If you need new ways to vamp up your ila alasepo (okro soup), you should consider adding these things to it. Everything listed here will transform the taste of your okro soup.

1. Ponmo

Cut this into small bits to fill up space in your pot. A recommended tip though: Don’t boil ponmo with other things you’re planning to add. That’s because of the smell. Boil separately.

2. Fish

Frozen Titus Fish 1kg – My Belle My Kitchen

If there’s anything I’ve clocked in this business of cooking ila alasepo, it is this: the type of fish determines the type of taste you’ll get. Iced Shawa fish brings another taste, just as Titus brings a different one. Shawa is bony, and it scatters quickly in the okro soup. Titus holds longer and is not as bony.

Nigerian Panla Fish; A Good Recipe For Efo Riro | Nigerianfoodies.com

If you smoked fish, it’s another taste too. I recommend smoked Titus and Shawa. Just scatter them in the soup. I would have said Panla, but I don’t exactly like it in okro. I prefer it in stew instead.

NB: Yet to try Kote fish in okro soup. Maybe one day.

3. Liver

Grass Fed Beef Liver 500g | The Naked Butcher Perth

I will always preach this gospel oh. I tried liver in okro soup once and my life hasn’t remained the same. Just boil the liver and chop it into bits. Omo.

4. Chicken/Turkey

peppered-chicken | Zikoko!

This one is a sure banker. But given the way the country is, it’s understandable if you don’t want to add chicken to your okro soup. We are all broke, no shame in it.

5. Snail

Peppered snail @africanfoodyummy 🐌🐌🐌🐌 | African recipes nigerian food,  Nigerian food, African food

Properly washed snails, that is. The flavour it brings to the okro is completely different and good. You can’t but love it.

6. Beef

How to Choose and Prep Meat for Nigerian cooking

One thing I’ve clocked is to use the beef stock to prepare my okro. Taste>>>

7. Prawns

Frozen Shrimps And Prawns Suppliers In Nigeria: Exporters & Buyers

Prawns make everything better, literally. Please note that this is the fleshy type oh. The other tiny ones that are popular in Igbo markets don’t exactly cut it for me. I don’t even feel their taste as such, so those ones are a no for me.

Crayfish 3 mudu - Ahraha | Buy and Sell food.Grocery and Farm Produce Online
This type. No for me.

8. Bitterleaf

Bitter Leaf: Why you should take advantage of this herb

I use this in the dried form. My grandma gave me a bottle of it so I just tip it into the soup. It has this slightly bitter tinge that makes the okro soup taste different and good. Especially with eba or fufu.

To make the dried leaves, my grandmother sun dries the leaves whole and then crushes it by hand into a bottle. Can also be added to egusi soup and stew, if you feel like it.

9. Ugu

Ugu Leaves - GoMarket

This changed the taste of my ila alasepo completely. I added the ugu last (as you should) and it brought a new dimension to the soup. See, ugu is a premium vegetable.

10. Scent leaves

Scent leaf - Agroeazy

The aroma this gives is out of this world. The taste too. But it doesn’t agree with my stomach, so I use it just once in a while. And in little quantities too.

11. Locust beans

Locust Beans – BAC Synergy Global Ltd

I have noticed a (slight) difference in how my ila alasepo tastes when I add locust beans and when I do not. It’s worth trying out. That is, if you have always cooked your okro with locust beans, try removing it. And if you’ve never used it, this might be the time to try it.

12. Ogbono


I haven’t tried this. To me, they are both draw soups so what’s the need? But then, it’s a recipe and a lot of people have tapped into the movement. If you’re looking to try it out, here’s a video explaining how.

7 Important Things You Need To Know About Cooking Beans


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