MNE Delicacies: Cooking Owoh and Starch

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Growing up in a traditionally-urban (if any mix of these word exists*) Isoko home, one of the regular dinners my Dad would have was this one. It took less than or about 40 minutes to prepare both as this was a meal my mother had become accustomed to preparing, especially because she used fish in the preparation. I speak of the Owoh Soup, the starch took lot more time.
I believe the Starch preparation is a bit tricky as the cooking for a pass or a fail is in the mixture of the water and the white solid starch itself. This is best prepared on a pan that has some depth. All you need do is add some palm oil and the starch that has been properly diluted with water into the pan and keep mixing in one direction until it solidfies. Voila! There you go… Thank me later!
Owoh Soup is an interesting delicacy and there’s tons (well, maybe not tons) of variations that can be used to prepare this savoury meal. It can be extremely economical or very well invested into depending on your choice of obstacles *haha*, I mean the meat or fishes used. Ponmo, beef, smoked, fresh or dried catfishes or its variants can be used together or apart while including periwinkles, snails or just prawns to the blooming pot.
There are step by step procedures well illustrated by the vibrant MatseCooks here and we share her take on it. So if you want to cook to impress your loved one or simply try out a nice weekend meal, we got you covered!
Recipe – Serves 4
A Niger-delta delicacy, peculiar to the Itsekiris, Isokos and Urhobos of Delta state, Nigeria.
 Preparation Time- 30 minutes 
 Cook Time – 30 minutes
Total Time – 1 hr
Ingredients
  1. Beef or Fresh Fish or Bush Meat
  2. Ponmo
  3. Smoked Fish
    1. 1 cup periwinkles (optional) -Very optional
  4. 2 Urheri – See right
  5. 1 teaspoon of crayfish (using too much crayfish will make your soup brown)
  6. 2 cooking spoons of Urhobo native oil (or use the thick oil at the bottom of your gallon)
  7. 3-4 handful of yellow garri (sieved)
  8. 2 handful of starch
  9. Native salt
  10. Salt
  11. Seasoning cubes
Instructions
  1. 1. Pre-cook your beef and ponmo with salt and seasoning cubes.
  2. 2. In a clean pot, add 1.5 litres of water, the garri and stir over flame until it is thick and silky. Then add a pinch of salt and some seasoning cubes and bring to boil.
  3. 3. Add the cooked meat. Some dried pepper, crayfish and urheri then cook some more.
  4. 4. Follow up with the periwinkles (if using) and smoked fish. Allow to boil.
  5. 5. In a mortar, pound some native salt into powdered form. Using only a teaspoon’s worth, pour it into a clean bowl, adding 2 handful of starch, 2 cooking spoons of palm oil and a cup of water. Mix all together until it flows freely.
  6. 6. Pour the mixture into the cooking pot and blend in with a wooden spatula until you get your desired consistency. You can thin it with warm water if it is too thick. Allow to cook some more and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. * The Urhobo/Itsekiri/Isokoh owoh soup is yellow in colour not red.
  2. * The oil blends in nicely. It does not have oil floating around it.
  3. * It looks creamy.
  4. * Too much crayfish darkens the soup.
  5. * Never cover the pot while cooking.
  6. ADDED BONUS *You can improvise depending on your choice of preparation.

Photo and Recipe Credit: MatseCooks

 

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