Saturday, 9 June 2018

Vegetable Pepper Soup

Pepper soup is a Nigerian staple enjoyed in every part of the country. You can find it in every roadside restaurant called buka and there are even special pepper soup "joints" where one can find almost all varieties possible. This soup is basically a rich broth made with a variety of meats and fish.

You have fish pepper soup, chicken, beef, mutton or goat. Not only the meat alone is used but also liver, heart, tripe etc, together with a special spice blend which gives the soup its unique flavour.

There are some varieties where yam is added to make the soup more substantial. Often this is given to a woman who just had a baby, most likely because of the invigorating properties of the dish.

The reputation of pepper soup must have travelled far because some time ago I was expecting a visitor from Europe who had heard so much about our pepper soup that she wanted to try it herself. There was just one tiny problem! This lady was a vegetarian. I have eaten many different kinds of this soup and cooked them too. But I had not come across any pepper soup entirely composed of vegetables!

So I put on my thinking cap and started experimenting. After some trial and error I came up with a combination of vegetables and grains which turned out to be very delicious and proved to be a hit not only with my visitor but family as well!

Hot and delicious Pepper soup
This dish is ideal for a light supper served with bread and butter, or could be enjoyed at the end of a fast. If you are not a vegetarian or vegan some sliced sausage can be added to make the soup more substantial.

To prepare this delicious recipe follow the recipe below.

Vegetable Pepper Soup

Recipe by Anne Lawal
This soup is great for vegetarians. Vegans will omit the butter and carnivores can add some sliced sausages or shredded chicken to give variety. Best served with fresh, crusty bread.
Prep time: 20 minutes, without the soaking time
Cook time: 30 - 45 minutes for the sorghum, 25 minutes for the soup
Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield: 4 portions


  • 1 tin sweetcorn
  • 175 g sorghum, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 or 3 sticks of celery incl. leaves, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced or diced
  • 3 medium potatoes, diced
  • 2 fresh chilli peppers (scotch bonnet), chopped and seeds removed
  • 1 tsp dried cayenne pepper
  • 1 tin (2 Tbsp) tomato puree
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • a handful efinrin (scent leaf), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Cooking directions

  1. Boil the soaked sorghum in fresh water until soft, half an hour to 45 minutes. Cool slightly and puree in a blender. Then pass through a sieve to get rid of any husks. Set aside.
  2. Drain and rinse sweetcorn. Heat the oil in a fairly large pot and saute the onion and garlic until translucent, then add all the prepared vegetables and saute for another five minutes. Add enough hot water to cover completely and bring to boil. Then add the tomato puree and all the spices, holding back a good tablespoonful of the efinrin. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  3. Now add the sweetcorn and allow to heat through. Next remove about 4 ladles of the soup and blend the rest. When smooth return to the pot and add back the soup you kept aside. Now add the blended sorghum which will thicken the soup. If necessary add more water and then bring back to boil. Taste for seasoning and if liked add a knob of butter for extra flavour. Turn off the heat.
  4. When serving, sprinkle each bowl with the remaining efinrin.


Sauteing the veggies

Delicious Vegetable Pepper Soup

If you try it, and you really should, let me know how it turned out and what you might change!


  1. This sounds delightful. Where do I get sorghum from?

  2. Easily found in the market or Indian supermarket. I hope you will try it because it is really tasty and quite healthy, too.

  3. I'd never heard of pepper soup before. Good for you, inventing a way for your friend to try it out!

    1. Michelle, pepper soup is a beloved dish in my country, but my version is probably more palatable for the uninitiated.

  4. I’ll need to try your recipe. It looks yummy and is definitely healthy. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thanks for stopping by. If you want to try it but are not used to very hot dishes I suggest reducing the amount of chili pepper.

  6. It's delicious merely seeing it. Very innovative...

    1. Thank you. You should try it out. So different from the usual.


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