2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS
It is the holidays and Christmas is my favorite holiday of each year. Christmas is usually the time to spend time with family, both nuclear and the extended family. The Igbos for instance, travel to their villages to be with their extended family. People also use the opportunity to visit people that they have not seen in a while. People get to travel to places to be with their loved ones. Christmas is the time for premium enjoyment. There is usually an abundance of everything to eat. There is a lot because you cook for your family, people coming to visit also come bearing gifts which most times are things to eat.
Growing up, one of the dishes we had on Christmas day was pepper soup with assorted meat and very cold Fanta (I really do love Fanta). The first time I heard of pepper soup as a child was at an end of the year party. I wondered how it will be. I have had other soups – egusi, nsala, vegetable etc, and I loved all of them so I was looking forward to eating it. I even had an imagination in my head of how it will look and taste too. Due to the fact that they called it “pepper soup”, I was expecting something thick just like other soups. It was served as an appetizer. When I tasted it, the pepper was “peppering”. It was HOT (the pepper in it and the temperature as well). Then there were assorted meats in it. As a child, I was just used to eating beef, chicken, fish, goat, kpomo and the part of cow called “towel” or “afo anu” in Igbo. Seeing some other unfamiliar parts made the soup not interesting to eat you know. But I ate the ones I was familiar with and left the others. I cannot remember what I thought of it then. But as time went on, I continued to eat it and I enjoyed it. My brothers were and still are super selective with meat, so, most times they do not eat most of their meat and they give it to me. I enjoyed pepper soup and still do.
Pepper soup can be served as an appetizer. It is a really light food, but it is not for vegetarians because the main content of this soup is meat. Pepper soup could be made with fish (catfish to be precise), beef and its companions (popularly known as assorted), chicken, goat and any other meat of choice. Simply put, pepper soup is you eating meat with its broth, but then some leaves are added to give it a unique taste. It is not as if all the pepper in the world is poured into this soup. The quantity of pepper in this soup is usually moderate to hot, depending on your tolerance for pepper and sometimes it is to the discretion of the person cooking.
Due to the hot nature of this soup, it is best prepared and served in the cold weather and also for people who might be under the weather. I mean, you will not want to have this when the weather is extremely hot. “Emene ya onwe gi”. You should not do that to yourself (lol). The taste of pepper soup is dependent on the meat used. As much as the same leaves can be used to cook them, they can never taste the same because of the different meat used. Pepper soup can never taste the same especially when different meats are used. That is to say that catfish pepper soup tastes different from goat meat pepper soup which also tastes different from cow meat pepper soup and vice versa.
You can actually tell that you have a bowl of pepper soup in front of you by perceiving it. The aroma of pepper soup is like the aroma of meat being cooked. It has a watery scent but still flavorful at the same time due to the spices and leaves used to cook it. You can perceive the particular protein used, then the pepper and the leaves used. All these blend together to give it a unique aroma and taste as well.
Let us cook goat meat pepper soup because goat meat is the protein I prefer the most for pepper soup. You’ll need;
- Goat meat
- Big sized onion
- Fresh pepper
- Ginger and garlic (optional and a little size)
- Seasoning cubes (Knorr)
- Fresh utazi and uziza leaves
- Some salt
First, you wash your meat and put in a bowl. I like to marinate any meat that I am going to cook, so we’ll do that with this goat meat too. Wash your onion, fresh pepper, ginger and garlic (if using), and in a blender, blend onions, pepper, thyme, ginger and garlic and seasoning cubes till smooth. Pour into the bowl with goat meat and mix together. Put in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours. After 2 to 3 hours, you bring out the meat, mix it again with a spatula and turn into a pot. Add some salt to it and put the pot on fire. The meat will be cooked on low heat for a while till it brings out its own water. At this stage, you watch it constantly so it doesn’t burn. When it has cooked with its own water for a while, you add extra water to enable the meat cook properly. The heat for cooking the meat can only be increased when the water added begins to boil and then you let the meat cook.
While the meat is cooking, you pick a couple of utazi and uziza leaves. Wash them and cut, ready to add them to the pot when the meat is done. You have to also watch the water added to the pot so it does not dry up when the meat has not cooked properly. It is best to add water bit by bit so that it does not become too watery and affect the taste of the soup. After 40 to 60 minutes, the meat is expected to be done. You can check it by dipping a fork into one, if it comes off the fork easily, then the meat is done. Or you can just pick one and chew it to know if it is done or not. Once it is done, more pepper and seasoning cubes can be added to your taste.
Lastly, the uziza and utazi leaves are added. Just a little bit of both and it is left to boil one last time and tadaaaaaa, your goat meat pepper soup is ready.
You could serve this with white agidi, white rice or whatever is in your head to eat it with (nobody will judge you, lol). For me, pepper soup is best eaten alone with a bottle of any cold drink of your choice. ENJOY!
I will love to hear from you when you cook this soup and what you think about it. You can kindly send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a DM on Instagram @thecravefactory.ng. See ya!
Contents provided and/or opinions expressed here do not reflect the opinions of The Pacesetter Frontier Magazine or any employee thereof.
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