Sunday 24 March 2013

Vegan Nigerian Okra Soup with Eba | How to Make Okra Stew

I haven't eaten okra in a looonngg time, so I was pretty excited to cook this meal. However, when I realised that the other times I'd eaten okra was when my mum had cooked it for us, I stopped short and genuinely scratched my head for a few seconds as I stared down at the bright green batons.

Isn't technology a wonderful thing? The answer to my problem was just a phone call away! With a pen in hand and a piece of paper in front of me, I jotted down my mum's fool-proof step-by-step instructions. At the end of the call, I was left chuckling at myself and thinking: 'Oh? Well, that's not so difficult.'

So if you've never cooked with this "mind-boggling" vegetable before, I can assure you that this recipe is wonderfully easy to make and incredibly tasty. My version is fully vegan, with roasted tofu replacing the meat.

Eba is a dough made from garri (dried cassava flakes) and is a staple food eaten in the Southern parts of Nigeria. You can find it at any African food shop or online. Although it can be a little heavy (because of the stodgy consistency), paying attention to portion size goes a long way. Not only is it very high in dietary fibre, it also contains zero cholesterol and no saturated fat - win!

vegan okra soup

(serves 2)

For the okra stew
- 200g firm tofu, diced
- 4 cups okra 
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp palm oil (optional)
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp crushed garlic
- Salt to taste
- dried parsley, to garnish

For the eba
- 1 1/2 cups garri
- 1 cup boiling hot water

Spread the diced tofu on a lined baking tray and bake at 200C for 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Set aside.

To make the okra stew, trim the tops and tails of the okra. Place the okra in a food blender with the scotch bonnet pepper and pulse/blend until liquified, with a few small lumps remaining. 

Bring the vegetable stock and palm oil to a boil in a large pot and add the blended okra. The consistency should turn gooey and bubbly.

Add the chopped red pepper, tomatoes and onions, along with the crushed garlic and season with salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes on high heat. Add the roasted tofu towards the end of the cooking time.

To make the eba, place the garri in a large mixing bowl and add the boiling hot water slowly, mixing as you go along, until it forms a soft but firm dough - firm enough to hold its shape.

Use a damp wooden spoon to shape the eba into a mound and serve with the okra stew, garnished with some dried parsley.

Now, if you want to go all out and eat this the traditional way, you can use your hand to scoop the eba into little ball shapes and dip into the stew. Entirely up to you! :)


  1. Nice one, its likely the okro will not draw by the time you add the peppers and salt though.

  2. This looks delicious, I can't wait to try it! I love that it's oil free, too. Will it work with frozen okra, or do I have to use fresh?

    1. Hi Lee! Yes, you can use frozen okra too. I hope you enjoy it!

  3. why no addition of spinach. spinach is amazing

  4. This is my new favorite blog. Thank you!!! I especially love that you call okra "mind-boggling"! I actually don't care for it. At all. Ever. And I stare in wonder at people as they enjoy it. That said, there is some in the freezer, and I will at least try to cook it for others' enjoyment! ;)

    1. That's so lovely to hear - thanks! Haha, well cooked the right way, okra can be pretty great. Definitely an acquired taste :)

  5. I like this stew and have made it several times! We prefer cocoyam or plantain fufu with it