This soup is common amongst South Eastern Abia and Imo soup lovers.
Ukpo or Abachi is a black round looking thickener that must be cooked and ground into powder before being used to prepare a home made delicacy that can be enjoyed with any swallow.
..if ukpo is not available, you can use achi as alternative, both can be used as thickeners!
For me to relish this native Nigerian soup, I prefer the use of Ukpo, well I know this seed as ABACHI.
Interesting Facts About Ukpo Seed
- I had to trace its English name to Wikipedia which stated that ukpo or abachi seed is known as hamburger seed!
For children who love to play a great deal, If you rub this seed on the wall, it’s usually hot, you can playfully place it on your arm or use it to playfully chase some children around! – Mind you, that was in day gone by…. you know what I mean! Children these days are too cartoon conscious to have time for this kind of game!
Some part of Anambra State known the seed as ORURU.
Its very hard and takes time to cook, you must break it open , cook the whitish seed within, blend or pound it before you can use it to cook your soup.
It is used as a soup thickener like achi, although it is sweeter than Achi.
The soup easily goes bad if not well cooked or warmed after taking from it.
The next day or after some days the soup changes colour and turns blackish!
Some yorubas call the seed ipe, while the Ibibio and Efik call it Ibaba.
The botanical name of this seed is mucuna urens
To relish this soup, plenty of palmoil is however needed!
Recipe for 4 servings:
½ cup ukpo (ground)
1 whole stock fish
5 pieces dry (mangala) fish
3 tablespoons ground crayfish
4 nsukka pepper (chopped)
Salt and seasoning to taste
2 cooking spoons palm oil
1 small bunch of ugu leaf[ shredded] [optional]
1 big bunch of achara [shredded] [optional]
- Wash and put the assorted meat to boil.
- Cook until tender before adding the dry fish and stockfish.
- Cook for 10 minutes; add the crayfish, pepper, seasoning and salt to taste.
- Pour the oil into a bowl and add the ukpo to it. Stir vigourously and pour into the pot and leave for two minutes.
- If the soup is too thick, add a little water, stir and simmer for few minutes, add the shredded achara, the ugu vegetables will be the last ingredients you will add to the soup before removing from the heat.
- Serve with a hot plate of akpu, eba, semovita or pounded yam.