Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew

Nigerian Afang soup, eaten by Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria is a delicious stew made with Afang leaves and a leafy vegetable locally called waterleaf.

Nigerian Afang soup, eaten by Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria is a delicious stew made with Afang leaves and a leafy vegetable locally called waterleaf.

If you have been following yummy medley for a while, and have managed to escape a trip to your African market, this recipe is going to push you to go there, and trust me, this dish is worth the trip. Get on google and look up “African grocery stores near me”, and get ready to take a trip to flavortown. For Africans already familiar with African grocery stores, or for those who live in the great continent already, this for you should be a simple trip for you, now let’s jump into my delicious Nigerian Afang Soup recipe.

A little background story about my food history, my mother is from a state in Nigeria called Akwa-Ibom, and the stereotype of women from this state is that they cook the best food in Nigeria. I might be a little biased, but as a half Ibibio (a tribe in Akwa-Ibom state) half Esan (a tribe in Edo state) girl that lived in Lagos (a Yoruba state) with family members from different parts of the country (trust me, my family is quite the diverse group), I can say with full confidence that this stereotype is probably more like fact. My mom and her sisters (she has four like me), my late grand mother, and pretty much any one from my mother’s side of the family that cooked for us growing up always had the best food. Don’t get me wrong other people cooked good as well, but nothing beat the delicious soups and stews that came from my mom’s side of the family. I remember the first time I had non- Akwa-Ibom pepper soup, it was one of the most disappointing soups I tasted, and I knew from then on that I was brought up with taste privilege.

Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew - Overhead shot of two servings of afang soup with oat meal on the side

Nigerian Afang soup is one of the delicious dishes to come from my mother’s side of the family. I have since learnt that this is a dish cooked by some Cameroonians as well, as some parts of Cameroon share a border with the part of Nigeria where my mom is from. There are other dishes that Cameroonians and Cross River/ Akwa-Ibom people share as well, and I will talk about those eventually.

“What is Afang Soup?” you might ask. Well, Afang also called Eru in  Cameroon and Okazi in other parts of Nigeria is a flavorful green leafy vegetable Gnetum africanum, that is commonly grown in West Africa and used in making different soups and stews. Nigerian Afang soup, made by the Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria is a stew made with Afang leaves and another common green leafy vegetable locally called waterleaf aka Malabar spinach. While waterleaf can be substituted with conventional spinach, its best substitute is lamb’s leaf lettuce.

Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew -whole and sliced malabar spinach or waterleaf

Afang leaves have no substitute that I know of, so if you have never ventured into an African grocery store, you will need to if you want to try this recipe. Just ask for Okazi,or Eru. In a pinch, Afang leaves are also available online for purchase, but I encourage you to go to an African store if you can. Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew - Dry Afang or Eru or Okazi leaves in and out of packet

Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew - Bowls of beef, snails and clam meats Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew - onions, pepper and meats in the pot Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew - preparation collage for the stew in the pot: adding snails, meat and leaves

Because Cross River and Akwa-Ibom state are riverine, most stews and soups originating from these states are made with some type of seafood. Our stews and soups can be surf and turf style (like in this recipe), but most Efik or Ibibio stews and soups that are not vegan, have seafood in it.  In this recipe, I use  shelled clams and small shelled apple snails, but you could use smoked dried fish, periwinkles, fresh or dried shrimp, crabs, oysters, or any other type of seafood you enjoy. Of course, this recipe can be made vegan, and all the animal products can be omitted.

5 from 3 votes
Nigerian Afang soup, eaten by Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria is a delicious stew made with Afang leaves and a leafy vegetable locally called waterleaf.
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Nigerian Afang Soup Recipe
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hrs
Total Time
1 hrs 20 mins
 

Nigerian Afang soup, eaten by Efik and Ibibio people of Nigeria is a delicious stew made with Afang leaves and a leafy vegetable locally called waterleaf.

