As easy as ila alasepo is, I always make a call to my mum still, to ask for the recipe all over again each time I need to cook it (don’t ask me, I don’t know why I do it). My mama makes the best okra soup ever, whether plain or the one pot soup and she doesn’t mess about in the kitchen, she knows her onions. I made this okra soup on Sunday after church and I couldn’t help but share with my fellow foodies. The proof in the pudding of an okra soup is when it draws (elastic). Call me old school but I still chop my okra the way my mama taught me for ila alasepo… These days you necessarily don’t need potash (kaun) to make it draw. I usually blend my okra on a pulse for rough texture when I’m making a plain one and it always turns out well but each time I make ila alasepo, I use potash maybe because my mum always say you must add potash. Well either way, the use of potash works well for me but it also has to be used in moderation or it will kill the elasticity of the okra. Long story short, don’t use potash if you are not confident.
What you will need
800g fresh Okra chopped
200g beef, washed
800g Assorted beef & dried cod, washed and cut to small pieces (I used ponmo, shaki and panla)
Seasoning (I used knorr beef cubes)
Locust bean (I forgot to add this)
Cayenne pepper (use according to your preference)
2-3tbsp palm oil (optional but I prefer it as it add a bit of colour to the okra)
Tiny bit of Potash (Kaun)
Water/ stock (1.5 to 2 cups)
Ukazi leaves (optional)
Ginger and garlic (optional)
Chop okra and set aside
Place a pan on a medium heat and add beef, assorted beef and dried cod, salt, seasoning, onion, ginger, garlic and little water (adjust salt and seasoning to your taste) bring all to boil until tender. You can use pressure cooker for this as it is quicker.
Once beef and fish are tender as desired, separate the stock from it and sieve to achieve a clean stock. (Skip this step if you are ok with the bit and bob from stock)
Place a clean pan on a medium heat then add the stock about (1.5 cups) the beef, assorted beef and dried fish and bring to boil for about 3-5 minutes, add potash then the chopped okra. Stir till all is well combined and cook for another minute
Add crayfish and cayenne pepper. Stir till well combined, add palm oil, stir and cook for about 2 minutes
Add seasoning and salt (adjust salt and seasoning to own taste especially if you are using stock) add ukazi leaves (if using) stir and add smoked mackerel then cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Plate up and accompany with your swallow of choice.