West African soups are renowned for their rich flavors, diverse ingredients, and cultural significance.
Soups are popular all over Africa in various forms, in combination with meat, fish, and vegetables. Unlike other cultures, soups are an accompaniment to most starchy side dishes.
Here is a list of some west African soups, perfect for every weather, which suits every hunger and fits every mood.
Egusi is a flavorful soup that is popular throughout West Africa most noteably Nigeria. This soup is a crowd favorite and can be seen on almost 60% of occasions in Nigeria. Egusi (melon seed soup) got its name from the main ingredient which is the melon seed.
The melon seed is a protein and oil-rich seed which gives the soup a peculiar taste after it’s dried and grounded finely. The recipe can be personalized and a few things will be added according to the chef but no matter how it is being prepared, it has a general procedure for preparation.
Abenkwan, also known as Palmnut Soup in Ghana, is a rich and hearty soup made from palm nuts. The palm nuts are boiled and pounded to extract a thick, reddish-orange palm nut cream, which forms the base of the soup. It is then cooked with an assortment of vegetables and meats, often including smoked fish or dried shrimp, adding a delightful smoky flavor to the dish.
Ebbeh is a traditional African soup originating from The Gambia. This chunky soup is made with vegetables (usually cassava, but sometimes also sweet potatoes and coco yam), palm oil, chili peppers, lime juice, stock cubes, water, tamarind, and seafood such as bonga fish, catfish, prawns, and crabs.
The cassava is boiled until tender, pounded with a pestle, then placed back into the pot with the leftover cooking water with the rest of the ingredients. The combination is simmered until all the ingredients become fully cooked. Before serving, all that’s left to do is to adjust the seasonings and add a bit more lime juice, if desired, and ebbeh is ready to be consumed.
4. Palava Sauce:
Palava Sauce is a traditional Sierra Leonean delicacy that showcases the rich culinary heritage of West Africa. Prepared with palm oil, meat, fish, and an assortment of vegetables, this sauce is a harmonious fusion of flavors and textures. The use of palm oil adds a distinctive taste that sets Palava Sauce apart, making it an absolute must-try for any food enthusiast.
This dish is super popular in Ivory Coast and uses a heaping amount of slow-cooked chicken and vegetables. It’s usually cooked in a big pot all day over hot coals so it comes out extremely tender. You’ll often find it served with a side of cassava to help soak up the broth.
Afang soup is a delightful and satisfying soup from West Africa, Nigeria. It is made from Afang leaves (otherwise known as wild spinach, Okazi, Koko, fumbua or eru) and Waterleaf. Of course, there are different versions across Africa and even in the diaspora. The waterleaf can be substituted for spinach since waterleaf is not readily available everywhere. This leafy , savoury soup is cooked with palm oil and served alongside Nigerian swallow such as eba, pounded yam and semovita
7. Okra Soup:
Okra Soup is a beloved West African classic known for its tantalizingly slimy texture and robust flavors. Fresh okra pods are chopped and cooked with a medley of vegetables, meat, or fish. The result is a delightful blend of tastes and textures that will have you savoring each spoonful. Often accompanied by a side of fufu or rice, Okra Soup is a comforting and wholesome meal that has won the hearts of many across the region.
Maafe is a popular West African dish that features a thick, rich stew with a variety of meats and vegetables. Originating in the kitchen of the Mandinka people, it has since spread throughout many West African countries where it’s enjoyed as an appetizing and unique cultural experience.
Maafe is often served over rice or couscous and made with nutritious ingredients like potatoes, carrots, onions, and chicken; all united by the amazing flavors of peanut butter, tomatoes and spices. Preparing maafe requires dedication and expertise, making it a proud staple of West African cuisine. Whether served on special occasions or just for family dinner, maafe is a wonderfully flavorful way to explore traditional African culture.
9. Ogbono soup
This Nigerian dish gets its name from its use of dried ogbono seeds, also known as ground mango seeds! It creates a rich and unique flavor profile that you likely have not experienced before!
This West African soup is typically paired with pounded yam, rice, or fufu. You can add some okra to make a somewhat slimy texture, as well as some shrimp, goat, crab, beef, or chicken.
The ingredients in this simple soup consist of leafy vegetables, water, chili peppers, and palm oil. The nuts sometimes used to make this soup are found on the ogbono, an edible fruit that resembles a mango and is high in fat and protein.
10. Pepper Soup:
Pepper Soup is a popular West African broth renowned for its fiery and invigorating flavors. The soup typically features a variety of meats, such as goat, chicken, or fish, seasoned with an assortment of spices and a generous dose of hot peppers. The combination of aromatic spices and the fiery heat of the peppers makes this soup a comforting choice, especially during cold weather or when one needs a rejuvenating boost.
Also See: foodArt Abuja
Thank you for reading this compilation of list of top 10 West Africa soups. Which one is your favorite African soup?