Fish Pepper Soup…(It’s an African thing)
Pepper soup…One of the jewels of Africa. It’s simply a sort of light soup made with spicy peppers(of course), any protein of your choice and aromatics.
When it comes to pepper soup, Africans are not left behind. We love “spicy”
Pepper soup is comfort food to Africans. It’s like chicken noodle soup with the pepper and spice. Africans also celebrate everything with a bowl of pepper soup. We also enjoy it as an appetizer and can be eaten with a main meal like swallow, yam or rice.
When it comes to African ingredients, the sky is your limit. Africa has got gold when it comes to food. I’m quite surprised that African food has not become as popular as Indian and Asian food. Our spices and ingredients are kosher.
The Ghanaians have a version of pepper soup called light soup and boy oh boy!
The recipe below is one which I know. It’s a Nigerian recipe. If you live in other parts of the world, you can make this soup without the pepper soup spices or the ehuru. An abundance of seasoning, pepper and herbs help make a delicious pot.
1small catfish (washed and gutted)
(how to clean cat fish: Gut, cut, clean and rinse the cat fish; then place it into a bowl. Bring some water to a roaring boil and pour it over the fish. Let it sit in the water for about 2 minutes. This will help the cat fish to stay intact when cooking and remove the slime. You should be able to see the slime come off the fish once in the hot water. Drain the water from the fish and using a blunt knife, scrape the slime off the fish and rinse in cold water. If using the head, make sure to split it long ways, pour in some hot water and salt then squeeze in some lime. Let it sit for 2 minutes. Drain; then using a blunt knife make sure to scrape off the slime and thoroughly wash the blood off the fish. Once the fish is clean, use it with your favorite recipe).
1lb of mussels(optional)(you could use shrimp or prawns)
6small cubes of fresh African white yam
4tbsps of pepper soup spice powder (divided)(usually made out of, ehuru, Uda and the Uyayak pod)
1small onion (divided)
2-4 ata-rodo (depending on heat tolerance)
1tsp. dry pepper
1tbsp. crayfish powder
½ inch of fresh ginger ginger (grated) or 1tsp ginger powder
any bouillon cube of your choice
a handful of basil or scent leaves
1tbsp. palm oil (optional)
Salt to taste
Pour some really hot water over the catfish, let sit for a few seconds; then quickly pour out the hot water. Pour some cold water into the fish; then using your hands or a butter knife, peel the slime off the fish. Then rinse and drain
Season the fish with 2 tablespoons of the pepper-soup spice and some salt; then set aside to marinate for 30minutes to an hour. Meanwhile, in a lidded bowl filled with warm water, shake the mussels vigorously to remove dirt. Drain and repeat three more times and set aside(also make sure to pull out any strings hanging from the mussels). Lightly toast the ehuru by burning over fire or in a pan(this enables it to release it’s sweet aroma and taste); then blend it with half of the onion and the ata-rodo.
Place the yam in a soup pot and pour some water over it. Season with salt, the bouillon cube and the ehuru and pepper blend. Bring to a roaring boil; then reduce the heat and add the catfish to the pot, chop in the left over onion, add the other half of the pepper soup spice, crayfish and dry pepper. Cover the pot and cook on low for another 10-15 minutes (depending on how big the fish is). In the middle of cooking the fish, dump the mussels into the pot and cover. Once the fish is done and the mussels are opened up, turn off the heat and stir in the palm oil, ginger and basil(scent) leaves; then serve.(dump any unopened mussels)