Servings: 8
Calories: 362 kcal
Author: Yummy Medley
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Malabar Spinach aka Water leaf
  • 57 g 2 oz dried Afang leaves (may be labeled Okazi/Eru in the African store)
  • 3 lbs Goat meat cut into large bite size cubes
  • ½ cup of cooked shelled Apple snails
  • ½ cooked shelled Clams
  • ½ cup palm oil
  • 2 Red onions
  • 2 Scotch bonnet peppers substitute with habanero peppers
  • 4 tbsp Ground smoked dried shrimp aka crayfish
  • 3 tsp Chicken Bullion
  • 2 tbsp cayenne pepper/ crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Slice both onions and scotch bonnet peppers, and set them aside.
  2. On low- medium heat in a large stock pot, braise the goat meat with the one of the onions, scotch bonnet peppers, 1 tsp bullion and 1 tsp salt for 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
  3. Half way into braising the goat meat, add ½ a cup of water and stir the meat to prevent in from burning. Keep the pot covered at all times during the braising process.
  4. While the meat is braising, wash your Malabar spinach in cool water to get rid of sand and dirt. Pick off the tough stems, but save the tender stems and leaves. Chop and set aside.
  5. in a food processor, roughly grind the afang leaves just to break it up a little. Afang leaves are mostly sold in the African store already shredded, but you can break it up a little more using a food processor/ mortar and pestle so the shreds are not as long.
  6. Once the meat is tender and is done braising. Set aside.
  7. In a deep pot heat up the palm oil on medium heat (be careful not to over heat the oil on high heat) and sauté the other sliced onion for 10 minutes until it is starting to get caramelized.
  8. Add in the snails and clams, and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
  9. Add in the braise goat meat and reserve the braising liquid. It is a very flavorful stock, and will still be used.
  10. Add in 2 teaspoons of bullion, crayfish, and if you are spice inclined, cayenne pepper, stir, then add in the chopped water leaf.
  11. Just like regular spinach, the water leaf will look like a lot at first, but wilt down in a few minutes. once the water leaf starts to wilt, add in the Afang leaves and stir.
  12. Add about 1 cup of the braising liquid to the stew, turn down the heat to low, and continue cooking with the pot covered for another 10 minutes.
  13. After 10 minutes, taste the stew for seasoning and adjust the salt if necessary.
  14. Turn the heat off and allow the stew to sit for 5 minutes, then serve hot

Nigerian Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable - Overhead view of pot with Afang stew ready

Frequently Asked Questions about Afang Soup

  1. Can I cook Nigerian Afang soup with spinach?

    You can use spinach as a substitute for water leaf/ malabar spinach. It tastes a little different from traditional when cooked with typical spinach, but it is a fair substitute in a pinch. If you have access to different varieties of spinach, I would encourage using a very water rich variety of spinach.

  2. What can I eat Nigerian Afang soup with?

    Afang soup goes best with many types of firm fufu. It is great with Eba, pounded yam, ground rice, oat fufu, and lafun. I do not prefer Afang with softer textured fufu like amala or elubo, but it is still delicious either way. If you do not have access to fufu at all, you can eat Afang with boiled rice, but nothing beats Afang with a good firm fufu.

  3. What is the difference between Efik Afang and Ibibio Afang soup?

    Efik and Ibibio are two different tribes in Akwa-Ibom and Cross River state Nigeria that cook Afang soup. To my knowledge, there is no difference between these tribes in cooking this soup. There might be individually different recipes, but there is no tribal difference.

  4. What are the health benefits of Afang?

    Like all dark green leafy vegetables, Afang (even the dried version), is low in fat, and rich in vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Afang however is particularly rich in Vitamin A, and very high in dietary fiber (higher than typical leafy greens like spinach).

  5. What are the benefits of Afang in pregnancy?

    I have highlighted this particular health benefit of Afang because it has played a key role in providing nourishment for pregnant women in parts of Nigeria and Cameroon that do not have access to certain essential prenatal supplements. Since Afang is particularly rich in folic acid and vitamin A, it has been significant in providing adequate nourishment for both mother and unborn baby.

    Feel free to check out this published study to get more information about the health benefits of Afang and read a little more about its benefits in pregnancy.

Afang Soup: A Delicious Ibibio Vegetable Stew - Afang stew served with oat meal and ready to eat

Enjoy! Please let me know if you try it and while you’re here, why don’t you check out my other vegetable stew recipe: Nigerian Spinach Stew (Efo Riro) or my Tasty Groundnut soup recipe.

8 Comments

  1. Osaze

    September 16, 2017 at 10:02 am

    This is my absolute fave! I can not wait to try this recipe

    Reply
    • Lois

      September 17, 2017 at 6:35 am

      I am sure you will enjoy it Osaze!

      Reply
  2. Gifted hands

    September 16, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I love this! It takes me back to my childhood. My mum is Ibibio too!

    Reply
    • Lois

      September 17, 2017 at 6:34 am

      My sister!!!!!

      Reply
  3. Cheekey

    September 17, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Looks good. Hope to try it soon!

    Reply
    • Lois

      September 17, 2017 at 6:33 am

      I am sure you will enjoy it Cheeky!

      Reply
  4. Adeniyi.

    September 17, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Mouth watering, going to try it this weekend.
    I love veggies.

    Reply
    • Lois

      September 17, 2017 at 4:23 pm

      I hope you do. Enjoy!

      Reply

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