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Nsala Soup For The Painful Cold

Honestly, this past weekend was rough. The rain wouldn’t let up and ruined most of my plans, and it was just too downright gloomy. I remember looking at the window one day at 6 am and wondering if the sun was going to rise or not. I don’t even want to remember the freezing water I’ve been forced to bathe with the past couple of days. Worse still, it seems like this weaher is going to carry on for a while. So what do we do to hold back the gloom of this confusing season? We settle down with a nice bowl of Nsala soup.

Nsala soup, or white soup as some people call it, is a personal favourite of mine. Although the process of making it is similar to that of pepper soup, it’s not exactly the same. The thickness of the soup is what makes it so great for me, because I can eat it with pounded yam (best) or by itself and be perfectly satisfied.

Here’s how to make the best Nsala Soup you will ever have:-


  • Cat Fish
  • Stock fish or smoked fish
  • One cup of shrimp
  • Fresh or dry Utazi Leaves
  • Thickener: Raw White Yam  (substitute with Yam Powder or Potato Puree)
  • Fresh Pepper
  • scent leaves (optional)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 handful crayfish
  • 1 stock cube (Maggi / Knorr)


  • Cut the catfish into 1-inch thick pieces and remove the intestines. Place in a bowl and pour very hot water on it to thicken the skin and prevent it from breaking apart while cooking. Leave for about 2 minutes and then wash with salt and cold water.
  • Wsh your stock fish or smoked fish (I use both) and break up into pieces as big or as small as you want them to be.
  • Devein and wash your shrimp
  • Boil a few cubes of raw white yam. When soft, pound with a mortar and pestle till a smooth paste is formed, then set aside. You can substitute white yam with yam powder or potato puree for the thickening.
  • Wash the utazi leaves and scent leaves. Blend together with the pepper and the crayfish and set aside. Only use one or two leaves of each as the utazi is only used to give the soup a slightly bitter taste and the scent leave is very spicy.


  • Place the catfish in a pot and pour enough water to cover the fish. Add your seasoning and cook until almost done.
  • Add your stock or smoked fish and shrimps, and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the blended crayfish, pepper and leaves, and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes.
  • Now, add your pounded yam in small lumps so your soup can start to thicken.
  • Cover the pot and allow to cook until all the yam dissolves. Stir at intervals
  • When your soup is thick enough, turn off the heat and allow to cool

I usually like to eat my Nsala soup piping hot. It’s so easy to make and a great pick me up for days when you want something filling but stress-free.


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