Home Forums African Foods and Recipes Get to Know the Spices and herbs Used for Pepper Soup

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    Victory Amah

      A delicacy exists in the Western part of Africa called pepper soup. This delicacy is mainly made of protein, spices, and herbs and is famous in Nigeria. This article will discuss the herbs and spices used in this delicacy and its health benefits.

      One of the spices used in this delicacy is calabash nutmeg, also known as African nutmeg with the botanical name being Monodora Myristica. It is called different things in different languages, in Igbo it is called Ehuru, in Yoruba, it is called Ariwo, in Urhobo, it is called Erhe, in Itsekiri it is called Iwo, in Hausa, it is called Gujiya dan miya, and in Bini it is called Ukposa. This spice consists of shell and seed but it is the seed that is ground into a fine powder to be used as spice. It is not only used for pepper soup, it is also used for certain delicacies like Abacha and Banga stew.

      Gbafilo, one of the spices used is also called rough-skinned grey, or guinea plum, with its botanical name being Chrysobalanus icaco. This spice is, however, called Gbafilor in Itsekiri. This spice is covered in a sandpaper shell which is cracked and the kernel inside which has a hollow inside is grounded to be used in the condiment.

      Grains of Selim are the seeds of a shrubby tree, Xylopia aethiopica, found in Africa. The seeds have a musky flavor and are used as a spice like black pepper. The grain is narrow, slightly torulose, can be dark brown or black, about 2 inches long, and contains many together on a stout peduncle. It is also known as African, Guinea, or Ethiopian Pepper and locally known as Urheri by the Uhrobos, Unien by the Binis, Atta by the Ibibios, Uda by the Igbos, and Eeru by the Yoruba. It has both skin and seeds and they are both equally useful; the seeds are bitter so the skin is used more often than the seed. It is not only used in pepper soup, it is also added to agbo (a native herb), used in the purification of water, and added as a flavor to palm wine.

      Ashanti Pepper which is known as bush pepper, Guinea cubebs, and West African Black Peppers has the botanical name Piper Guineense. It is also known locally as Edusa by the Ibibios, Eti-nkeni by the Efik, Uziza by the Igbos, and Iyere by the Yorubas. It consists of dried blackberries which are used in all kinds of soups not just pepper soup. This seed, however, has a leaf that is also useful in other condiments.

      Alligator pepper is a West African spice made from the seeds and seed pods of Aframomum danielli, A. citratum, or A. exscapum. It is also called Grains of Paradise and locally known as Ehie ado by the Binis, Ntuen by the Efik, Ose oji or okwa by the Igbos, and Oburo by the Yorubas. It consists of skin and seeds; the seeds are aromatic and pungent, with some strains of cardamom flavor. The seeds are ground and used in soups and stews, it is also chewed with kola nuts to produce a numbing effect.

      Tetrapleura tetraptera is a species of flowering plant in the family Fabaceae native to Western Africa and Central Africa with its botanical name being Aframomum Melegueta. It is also called Prekese and known locally as Aridan by the Yorubas, Edem Inang by the Efiks, Ighimiakhie by the Binis, and Usho usho by the Igbos. It consists of long-winged fruit pods, two hardy, two soft and sweet edible wings. The soft wings are edible and they are the ones that are used. This is not only used in pepper soup, but it is also ground for other soups, roasted, and ground for sauce, and sometimes added to palm wine as flavor.

      Umilo is a common spice used for its fragrance and flavor. Its botanical name is Chrysobalanus icaco, but it is called Cocoplum. It consists of a shell and seed, the shell is cracked and the seed inside is used.

      Ocimum gratissimum, also known as clove basil, African basil is a species of basil and a kind of herb. It is used for both fragrance and flavor and has a lot of health benefits.

      These spices and herbs all combine to make this delicacy the perfect delicacy for someone under the weather.

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