the washed dry fish and stockfish and cook for another 10 minutes. When cooked mm into a large clean bowl. Wipe out the pot and place back on heat. Pour the oil into the pot when hot add the ground tomatoes onions and peppers and
fry for 10 minutes. Add the ground egusi and iru stirring thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes. Finally add cooked meats washed bitter leaf Crayfish and the stock.

Allow to boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot with any of the stiff puddings; Pounded yam, Garri (roast cassava grains)/eba or Akpu.

VARIATIONS

Others green leaf vegetables such as fresh waterleaf Soko Tete. Igbo ugwu and Uzouza leaves can also be used on their own or as a combination m the above recipe using the same methods.

OGBONO SOUP
OGBONO SOUP
Just like the egusi, ogbono soup is thoroughly enjoyed by all Nigerians. It is a particular favourite amongst the lbos in the east to whom this superb soup is deemed incomplete without the addition stockfish.

lkg/ 21b assorted meats (oxtail, tripe, ponmo & bushmeat)
450g/llb stock fish(pre-soaked)
450g / llb dried fish (washed)
225g / 8oz whole dry prawns (cleaned)
225g / 8oz ground ogbono seeds
225g/8oz ground crayfish
25g / 8oz ground pepper
25g / loz iru
I medium onion
290ml / lOfl ozpalmoil
3pt stock or water
salt to taste

Washed the assorted meats thoroughly and place in a pot. Add the sliced onions, ground chillies and some stock or water. Cooked for 30 minutes. Add the washed smoked fish and stockfish, cook for a further 10-15 minutes adding a drop of water or stock as needed to stop it from burning. In another pot, heat the oil and fry the ground seeds for 3 minutes to bring out the nutty flavour.

Gradually add the stock and whisk until it draws and bubbles. Add the cooked meats peppers and crayfish.
Dissolve the locust bean in a little stock and add to the soup. Allow to simmer for another 10 minutes, check seasoning and serve hot with Pounded yam, Garri (roast cassava grains)/Eba or Akpu.

VARIATIONS
OGBONO SOUP WITH BITTER LEAF
225g / 8oz washed bitter leaf added to main recipe
OGBONO SOUP WITH UGWU
500g / llb shredded ugwu leaves added to main recipe.
OGBONO SOUP WITH IGBO
225g/8oz washed igbo leaves added to main recipe
OGBONO SOUP WITH WATERLEAF
500g/llb washed watterleaf added to main recipe.
GARRI
PREPARATION OF GARI (roast cassava grains)
Although gari can be purchased readily it can also be pre pared at home particularly is a special quality if desired. The cassava roots are dug up and peeled. They are then washed and soaked in water for 2 hours. The roots are then grated and placed in tightly woven but porous bags; weights are placed on the bags for three days to eliminate much of the water. The contents of the bag is spread out to dry in the sun for several hours. When dry the grated cassava is then sifted and dry roasted a little at a time in a large pot over a fierce fire. A few drops of palm-oil may be added for colour and flavour.

OGI
PREPARATION OF OGI (fermented corn starch) aka Akamu, pap
Wash and soak the corn kernels in water overnight or for 24 hours to ferment. Drain the corn and grind into a smooth paste. Mix the grotmd corn with cold water and sieve using a fine sieve to separate the husks from the starch. Allow the starch to settle in the water overnight. Drain and store the fermented corn starch in the refrigerator. Use as required; ogi is usually prepared for breakfast and served with Akara.

ISI-EWU ( spiced goat head)
Isi-Ewu ( spiced goat head)serve 6

Cooked and served in a thick spicy sauce, this is an authentic Eastern Nigeria dish (Igbo). A real favourite amongst Nigerians and certainty not for the faint-hearted as the heat from the large amount of chilies used is enough to take your palate off. I have reduced the amount of chilli used in this recipe, but it can be increased to suit one’s taste. A superb dish to be enjoyed on its own.

INGREDIENT :
1goat (head and legs only)
3 fresh chilli pepper
8 fresh tomatoes
2 onions
1 clove garlic
I teaspoon pepper soup seasoning
3tbs. lemon juice
4tbs. tomato puree
200ml/7floz palm-oil
1lt/2pints stock or water
I onion (sliced)
chopped wild mini
salt to taste

Singe the hairs off the head and legs of goat, scrape and singe alternatively until all the hairs are off. Burn the hoofs and horns, peel them off with the point of a heavy knife. Wash the head and legs thoroughly with soap and a rough sponge or brush. Chop into small pieces with a sharp cleaver and rinse thoroughly, discarding the brains. Pour over the lemon juice and mix in. Leave to rest for 15 minutes. Grind together the onions, garlic, chilies and tomatoes. Place meat in a large pot, add the sliced onions, chilies, stock and seasonings. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. Check and stir frequently. Finally add the grind chilies, tomatoes, onions, palm-oil and wild mint. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 30-40 minutes until meat is tender. Adjust seasoning and serve in traditional earthenware dishes garnish with chopped mint.

