#TravelPortHarcourt, Port Harcourt Living
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Native Soup: The Pitakwa delicacy

If you have ever spent a night in Pitakwa – as we call Port Harcourt – and you have not tasted the awesomeness of native soup, you did not really stay in Pitakwa. Native soup is a prime delicacy of Port Harcourt residents and a large percentage of the population – including yours truly – positively swears by the soup. Step into any eatery worth its salt in Port Harcourt and order Native soup and you will instantly find yourself welcomed as a brother or sister, even as the server sets before you a steaming bowl of such magnificence you may forget to wash your hands before you dig in.

native soup

See what I am saying?

This post outlines some of the ingredients used in making Native soup and one of the best recipes you can use to make your own native soup.

Ingredients for making Native soup for 6 people                      

  • Meat (beef)
  • Stock fish (Okporoko in the local dialect)
  • 2 cups of uziza leaf
  • Cocoyam thickener or ofor (which is an alternate thickener)
  • 3 cups of periwinkles (isam in the local dialect)
  • Dry fish
  • Palm oil
  • I cup of ground crayfish
  • Salt and pepper
  • Onions
  • Seasoning cubes

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How to make the Pitakwa native soup

  • Parboil your meat with your seasoning cubes, salt and onions and obtain the stock.
  • While the meat is being parboiled, wash and slice the vegetable (uziza leaf)
  • Soak the stock fish and dry fish in boiled water, wash and clean to remove dirt and grit
  • Grind the crayfish and pepper
  • Add the washed fish and stock fish to the parboiling meat (this should be after the meat has been boiling for some time (15- 25 minutes, depending on how strong your meat is)
  • When the meat and fish is soft, add water, palm oil and the ground crayfish. Leave for 5 – 10 minutes
  • Add the cocoyam thickener or ofor. Allow it to cook for some minutes while stirring then add the periwinkles and vegetables.
  • Allow to simmer for a five minutes
  • Serve with a good swallow like fufu or pounded yam

While a lot of people have different recipes for making Native soup, this should give you an idea of how to make yours and soon you will find yourself enjoying Pitakwa’s favourite soup in your own house with your friends and family.

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  1. Promise Hanson says

    I am from a Riverine community in Rivers State. You have done a very great job here I must say.


    A few things to note in Rivers Native Soup.
    The soup originated from the riverine communities who are predominantly fishermen. For this reason, meat, stockfish, and dry fish is alien in Native Soup. It’s a plethora of EVERYTHING FRESH that we can find in the river. Therefore MEAT, CHICKEN, STOCK FISH, DRY CRAYFISH, are not used.

    But where you can’t find fresh fish or too expensive, Goat meat can be a substitute.

    The original thickener is Cocoyam. You cook and pound it like Pounded-Yam, but you must pound it until it’s elastic. Flatten small balls of it with your palm and fingers. The smaller/flatter it is, the quicker it will dissolve in your soup.

    Archi and Ofor as thickeners were a modern introduction mostly by the Ikwere/non riverine people. I believe it’s because of the stress in pounding cocoyam.

    The original leaves for Native Soup is Bitter leaf and not Oziza leaf. But it’s a good alternative, since it relieves you of the stress in washing bitterleaves.

    A typical list of ingredients would be:

    Fresh fish (Tilapia, Croaker, Catfish, Barracuda, Redsnapper, etc. etc.);
    Isam (blue periwinkle, removed from it’s black shell);
    Ngolo (white periwinkle, removed from it’s white shell. It’s bigger than Isam);
    Shrimps or prawns;
    Imgbe (Oysters);
    Ofingo (Clams);
    Sea-snails (normal land snails can be a substitute);
    Cocoyam (thickener);
    Palm oil;
    Seasoning cubes (any seasoning of choice).

    The above is the original list of ingredients, but because of availability and cost of ingredients, you can cut down on it or use alternative ingredients.


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