ALAPA [WATERLEAF SOUP]

Waterleaves are known as non-conventional vegetables  which originated from tropical Africa and widely grown in West Africa, Asia, and South America. According to Wikipedia – the free Encyclopedia is  botanically known as Talinum fruticosum.
These  herbaceous perennial plants are native to not just  Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, and much of South America but even many parts of West Africa and of course Nigeria.
These vegetables  are reportedly rich in   twenty two point two percent crude-protein, over thirty percent  ash, as well as eleven percent  crude fiber. There are many species but I like us to focus on this particular one that is very common in Nigeria, which we use use to prepare assorted delicacies.
Without water leaves, soups like afang, edikaikong, egusi and a host of others will not be complete.
The same apply to Apala Soup ! This yoruba  soup is the usual egusi soup, but rather than use ugu leaves  or any other vegetables to garnish the soup,  waterleaves are added to the soup and the stock that is used in preparing the soup is usually thickened to prevent the soup from being watery. Well, visit the kitchen!
Recipe for 5 servings:

3 cups ground egusi

1 kilogram cow leg [bokoto]

1 large onion (crushed)

2 cooking spoons palm oil

1 small bundle water leaves (picked and shredded)

2 large dried fish

1 large stockfish

2 tablespoons ground crayfish

Salt and seasoning to taste

A beautiful pot of Egusi soup! [proudly Nigerian]
A beautiful pot of Egusi soup! [proudly Nigerian]
Method:

Wash, season and cook the meat till tender. Wash and add the stockfish and dry fish to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes and set aside. Fry the onion in the palm oil, add the egusi, and stir for some seconds before adding the stock gently until lightly thick. Add other ingredients, stir and simmer until the egusi is well cooked. The waterleaves will be the last to be added and few seconds are ideal to retain the freshness of the leaves.

Before adding the waterleaves, make sure they are well picked. Wash in plenty water, adding a little salt (salt helps the sands in the leaves to quickly settle at the bottom of the bowl). Drain and vigorously rub the leaves together. As you do this, the slime will be removed and the leaves will be broken into smaller tiny  pieces. Wash again and drain. Add to the soup and simmer gently with the pot slightly covered.

Make sure that bits or whole egusi are not found in the soup. Neither should the soup be watery, especially because the waterleaves already have a high water content. Enjoy it with semovita, eba, pounded yam or fufu.

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