Updated: Mar 16, 2021
If you are like me that loves making things from scratch when cooking, then this blog post is for you! Don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean that I am against store-bought items or that I never use them, of course not! But when I can I prefer making things from scratch. This is something that I've noticed about myself in the past year or so- not sure if it is the effect of lockdown, which means more time on my hand or something but I'm happy with this 'new me'☺️
But one thing that I have always loved is making food with fresh ingredients. I promise you, if you want the authentic taste of any recipe, try as much as possible to use fresh ingredients, it makes all the difference! So this is why I am bringing you a home made pepper soup spice recipe, so you can make your next pot of pepper soup with all fresh ingredients.
This pepper soup spice is part of my showcasing & exploring spices and the food they're cooked with from all over Africa. I am a massive lover of spices! It's so bad that if I eat a meal that isn't properly spice or not spiced at all, it feels like I haven't eaten! Check out the blog page for other spices from Africa and what they're cooked with and give it a go. I'm a lover of spice and I have enjoyed researching some of the spices from the continent and excited to showcase it here on my blog,
So let's get into this recipe. The spices that make up pepper soup spices are popular in the Western region of the contitent. Each of them have more than one names they're called, depending on the tribe or country you're from. They also have English names which added to the many names they're already called and I've made sure to double check them properly and call them the right things in order to help you with sourcing the ingredients.
For your pepper soup spice, there are various combination of spices you can use and for this recipe I have provided one of the variation. For this variation, there are just 3 ingredients that you need and it is very quick and easy to make. But before we delve further into the recipe, I will just give a little bit of facts and knowledge about each of the spices. But one of the major thing they all have in common is that they all have medicinal benefits which I will explain below.
This is grown in Western and Central Africa. It is also known as Ashanti Pepper, Benin Pepper, Masoro (Hausa), Esoro Wisa (Twi, Ghana), amongst its many other names. Uziza is it's Ibo (Nigerian Tribe) name. This is gotten from the Uziza plant (of which the leaves are also used in some Nigerian soups). The seeds which are basically it's fruits, in it's dried form is similar to black pepper. In short it is a specie of the black pepper. It's scientific name is Piper guineense.
In terms of medicinal benefits, it is said that that it could help with fertility problems in both men & women.
Also known as Grains of Selim, with Uda being what it is known as in the Igbo language. As well as medicinal benefits, it also has culinary and sexual benefits as well. One of it's medicinal purposes is that it can be used to treat respiratory system disease such as cold (thanks to the bark of the Uda tree that has potent properties)- this may explain why in Nigeria, traditionally, pepper soup is recommended when you have a cold as it can clear your nose and throat as well and generally make you feel better!
Also known as Calabash Nut meg, African Nutmeg, Jamaican Nutmeg (you can already guess why it is found both in Africa and the Caribbean. Clue- slavery!). It is dried seeds from a tropical forest tree found in West Africa. It is beneficial medicinally because it is said to be used in treating stomach conditions, headache, fever.
All the medicinal benefits above explains why pepper soup can be seen as a medicinal soup too!
You can get all these ingredients from your local African store. If it's not available at yours locally, check out other African stores closer to you on here and they can deliver to your home.
- 1 cup Uziza seeds
-1/4 cup Uda seeds (Please note this can be bitter, so use sparingly. If your using it in the strands form, a few strands will do)
-1/2 cup Ehuru seeds (preferably the ones that are already de-shelled so as to save you time of having remove the shells)
I mentioned earlier about different variations, another ingredients that can be added is Alligator pepper for another variation. When I try that out, I will put a recipe up for that.
Uda seeds: if you buy the ones in strands and haven't been deseeded, you can use them like that
Ehuru seeds: preferably the ones that are already de-shelled so as to save you time of having remove the shells. Remove the shells by hitting with a small pestle to break the shells and then take the seed out. Do this first before following the process below.
-Food processor Spice Mill or Coffee Grinder
-Wooden Spoon/ Spatula
-Air tight container (I did a bit of recycling by using the glass jar of store bought honey)
Roasting of the seeds: this process is done in order to allow the seeds to realease their aroma and oils.
- Put a pan on the hob on medium heat. Let it heat up for about 1 minute
- Add the Ehuru seeds (Calabash Nut Meg) to the pan in order to roast. Keep turning them for about 3 minutes.
-Then add the Uziza seeds and then keep stirring together for about 2 minutes.
-Add the Uda seeds and then stir together again for about 3-5 minutes. Make sure the heat is on medium all through in order to avoid the seeds burning.
-After roasting, put into a bowl in order to let the seeds to cool down, for about 5 minutes.
-Then it is time to grind. For this, you will need either food processor spice mill or a coffee grinder.
- Put in about 2 tablespoons of the seeds and then grind. Then carry on grinding in batches like so.
-After you have finished grinding everything into a powder form, pour in air tight container and then use as and when needed!
Here's a short video showing the process.
Try using it to make goat pepper soup- see here for my goat meat pepper soup recipe.