OKRO AND BITTERLEAF SOUP
Okro and Bitterleaf Soup
500g/llb assorted parts of meat (washed)
I medium smoked fish (washed)
225g / 8oz stockfish (pre- soaked)
22 5g / 8oz bushmeat (washed)
500g/ llb fresh okro
225g / 8oz bitter leaf (washed)
150ml / 5/7 oz palm-oil
3pt stock or water
I 00g / 4oz ground crayfish
25g / loz iru (locust bean)
I 00g / 4oz ground pepper

Place the washed meats in a large pot, add a drop of water or stock, season with salt and ground pepper and boil for 30 minutes or until tender. Add the smoked fish and stock fish, cook for another 10 minutes. Add the rest of the stock. Prepare the okro by washing thoroughly in cold water. Divide into two, finely chop one half and cut the rest into small rounds. Add the prepared okro together with the washed bitter-leaf to the boiling soup and stir. Add the palm-oil and iru, allow to bubble and simmer for 5 minutes, sprinkle in ground crayfish and stir. Simmer for another 10minutes. Check seasoning and serve hot with pounded yam or akpu

VARIATIONS
Fresh Pumpkin leaves (Ugwu), waterleaf or uzoza leaves can be substituted for bitterleaf in this recipe. It can also be cooked plain without using any of the vegetables. This is better known as lla Alasepo.

AKARA (Bean balls)

Akara (Bean balls) makes 8
500g/llb beans
1 onion
3 fresh pepper
warm water for mixing
oil for frying
salt to taste

Soak beans for 5 minutes and wash thoroughly to remove skin. Grind or liquidize until smooth. Place in a large bowl season with salt and beat in the warm water a little at a time to make it light. Fold in the slices onions and mix with a metal spoon to avoid letting out the air which has been beaten in to the mixture. Heat the oil until a blue faint smoke appears, spoon the mixture into the oil to forn balls and fry until golden brown. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper. Serve hot with chilli sauce and ogi.

CHICKEN STEW
CHICKEN STEW serves 6
This tasty and aromatic stew is everyone’s favourite in Ihiagwa and in Nigeria From the road side hawkers to the tables of the elite it is a welcome accompaniment to compliment any meal or festive spread. It is the aromatic spices added that makes this wonderful dish so mouthwatering and delicious.

1 large chicken
225g / 8oz fresh chilies
1 kg / 2Ib fresh tomatoes
2 large onions
2 clove garlic
1 small tin tomatoes puree
I teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoon chopped partminger leaves
2 onions (sliced)
1 teaspoon curry
5 7Oral / l pint groundnut-oil
salt to taste

Wash and disjoint the chicken cut into 10-12 pieces. Season with salt add the sliced onions thyme curry and cook for 30-40 minutes until tender. Heat up half of the oil in a pan and fry the cooked chicken until brown but not too dry. In another~ pot heat up the rest of the oil and fry the ground onions chilies and tomatoes for 20minutes until fairly dry. Add the tomato puree and some stock if required. Stir thoroughly and add the fried chicken pieces. Cook and simmer gently for another 10 minutes stirring frequently until well blended. Drain off excessive oil that rises to the top and finally stir in the chopped part minger leaves. Removes from fire and serve with Boiled rice and fried plantain

VARIATIONS

GOATMEAT STEW
Replace chicken with lkg / 2Ib fried goatmeat

GUINEA FOWL STEW
Replace chicken with fried pieces of guinea fowl

TURKEY STEW
Replace chicken with pieces of fried turkey

MIXED MEAT STEW
Replace chicken with lkg / 2 Ibs fried assorted parts of beef.
( Tripe Bokoto Kidney Liver etc. )
PEPPER SOUP
SPICED CHICKEN PEPPERSOUP serve 6-8

Guinea Fowl or Turkey can also be used.
1.5kg/3Ib chicken (cut into pieces)

2 litres / 4pints water or stock

50g / 2oz chopped chillies

100g / 4oz pepper soup seasoning

50g / 2oz ground crayfish

50g / 2oz chopped mint

1 onion

1 clove garlic (crushed)

Wash the chicken pieces and place in a pot with some water chopped onions chillies and crushed garlic. Season with salt and boil for 30 minutes. Add the peppersoup seasoning and the rest of the stock and continue cooking for another 30 minutes until chicken is tender. Stir in the crayfish and mint leaves stir and simmer for 10minutes. Season to taste and serve hot in soup bowls.

