Eru soup (spinach/okazi leaves) is a very popular dish in Cameroon. This deep green dish loaded with flavour and aromatics will get your taste buds going! Best eaten with anything starchy that will help soak up all the rich juices.
The leaves used for this dish have various names depending on some regions in West Africa. Some of them are: okazi, eru, mfumbwa. You can find them in most African stores, both dried and frozen.
Traditionally this soup is served at special ceremonies or if you have guests around and you want to wine and dine them. This is due to its high rich oil content, giving it its well known smooth mouth feel when eating it. For this recipe the oil has been cut down to make it a little healthier, all while still keeping the smooth mouth feel it’s well known for.
Eru soup with garri
Vegan | gluten-free
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 51 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 11 minutes
- 2 ½ cups (250g) mushrooms
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil (or any oil of your choice)
- ½ white onion, finely chopped
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 50ml groundnut oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3 tbsp vegan fish sauce (alternatively you can use Soy sauce)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp all purpose seasoning
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- 1 Maggi cube (optional)
- 2 cups (200g) frozen spinach, defrosted and strained
- 100ml vegetable stock
- 2 cups (75g) ukazi/okazi/eru leaf
- partially cooked mushrooms (from Stage 1)
- 50ml vegetable stock
- 1 red pepper, blended
- 30ml rapeseed oil
- pinch of salt to taste
- pinch of pepper to taste
Garri (side dish)
- 4 cups boiling hot water, or as needed
- 1.3 cups garri, more to adjust texture
- Measure out 150ml of water and add 2 tbsp of veg stock. Stir well.
- Blend the red pepper and 50ml of vegetable stock and put to one side
- Soak the ukazi in hot water, ensure the water is level to the ukazi. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes then drain the excess water.
- Soak the frozen spinach in hot water, ensure the water is level to the spinach. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes then drain the excess water. Squeeze the spinach to get as much of the water out as possible.
- Cut the mushrooms into quarters. Fry the mushrooms in a frying pan on medium to high heat with 1 tbsp of groundnut oil for 5-8 minutes until golden brown. Stir continuously so the mushrooms don’t stick to the pan. Put to one side.
- In a medium sized pan on medium high heat, fry all the onions with the oil from stage 2. Fry for 5-6 minutes until the onions have gone translucent and soften.
- Add the garlic from stage 2 to the pan and cook for a further 1 minute. Stir continuously so the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Next add all the spices in stage 3, reduce to a medium low heat and cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir continuously so the spices don’t burn. Add a splash of water if the spices start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Add all of stage 4 to the pan and mix well,. Increase to a medium high heat to bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes with the lid off.
- Next, add the pre-soaked ukazi/okazi/eru leaf, blended pepper mix, pre-cooked mushrooms and mix well. Increase to a medium high heat to bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes with the lid off. This ensures most of the liquid evaporates and the soup thickens.
- Turn off the heat, place a lid on to keep it warm and start preparing the garri.
How to make garri on a stovetop:
Add boiled water to a small saucepan on medium heat.
- Start by stirring in 1.3 cups of garri to the hot water with a wooden spatula. If the garri is still soft, sprinkle more garri until the desired texture is achieved. Mould garri and serve immediately.
How to make garri in a bowl:
Add boiled water to a large bowl.
- Sprinkle the garri into the water, distributing it evenly as much as you can. Use a wooden spatula or spoon to turn the garri together. Just like the stovetop method, add more garri if it is too soft or more of the hot water if it is too hard.
- Mould garri and serve immediately.
- The eru soup can stay in the fridge for up to 4 days. The garri can stay in the fridge for no more than 1 day.
Recipe written and created by Ngwafu Tansie. Founder of gwafuvegan. As a black queer chef it's fundamental for me to represent within the hospitality industry and showcase my culture. Inspiring younger people that you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it.