Ewedu soup is a delicacy in Nigeria. Apart from being delicious and nutritious, it is very simple to make. The soup is usually served with beans stew together with beef stew, or fish stew and can be a mouth-watering accompaniment to many solid meals like pounded yam and fufu.
Ewedu, Jute leaves soup, Mulukhiyah, or Molokhia – I know you will be surprised by how many names this delicious soup is called. It is very popular not only in West Africa but in the Middle East, East Africa, and North Africa.
The preparation of the jute leaves soup and how it’s served varies from region to region. For example, in some regions, the jute leaves are plucked off the stem and they are left to dry for later use, some also use the dry leaves to make tea, the Chinese also makes stir-fries with the fresh leaves, while in other regions prefers cooking it fresh and serving it over white Rice.
At the end of this post, I will do a quick rundown on how to cook Mulukhiyah or Molokhia. (Egyptian version of this soup)
What is ewedu?
Ewedu soup is a traditional soup native to the Yoruba part of Nigeria it is often served with Amala or any other traditional swallow food like Eba (freshly made with garri), Pounded yam, or fufu. It is very delicious and nutritious and it has a slimy effect when it’s cooked which is very similar to okra. Talking of okra, you really need to try my amazing African-style stewed okra.
Ewedu may look like any leafy green but the leaves are more gelatinous slippery in nature. It’s a popular dish in the Western part of Nigeria and it’s usually served with a soup called gbegiri (a bean-based stew) and a protein, such as meat stew or fish stew.
Ingredients for making Ewedu
- Fresh or frozen jute leaves – Ewedu leaves can be bought fresh from a local market or frozen at your local African/Caribbean and parsian/indian stores.
- Water – This only applies for frsh ewedu leaves. You will not need water if you buy the frozen pack. It comes with enough water in each pack.
- Locust bean – I love adding locust bean to my ewedu soup. It gives the soup a very rich, deep flavor. However, you may skip this if you are new to it because it has a pungent smell in it’s raw form. I also blend this insto the ewedu eaves for my kids so they don’t see the ”beans” and pick them out. 🙂
- Crayfish gives ewedu its rich taste and smell
- Salt and bouillon powder (cube) – A little goes a long way in improving the taste of your ewedu.
What about Potash (kanwu)?
I don’t use potash when making ewedu and I believe you don’t have to use it either. If ewedu is well coked, it will turn out with good viscosity.
Oftentimes, overcooking the leaves is what makes the ewedu lose its viscosity and flavor. On the other hand, if you let it cook for too little time, it won’t have time to release its natural flavor. So be sure to be hands-on while cooking your soup to prevent overcooking or undercooking.
While I believe potash will not hurt in the tiny quantity used for making ewedu, I understand some people are skeptical because of what we’ve read and heard. If you really need something a little extra to make great ewedu and don’t want to use potash, I will suggest using baking soda, in only a small quantity. Let’s say about a quarter to a haft teaspoon for every 8 ounces of ewedu. I hope that helps?
How To Make Ewedu Soup
Making delicious ewedu soup is easy! You do not need to be a professional cook to make this soup. All it takes is a little bit of practice and you will be making the best ewedu soup ever!.
I make ewedu in two ways:
- Using the fresh leaves
- Using the store bought frozen pack
Don’t worry, I will show you the two ways.
This recipe I grew up eating. While growing up, my mom’s method of preparing jute leaves was easy. The only difficult part was plucking the leaves off the stalk. It takes time and honestly, I am not a fan of this at all :D).
- All you need to do is to pluck the jute leaves one at a time. Then rinse and drain off the water, If the leaves have some sand in them, it is advisable to just use your hand to pack the jute leaves from the water so that the settled sand and stones will be left behind.
- Place the clean jute leaves inside a pot of hot boiling water and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or till the jute leaves become tender. At this point stir in the crayfish, Locust bean, salt, and stock cube.
- My mom will always use the small traditional broom called ijabe to blend the ewedu until it becomes smooth. However, a blender will do this just fine. Just pour the boiled leaves inside your blender and blend till smooth. This will take a few seconds to a minute so be sure to keep an eye on it.
- You can serve with your favorite swallow like Eba, Pounded yam or fufu.
Sometimes, I don’t have access to the fresh leaves where I live. I buy them from the store. If you live in the united states, you can easily get them in the frozen section of middle eastern/Indian stores. Sometimes, I find it blended and sometimes unblended.
All I do is thaw the frozen leaves, if unblended, I blend it first and I add it to a pot, with the crayfish, salt, and locust bean. Leave to cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes and voila!
How To Make Egyptian Molokhia Or Mulukhiyah
In Egyptian Cuisine, the jute leaves are prepared by chopping the leaves and cooking them in very rich chicken stock for about 5 minutes or until the Molokhia leaves become smooth and viscous.
Mulukhiyah is often served over white rice with Olive Oil, Onion, Sumac, and lemon juice.
Other delicious soups and stews you might want to try:
Ewedu Soup Recipe
- 8 oz Fresh ewedu leaves
- 3 to 4 cups Water
- 2 tablespoons Locust bean
- 2 tablespoons Ground crayfish
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder or 1 cube
- Salt to taste
- 1 pack frozen jute leaves 8 ounces
- 2 tablespoons locust Bean
- 2 tablespoons crayfish ground
- 1 bouilon powder or 1 cube
- salt to taste
- Pluck the ewedu leaves one by one. Then rinse the leaves in a large bowl by gently swirling them around so that any sand particle can settle at the bottom of the bowl.
- Now gently use your had to scoop the ewdeu from the water and repeat the process a couple of times until the ewedu leaves are clean and there are no more sand particles settling under the bowl.
- Blend the ewedu leaves in a blender with the locust bean and crayfish until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a pot. Season with salt and bouillon powder (cube) and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until it becomes smooth and viscous.
- Thaw the frozen jute leaves by leaving it on the counter top for few hours or place it inside hot water to melt if you are in a hurry.
- Blend the leaves if not already blended and pour inside a pot. Add the locust bean, crayfish, salt and stock cube (if necessary) and stir to combine.
- Leave to cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally until the ewedu becomes smooth and viscous.
- Don’t overcook the jute leaves else, you will be left with a non-viscous soup with an unpleasant taste.
- You may blend the locust bean with the jute leaves if that will make you or your kids happier.
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If you make this Ewedu recipe, I’d love to see pictures of your creations on Instagram and Facebook. #cheflolaskitchen