PEPPER SOUP SEASONINGS

This is made up of a mixture of local herbs and spices which are not readily available in most supermarkets except in stores specialising in African Foods but similar herbs which can be easily obtained could be used to achieve almost the same effect.

SUBSTITUTE

50g / 2oz aniseed

50g / 2oz aniseed pepper

25g / loz cloves

50g / 2oz coriander seeds

50g / 2oz cumin seeds

50g / 2oz allspice

50g / 2oz dried ginger

50g / 2oz tamarind pods

50g / 2oz fennel seeds

TRADITIONAL

50g / 2oz atariko

50g / 2oz uda

50g / 2oz gbafilo

50g / 2oz ginger (dried)

50g / 2oz rigije

50g / 2oz uyayak

Combine all the ingredients and grind in a clean coffee grinder to a smooth powder. Store in an airtight jar and use as required. Would store indefinitely

FRESH FISH PEPERSOUP serve 4

2 medium size fish (tilapia catfish or bream)

I lemon or lime

50g / 2oz peppersoup seasoning

50g / 2oz chopped chillies

100g / 4oz fresh prawns

I litre / 2pints water or stock

25g / l oz chopped mint leaves

Have the fishmonger clean the fish and slice into 8 pieces. Wash the fish thoroughly with lime or lemon to remove any slime season with salt cover and leave in a cool place until required. Pour the stock into
a clean Pot and add chopped onions chillies and peppersoup seasoning. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes to blend together the flavours. Add the seasoned fish and peeled fresh prawns and simmer gently for 20minutes. Check seasoning and serve garnished with chopped mint leaves

SPICED GOATMEAT PEPPERSOUP serves 4

This soup called Nwo-nwo isa particular favourite of beer and palm wine
drinkers and it is the

most popular of all the peppersoups.

l kg / 2Ib goatmeat or mutton (with bone)

l litre /2 pints water or stock

1 onion

75g / 3oz pepper soup seasoning

50g / 2oz ground chilies

50g / 2oz ground crayfish

25g / loz chopped wild mint

25g / 1 oz chopped utazi leaves

salt to taste

Wash and cut the meat into small pieces put into a deep pan add some water chopped onions and ground chilies. Season with salt and cook for 30-45minutes until meat is almost tender. Add the pepper soup seasoning and the rest of the stock and cook for another 10-15minutes until meat
is soft and tender. Sprinkle in the crayfish chopped mint and utazi leaves stir and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot in traditional earthenware soup pots or bowls.

SPICY MIXED MEAT PEPPERSOUP serve 6-8

500g / lib beef or mutton

225g / 8oz cleaned tripe

500g / lib cow foot (cut into small pieces)

225g / 8oz kidneys

100g / 4oz pepper soup seasoning

50g / 2oz ground chilies

50g / 2oz ground crayfish

2 litres / 3pints stock or water

50g / 2oz chopped mint

50g / 2oz chopped utazi leaves

1 medium onion

salt to taste

Wash and cut the kidneys into small cubes leave to soak in salted water for 1 hour. Wash and place the diced beef tripe and cow’s foot into a deep pot. Add the chopped onions and chilies. Season with salt add some water or stock and cook for 45 minutes to an hour until almost tender. Drain the water from kidneys and cook separately for 5 minutes rinse and add to the pot of cooked meats. Add pepper soup seasoning and stock bring to the boil and cook for 15 more minutes. Stir in the crayfish
and utazi leaves and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt and serve in earthenware soup bowls garnished with chopped mint.

OXTAIL PEPPERSOUP serve 4
Ikg / 2Ib oxtail (cut into small chunks)

I litre / 2 pint stock or water

1 onion (chopped)

50g / 2oz peppersoup seasoning

50g / 2oz ground chillies

50g / 2oz ground crayfish

25g / l oz chopped utazi leaves

25g / l oz chopped mint

salt to taste

Have the butcher trim off the excess fat from the oxtail and cut into small chunks. Wash and place in a deep pot add the chopped onions and chilies. Season with salt and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour adding more water as required until quite tender. Add the pepper soup seasoning and the rest of the stock bring to boil and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the crayfish and utazi leaves simmer for 10 minutes. Check seasoning and serve in soup bowls garnished with chopped mint.

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The Ihiagwa autonomous community

The town Ihiagwa Autonomous community is organized into eight villages namely; Iriamogu village, Ibuzo village, Nnkaramochie village, Umuezeawula village, Aku/Umuokwo village, Mboke village, Umuelem village and Umuchima village. Ihiagwa is also home to the Federal University of Technology Ihiagwa, Owerri.

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