I'm blessed that some of the dishes I love are also Low FODMAP. Pepper soup is one of those dishes!
This version is what I would call 'clean food'. No additives, low in saturated fat and easy on the tummy. I turn to it often when I want to give my digestive system a bit of a break! It also serves as a decongestant & pick me up- especially after a cold!
There are many versions of pepper soup including goat, plantain, catfish...Pepper soup can be eaten for breakfast, or as an evening meal.
The ground spices in this soup, (especially nutmeg) give it a distinctive taste. Aromatic, pungent and of course very spicy!! Even when ground finely, the spices sink to the bottom of the dish...so the more you eat the tastier it gets! Pepper soup from the Delta region is typically light and not too oily. It does not contain tomatoes or onion. It often contains catfish. Deltan pepper soup contains spices which are not commonly available outside of the region. I've tried my best to name the spices in English and give substitutions so if you can't get a hold of everything on the ingredients list you can still give this soup a try!
It is possible to source or gather all the spices for this recipe and grind them to make the soup mix. However, if you are having difficulty finding the ingredients or are short on time, in my opinion it is quicker, easier and cheaper to use a pepper soup pre-mix. These are readily available in specialty stores or even online. You could always add in some additional spices and herbs to give this soup an authentic touch in a flash!! 20 mins start to finish!
For this version of pepper soup, I usually use catfish. However, my brother caught barracuda when we went on a fishing trip together so I thought I would try making pepper soup with it! I was pleasantly surprised. The barracuda tasted very good. It was meaty and held together well (better than catfish) during cooking. I would use it again. Catfish has a more delicate flavour and texture. It needs to be added at the last minute as it can separate during cooking.
The great thing about Nigerian cooking is that it's recipes are so flexible.. You can throw in almost any protein of your choice and really make this (or any) dish your own! If you wanted to make this dish vegan, a smoked version of tofu would work instead of fish, fried beforehand. If you prefer meat, I would recommend bone in goat or even chicken.
Scotch bonnet peppers are used in a quantity that adds flavour rather than heat. If you don't mind a bit of heat, then I would recommend increasing (maybe doubling) the quantity of uda. If you like your food even hotter, than its a free country - add as much of whatever pepper/spice you like!! I added a small quantity of palm oil. Palm oil gives this dish an orange orange colour and a unique flavour.
Dried crayfish has a smoky taste and gives an added depth of flavour. If you haven't eaten or cooked with dried crayfish before though, maybe taste first before adding. Not everyone likes the very strong, pungent aroma!!
Most of the ingredients in this soup are widely available at ethnic food stores and even on amazon. Here is what a selection of the pepper soup spices look like;
Not sure why but certain foods just 'go together'. Like fish and chips, curry and rice........Pepper soup goes well with a big chunk of starchy carbohydrate....in this case boiled yam. Some people also like to add unripe plantains to the mix. Personally I don't add plantain, I find the yam sweet enough.
If you decide to give this recipe a go, share your thoughts, pictures and recipe tweaks. Good luck!
Notes before we get cooking!
This recipe makes approximately 3 servings of pepper soup (1 serving pictured). If this is too much, you could half the recipe. The soup mix stores well once ground, so great to grind in bulk! I actually preserve the ground spice in vegetable oil to preserve the aroma.
I'm a big fan of simple recipes that don't need fancy equipment. For this recipe it does help to have a good grinder.
12-14 pieces Calabash Nutmeg (also known as Ehuru/Iwo/Ariwo/African nutmeg/Jamaican nutmeg). Like nutmeg
3-4 pods of Grains of Selim (also known as Urheri /Uda/Enge/Senegal Pepper). Like black pepper
1 Tsp Uziza Seed (Benin Pepper/Piper Guineense). Like black pepper
1 Tsp Alligator Pepper/Grains of Paradise (Ulima/Mbongo) or Ataiko. Like cardamom
3-4 Tbs Crayfish
2 Tsp Stock Seasoning (i.e. Powdered chicken or vegetable stock)
2-3 Coco Plums (Paradise Plums/Umilo/Ulima). Like walnut
1 Tbs Irugege
1/2 pod Prekese (Aiden Fruit)- Optional
1/2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper- finely chopped (Bonney pepper/Caribbean red peppers). Like Habenero
4-6 Scent Leaves- finely chopped (Ocimum). Like lemon basil
1/2 Stick Lemongrass -left whole
2-3 Pieces of Yam -pp, peeled and sliced. Up to 75g Yam is Low FODMAP.
1-2 Barracuda or Catfish (gutted cleaned and sliced into 5 cm wide portions)
1 tablespoon Palm Oil (optional)
Mix together and grind the dry ingredients well in a mortar or blender.
Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil.
Add the spice mix, chopped scent leaf, lemongrass, prekese (if using) pepper and yam.
Cover and boil gently for 10-15 minutes, until the yam is soft.
Turn the heat down and add the fresh fish.
Simmer for a further 5 mins (until the fish is cooked). Remove the prekese and lemongrass
Serve and enjoy!
I'm very passionate about the management of autoimmune conditions in a healthy way.
I speak with medical professionals, read journals, try and test new recipes to share with you and diligently undertake research online. That being said, as you know, each autoimmune disease, as well as any set of symptoms you may be experiencing are unique.
All information provided is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor or healthcare provider to ensure the appropriateness of any information in relation to your own situation.
And finally, please comment and share so we as a community better cope with our conditions by through growth and learning.