Nigerian Style Cocoyam Soup
Delicious cocoyam soup inspired by Nigerian soups is easy to make, nutritious and very tasty. Cocoyam is cooked a in spicy pepper sauce with kale and fish to make an easy one pot meal, perfect for these cold days.Jump to Recipe
I was shopping at my local market and surprisingly found some cocoyams. Childhood memories of cocoyam chips and porridge came flooding back and I was excited by the prospects of what I could do with these in my kitchen. Of course, I bought some and have been back in that shop just to buy cocoyams. This sumptuous Nigerian style cocoyam soup is one of the results of my many visits to that shop.
I always see eddoes at my local supermarket; and I see a lot of “taro” products around, but I don’t see cocoyam often in this part of the world. Cocoyam is different to taro and eddoes, but there are so many conflicting information on the internet about which is which. I will carry out a research into these three identical root produce in a following blog post – so watch this space.
I am particularly interested in cocoyam because it is a staple food in West African countries, where both roots and the leaves are consumed. It is one of those versatile food ingredients that could be prepared in so many different ways, that you never tire of eating it.
Cocoyam can be boiled, fried, pounded and roasted. It can also be used as a thickener in soups or made into a porridge or flour. The possibilities are endless with this humble root crop. Africans are very good at using up all parts of the plants so nothing goes to waste. Cocoyam leaves are eaten as vegetables or just used as a wrap for other foods to be cooked in.
How to Make Cocoyam Soup
In my cocoyam soup recipe, the star of the dish is the cocoyam, of course. What you add to it depends on your preference. I added fish to my soup recipe, but you can omit this to make the dish vegetarian. Traditionally. Bitter leaf or ugu is used for cocoyam soup; but I substituted with Kale. You can use other green leafy vegetables.
Cocoyam is valued for its waxy starch, which makes it great as thickener. The soup thickens as the cocoyam cooks and begins to release its starch. Add enough water so it appears very thin at the start of the cooking. You will need to reduce the heat to very low after cooking for some time to reduce the sticking to the bottom of the pan. There may be a need add more water if it becomes too thick during cooking. This soup also becomes thicker as it cools, so be aware of that too.
If you liked this soup, then you must also try this yam curry, prepared with another African staple root crop.
Nigerian Style Cocoyam Soup
- 6 medium Cocoyam
- 1 big Onion
- 1 big Red bell pepper stalk removed
- 2 Beef tomatoes
- 1 Scotch bonnet stalk removed
- 3 tablespoons Oil
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Ginger powder
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon Thyme or a handful of fresh sprigs
- 4 fillets Any white Fish or 2 medium size cut into chunks
- 100 g Kale or 5 leaves, stalk removed and chopped.
- If using fish chunks, add a little salt to fish, making sure all the pieces are covered, then keep aside.
- Remove the skin of the cocoyam with a knife. You can use a potato peeler if you have one.
- Wash and cut into small pieces. Keep to one side.
- Cut the pepper, onions and tomatoes into smaller pieces and add into a blender. Add the scotch bonnet with a cup of water and blend.
- Pour the oil into a sauce pan and allow to heat up. Pour in the blended mixture and allow to sizzle for around 5 mins.
- Add some water into the pan, so the content is quite thin.
- Add some salt with the onion, garlic and ginger powders.
- Pour in the cocoyam pieces and allow to simmer under medium heat for 20 mins.
- Taste and add more salt if required. If the soup has become thick, add some water too.
- Add the fish, kale and thyme. Reduce the heat to very low and cover the pan.
- Allow to the cocoyam to cook through, and remove from heat. This should take no longer than another 10 mins.