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from: Western Africa | cooking method: boiling-simmering

Pepper Soup

Pepper Soup or Peppersoup—which is especially popular in the English-speaking countries of Western Africa: Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria—doesn't have any more pepper than many other African soups. It is usually made with goat meat, but can also be made with beef, chicken, or mutton. There are many ways this soup can be seasoned. One Nigerian company makes "Peppersoup cubes" (for "easy, tasty, convenient peppersoup in double quick time"), which may be available in import grocery stores.

palmnut warehouse in nigeria

What you need

What you do

Packaged peppersoup seasoning mix, usually imported from Nigeria, may be found in African grocery stores. The traditional spices used in pepper soup are little known outside of Africa.

Jessica B. Harris and others report that expatriate Nigerians make a substitute peppersoup seasoning mix from allspice, anise pepper, anise seeds, cloves, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried ginger, fennel seeds, and tamarind pulp.

Some cooks also use thyme, Maggi® cubes, curry powder, cayenne pepper or red pepper, and tomato paste.

Utazi leaves and bitterleaf may also be found in African grocery stores. If they cannot be obtained, any bitter green can be substituted.


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African Proverbs

Opo Iru ko ba obbe je. (Yoruba) : Plenty of Iru does not spoil the stew. N.B. -- Iru is the seed of the locust-fruit, used as a seasoning. The proverb means, "Good advice never harms, however much be offered," -- somewhat opposed to our "Too many cooks spoil the broth."
  (from: Wit and Wisdom from West Africa, Richard Francis Burton)

Ntuk n ayat ke usun iton, ererimbut ama mi ke eyen-nsek. (Efik) : Pepper bites the throat ; the world loved me when I was a child. N.B. -- I was a favourite in infancy ; but now it is otherwise. (ibid)

Ika okono mfan. (Efik) : The deliverance (or sentence delivered) hangs up the pepper. N.B. -- Meaning, the matter is settled. Mfan is the root of "Mbukpa," which resembles Malaguetta pepper in form and taste and is used as pepper. The small tubes are strung as beads, and hung round the neck, as a sign of submission, giving protection in war or in palaver. To "eat Mfan" is to be reduced to the greatest straits. (ibid)

Other African proverbs

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