Ogbono soup (Draw Soup) is a rich, nutrition-packed Nigerian soup made from ogbono seeds (ground African mango seeds), palm oil, assorted meats, and traditional spices. It packs a lot of bold and rich flavors and is incredibly delicious!
Ogbono soup is commonly eaten with fufu dishes like pounded yam or eba. It is called 'Draw Soup' due to the mucilaginous nature that gives it a slippery and viscous texture.
It might take some getting used to due to this texture, but once you taste it, it really does taste amazing, and it makes your fufu go down easily!
What is Ogbono?
Ogbono seeds are part of a fruit called Irvingia gabonensis, also known as African mango, wild mango, bush mango, or dika. It is indigenous to parts of Central and West Africa as well as Southeast Asia. While the whole fruit is edible, only the seeds are used in making ogbono soup.
Is ogbono soup allowed on a keto diet?
Yes, ogbono soup is allowed on a keto or low-carb diet.
Ogbono seeds have high fat and high protein content. 100g (about ⅔ cups) contains 15g of carbs, but this makes eight servings, drastically reducing the carb count per serving.
Health benefits of ogbono soup
Ogbono soup is very nutritious and filled with vital nutrients and minerals. African mango is well known for its health benefits and is a good source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron. Research has shown that bush mango seeds can:
- Help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Aid in weight loss.
- Reduce high blood pressure.
- Help lower cholesterol levels.
African mango is becoming increasingly popular, and there are products sold and hyped online as weight-loss supplements. I would recommend eating and enjoying the delicious soup to get the full benefit instead of taking supplements. But that is just my opinion.
Ingredients used in making ogbono soup
- Ogbono seeds: This is the heart of this dish and what provides its distinct flavor and texture.
- Palm oil: This is a staple in most West African soups as it gives a pleasant rich taste to the dish.
- Vegetables: Spinach and onions.
- Spices: Bouillon powder (or maggi cubes), ground crayfish, cayenne pepper, salt.
- Meat stock: This is used to add an infusion of flavor to the dish. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute with water but you will have to increase the salt and other spices used.
- Meats: Ogbono soup is cooked with a variety of meats often referred to as ‘assorted meat’. These include meats (beef, goat meat, chicken, or turkey), cowskin (ponmo), cow feet, tripe (shaki), dried codfish (stockfish/panla), or smoked catfish.
As you can imagine, this is one seriously loaded soup! It will feel like there’s a party in your stomach because there is just so much richness in this appetizing dish.
How to cook ogbono soup
There is some preparation to be done depending on what type of meat you want to include. Ogbono soup is made with a variety of meats. However, you can pick and choose what you want to use.
For instance, if you’re going to include cow skin, then you have to clean and boil it ahead of time as it can take up to 2 hours just to soften up.
For this recipe, I used beef, shaki (tripe), and cow feet. The shaki was already cleaned, so that saved me some work.
Cook all the meat you’re going to use with some salt, pepper, onions, and bouillon powder till it becomes tender. This, of course, will vary depending on what you want to add. At a minimum, beef or goat meat should be included (cooking time will be added to this recipe).
You can also buy it already pre-ground and prepackaged which might make things go a bit faster. It’s fresher though, if you grind it yourself, and tastes a whole lot better.
When the assorted meats are ready, drain them but save some of the stock so you can use it to flavor the ogbono soup.
In another pot, add some palm oil and add the ground ogbono seeds to it. Make sure it’s on low heat so that the palm oil is just melted and not heated up.
Mix in the ogbono seeds and if there are any lumps, use a serving spoon to break them down. Mix thoroughly with the palm oil till the ogbono seeds are completely coated.
Add the stock and water, one cup at a time, and stir until it begins to thicken and the texture becomes somewhat viscous in nature (or begins to ‘draw’ as we say in Nigeria). When that has been achieved, you know that the ogbono soup is taking shape.
You can add a bit more stock or water until you reach your desired consistency. Some like it really thick, and others like it less thick. Be careful that you do not add too much stock or liquid or the ogbono soup will become too thin and watery.
Once you reach your desired thickness, bring to a boil, then set to low heat and let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring intermittently.
Add in any assorted meats you may want to include. Also add in the bouillon powder, cayenne pepper, crayfish, and salt.
If it becomes too thick, add a little more water. Let simmer for 10 minutes more minutes. Add the chopped spinach and let simmer on low for about two more minutes.
Your ogbono soup is ready to serve and enjoy!
This recipe serves eight and contains five net carbs per serving. Remember, if you use different types of meats or vegetables, the carb count and nutrition will vary. But that shouldn’t be much of a problem because animal protein contains zero carbs, and green leafy vegetables contain very minimal carbs.
How to cook ogbono soup with okra
For a great variety, you can add okra to this dish. Just follow the steps above, add chopped okra and let it boil for 5 minutes before you add the spinach.
Can I make Ogbono soup without palm oil?
If you live outside Nigeria, palm oil might not be very common where you are. You can always substitute palm oil in the recipe with olive oil, groundnut oil, or your choice of oil. The taste will be slightly different but the soup will still be very delicious!
What can I eat ogbono soup with?
Ogbono soup is best served with fufu. Pair it with one of our low carb fufu dishes for a healthy, nutrition-packed meal:
Tips to make ogbono soup perfect every time!
- When you add the ogbono to the palm oil, make sure it’s on low heat and watch it carefully, so it does not burn. If it burns, it will lose its texture.
- If you buy pre-ground ogbono seeds and it loses their freshness, the texture of the soup might be off. Keep them in an airtight container, or better still, buy whole seeds and grind them when you need them.
- When adding the stock/water to the soup, add one cup and keep stirring until it gets thick and begins to get its mucilaginous texture. Then add more liquid very slowly, watching the texture carefully. The ogbono soup will start out very thick but will begin to thin out. Stop when you reach your desired consistency. If you add too much liquid, the soup will be watery.
Substitutions when making ogbono soup
You can substitute spinach with pumpkin leaves, collard greens, or bitter leaf (which is a slightly bitter leafy vegetable commonly used in West African soups). You can also leave out the vegetables entirely if you wish.
Use your favorite meat choice. Use whatever you have on hand; you don’t have to use what is listed. That’s the beauty of this soup; you can make it yours!
Enjoy these other African soups and stews!
Ogbono Soup (Draw Soup)
- Cook all the meat you’re going to use, with some salt, pepper, onion, and bouillon powder until it becomes tender.
- Chop the spinach and set aside.
- When the assorted meats are ready, drain the stock out but save some of the stock so you can use it to flavor the ogbono soup.
- In another pot, add some palm oil on low heat and add the ogbono seeds to it.
- Mix in the ogbono seeds and break any lumps with a serving spoon. Stir until it’s thoroughly coated.
- Add the stock from the cooked meats and stir.
- Add water and stir until you reach your desired thickness.
- Bring to a boil, then set to low heat and let it cook for about 10 minutes, stirring intermittently.
- Add in the meats, bouillon powder, cayenne pepper, crayfish.
- Taste for salt and add some if needed.
- If it becomes too thick, add a little more water.
- Let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped spinach and let simmer on low for about 2 more minutes.
- Your ogbono soup is ready to serve!