Eru Soup (Spinach/Okazi leaves) is a healthy satisfying Cameroonian green dish loaded with other protein and aromatics that will make your tastebuds sing for joy. Best paired with any of your favorite starchy sides!
Nothing delivers flavor and finger-licking goodness with little fuss and even less time than Eru soup. When I decided to start a cooking blog, the first recipe that crossed my mind was eru. It was at the top of my list of recipes to make for the blog because I have been cooking for a very long time and if there is any dish that I cook really well, it’s Eru. So it would only feel natural to start with it.
I kept putting it off in favor of other new recipes – baking up a storm in the kitchen. After making it this weekend, it reminded me of why I cook it often – my taste buds danced with joy. Wow! I can’t believe I had not made this in two months!
Eru soup is made using the creeping planting Gnetum africanum – an evergreen vine that grows wild in the forests of Central and West Africa.
The leaves go under different aliases; Okazi, Eru, Mfumbwa, and Ukase depending on the region and country. Eru leaves are not readily available in stores; you can only buy them at African and online stores. The soup gets its name from the leaves – eru soup. This meal is very similar to Afang soup.
There have been several reports that say these very popular and nutritious leaves are on the extinct list; unorganized cultivating practices and extremely high demand led to this conclusion. It would be a sad day for millions of people if that happens. Let’s hope not!!
This ever-pleasing meal is very popular in Cameroon and the Bayangis ( a tribe in the southwest province in Cameroon ) love it. Most people are tempted to use an excessive amount of oil while preparing eru. I have made this several times with very little oil and is quite tasty.
If you want healthy eru, cut back on oil and you can eat this meal frequently guilt-free.
Serve this soup with this water fufu (fermented cassava dough) or any fufu flour.
Watch How to Make It
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Eru Soup (Spinach/Okazi leaves)
- 2 pounds meat (beef, tripe, cow skin, smoked turkey)
- 1½ pounds dried fish
- ¼ onion, chopped
- 2-4 cups palm oil (or half corn oil and half palm oil)
- ½ cup ground crayfish
- 5-6 cups dried chopped ukazi
- 2 pounds frozen spinach
- 2 Maggi/bouillon powder
- Salt and pepper
- Scotch bonnet pepper optional
- Cut the beef into bite-size chunks, season with salt, Maggi, and onions, and cook until tender. Do the same with cow skin (they are tough, so they take longer to get soft). Use very little water while cooking the meat because eru does not need a lot of water. However, make sure you have at least 2-3 cups of stock from the beef to use in cooking this dish.
- While the meat is cooking, soak the dried okazi (eru) leaves in a bowl of hot water to tenderize the leaves for 10-15 minutes. Rinse and drain.
- Add the assorted meats – beef, cow skin, tripe, and dried fish or turkey to a large stock pot with at least 2 cups of stock. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Drain the thawed spinach and add to the pot of assorted meat and fish. Add crayfish and two tablespoons of bouillon/Maggi. Stir and cook on medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.
- Add the shredded ukazi (eru) leaves and red oil. Stir again thoroughly, making sure all the contents in the pot blend together. Simmer for another 10 minutes; add stock or water if needed. The fragrant aroma lets you know it is time to eat.
- Season to taste with salt and more Maggi as needed. (I usually season my food with salt and Maggie as the dish progresses.)
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on the products used in the recipe.