Igbo indigenous food – Ji Mmiri Oku (Yam Pepper Soup)


In Igboland, whenever a baby is born the mother’s first meal is ji mmiri oku (yam pepper soup) with fresh or dried fish. The dish tastes great and gives a lot of energy to the nursing mother.

Yam pepper soup is prepared with a blend of medicinal spices such as uziza (West African pepper), ehuru (calabash nutmeg) and uda (African Negro pepper). It is believed that add-yam-and-dry-fishthese ingredients help clean the womb and birth canal. The yam pepper soup helps to dilate blood vessels, cleanse the system and burn excess fat that accumulates during pregnancy. It is an ideal food for those affected by blood loss as a result of childbirth. Those that want to prevent heart attack can also benefit from this nutritious food as studies have shown that high intake of foods like yam that contain vitamin B6 and potassium help to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

Yam’s complex carbohydrates and fibre make this dish an ideal food for mothers that want to maintain an ideal weight and avoid getting overweight after delivery.

Ingredients/ Quantities: Onions, 1 medium bulb; Uziza Leaves (optional), 3 leaves; Maggi Cubes, 2 cubes; Peppersoup spice (optional), ½ teaspoon; Salt, A pinch; Dry or fresh Pepper, to taste, Water, 1 litre.


Half KG of sliced yam, 1 KG Of fresh catfish (point and kill), A cup of crayfish, Utazi Leaves,
Scent leaves, Onions (1 big bulb), Uziza Leaves (optional), Maggi Cubes (2 cubes), Kitchen glory (beef seasoning; half sachet), Lion peppersoup spice (half satchet), Salt and Pepper to taste.

 Method of preparation

Peel, cut and wash yam properly in clean water. Put in a pot with some water and boil. Cut and wash the fish. Wash and slice the onions, scent leaves, utazi leaves. Pound fresh pepper together. Frequently stir to help the sauce thicken; when it begins to thicken, add the fish. Add the pepper soup spice, the sliced utazi and scent leaves. Finally, add the onions and cover to cook for the next seven to ten minutes. Stir and turn off the heat.

Adapted from: The Guardian, 18 October 2014.

Categories: Indigenous Food.


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