Ofe Achara or Elephant Grass Soup – How to Prepare this Delicious Soup
Dear reader, welcome to my page. In this post, we shall be talking about a popular soup cooked by the people of Abia state (ofe and Umuaahia) and a few Imo. It is called Achara Soup. Ofe Achara or Elephant grass soup – How to prepare this delicious soup.
Some time ago, someone cooked the soup and posted it on the internet and was asking people the English name of the vegetable (Achara) used in preparing the soup. Many people said it bamboo leaves.
Sorry, it is not called bamboo soup. Bamboo is a wild tall grass plant eaten by cows. It is different from the Achara of Ofe Achara. The right name for the Achara used in preparing Achara soup is called elephant grass.
Looking at Achara which is used for ofe Achara, you will hardly dictate the difference between it and unmatured sugar cane or bamboo stick. In fact, there are other plants people likened to Achara soup vegetables. They said it is spring onions, chives, or leeks.
As much as all these plants look alike, they are different. The vegetable for Achara soup is called Elephant grass and it is cultivated mainly for the soup.
Steps in preparing Achara Soup:
I learned how to prepare elephant grass soup aka Ofe Achara from my neighbor who is from Abia State. The core ingredients for the soup are: Achara, Egusi, and onions (akpura akpu egusi or mgbam), Ukazi leave or ugu leave, isam (optional), stockfish, meat or fresh fish, red oil (very important), and other essential soup ingredients like pepper and crayfish.
One unique feature about Achara soup is that the egusi (melon) is treated uniquely that the impact is well felt inside the soup. The way you see dry fish in the soup is the same way you should see and eat egusi in Achara soup. It should appear in small, small bunch and bits.
First, you will have to ground the melon seeds. You should ground it without adding any ingredients. Pour the grounded melon seeds into a mortar and cut a big size of onions into the mortar and begin to pound together.
When the two have been pound and mixed well, you notice changes in the melon seeds. It will begin to harden and produce oil. I mean oil, like groundnut oil.
No one told me. But I have observed that the essence of adding onions is to help remove oil from the Egusi and to make it form a strong mold.
This melon oil is always pressed out and discarded by my neighbor. She will go on to mold the hard egusi into tiny bits as if she si molding small shops. That is what they call ‘akpura akpu egusi or mgbam’ in the Igbo dialect.
Elephant Grass Soup (Ofe Achara) – How to Prepare
Get the Elephant grass, peel off the shrunk barks, and cut the rest into desires sizes. Some people use a knife to slice their Acahara for soup while others use their hands.
Using hands is preferable because it will help you o dictate and remove bad grass. But it is mostly done ahead of time before cooking the soup.
Steam your meat with stockfish. Add the desired quantity of salt and seasoning (any of your choice). But you should be mindful of the type of seasoning lest you use Maggi curry. Lol.
As your post begins to boil and your meat and stockfish are about to be done, add pepper and crayfish. Also, add your isam (either with the shell or you will remove it). My neighbor used to remove the shell and add only the green meat.
Add red oil and allow to boil for 1 minute. Then, add your Egusi (melon) the way you molded it into bits. When it begins to boil and you stir it gently with your soup Kitchen spoon.
Add Achara into the soup and cover the post a little with the pot’s lid or cover a little bit. Keep turning it. Add Okazi vegetable or ugu (just a little quantity) and stir.
That is your Achara Soup (elephant grass soup). Yummy!
Elephant Grass Soup (Ofe Achara) – How to Prepare it (Summary)
One unique feature about this soup is that the Achara and the molded Egusi are very visible. Merely, looking at soup, you will first notice these two ingredients before every other thing.
I have also observed that my neighbor has this special well-refined red oil she also pours in her soup once the soup is brought down. I didn’t include it because it is not compulsory. I noticed her family likes eating soup like the Yorubas where the oil is visible.
It actually makes the soup attractive in the eyes. But it is all about choice.
Ofe Achara is good for Garri. We can use it to enjoy semolina or fufu. It can also be used to eat pounded yams.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy!
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