Dried Okro Nigerian Foods Healthy Orunla Okpuko

The idea of a new series on the blog came up a few weeks ago when I went to the market and posted a picture of something I found which I had no previous knowledge of. It was dried okro. I had never seen it before, certainly never tasted it. I came across it by happenstance as I ventured into a part of the market I had never been in before. It never occurred to me that anyone would dry okro, since the fresh ones are always available. 

Since I have quite a number of Instagram friends (feels weird to call folks “followers” when one is not Jesus, biko), I decided to post the picture and find out if anyone knew anything about the dried okro.

Best idea, ever!

I not only got tips on how to use it, the taste was broken down, the best ingredients to use in highlighting the flavor were recommended and I even got a video recipe. As a matter of fact, a kind someone even offered to cook me some when next I am in Abuja. How awesome is that? I went ahead and posted the same thing on Facebook and the response was just ah-mazing!

So, like that the idea for a new series was birthed. There are so many Nigerian foods that it will be beneficial if we could learn about them and who knows, even find out if our ancestors used them in some medicinal capacity.

My idea is to

  1. Post a picture of a Nigerian food item at least twice a month on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  2. Get fine folks like yourself to comment on the items
  3. Collect this information and make a blog post out of it. Like this one
  4. Credit everyone who shared something.

Although I had started off with posting pictures of local Oysters, the idea only came with this dried okro post so I am making it the first one in the series. Oysters will come next.

So let’s begin.

Dried Okro

Dried okro has a deeper, richer flavor than the regular fresh okro

Dried Okro is simply Okro that is roughly chopped and sun-dried. It is believe that these are the Okro that are too hard to make it into a fresh pot of soup.

During the height of its season, rather than let the surplus fresh Okro waste, it is dried and used up later. Even the stalks are used, so not just the fleshy parts.

Names:

  • Yoruba: Orunla or èekú or Epemu
  • Ebonyi: Ukpo Okwuru
  • Hausa: Busheshen Kubewa
  • Benue (Tiv): Gyande or Gbodi (the powdered/ground form)
  • Middle belt/North: Busheshen Kubewa
  • Igbo: Oro jagada

Where it is eaten: Looks like this is all over Nigeria. So many people laid claim to it that I am not sure it makes sense to list it all here. So, Northern Nigeria, the Middle Belt, Eastern Nigeria and the West. Interestingly, I did not hear anything from those in the Niger Delta area but that may be beaches no-one from that area saw the post. I really couldn’t say.

In fact, it is even eaten in “Northern Ghana, especially the upper regions during the dry seasons with tz, banku or fufu.”

Taste

Dried okro has a deeper, richer flavor than the regular fresh okro. It appeared to be preferred to Fresh Okro. A lot of people were of the opinion that it was best cooked with smoked fish and game (bush meat).

Make Your own

You can make your own sun-dried Okro. All you need to do is to is : “Just slice fresh okro & sun dry in a tray till its crispy dry. Blend immediately in a blender mill or pound in a mortar until it’s powdered or almost powdered (according to ur taste). (You may blend with a little potassium [kahun] if you want it to be extra drawing soup , that’s if you still use potassium in your soup). Store in a air tight jar. Cook as you would ur normal okro soup, the less the cooking time (5-7 minutes), the better it tastes, the more it draws.”*

It can be paired with stew and eaten with the usual swallow meals – Tuwo, Eba, Pounded Yam, Fufu, Acha, e.t.c.

Contributors

Instagram

@dooneyskitchen @victoriananabah @cocoterranaturals @quintessentiallady @rebirthbyjayla @emsstrands @duosmum @omho_a _themogulette ifatoroaduni yango991 fitnessgeneral88 noolz_ lumonaturals **tinuadeb e_charisma carmelahippe eveobak egunsifoods

Facebook

Alero Olley Judith Adikwu Safuriyau Ahmed Daniel Terry Favour Oluchy Christyn Aneke Shulammite Aniedi Olukemi Omotayo Asalu

While I have tried to accurately relay all that were in the comments I received, you may wish to read the original comments yourself. Click here for the Facebook post and here for the original Instagram post.

14 Comments

khadijah

very nice post! really enjoyed reading through. “busheshen kubewa” is actually dried okro. miyan kubewa on the other hand means okro soup in general, either fresh or dry. Hausa is the language, middle belt/north are the regions. so its called both busheshen kubewa and miyan kubewa in hausa. hope you find my comment helpful. 🙂 and again, i love this post.

Reply
Zeezee

Hi love the layout of your blog!! So orderly and calming! Where can one purchase this dried okro please? I cant wait for your post on oysters please also include places o purchase and prices as at date of post. That will really help office bound folks like me!! 🙂

Reply
Sahara

Hey, so this is the only way to get in touch with you, I sent you a mail, let me know when you see it

Reply
Oma

Actually Igbos make dried okro soup, called ofe oraa in my local dialect. I’m really shocked many Igbos dont know about it as my mother used to make it a lot when I was a kid. The only thing holding me back from preparing it for my husband is a good mortar. Lol

Reply
Nef

We ate this at home when I was aa kid (I’m Igbo). I don’t remember liking it particularly, although I didn’t really like many foods back then. I wish now was then…. You know there’s a small cooking broom you can buy to stir it with (it’s usually more draw-ey than fresh).

That’s a low-tech food preservation method there, right alongside sun-dried tomatoes, which I hope you’ve seen. (Didn’t like them as a kid either)

Perhaps it’s time to revisit those foods with a grownup palate. Maybe they’ll taste different. Thanks for the blast from the past.

Reply
AlOnenaijagirl

I ate this a lot growing up. I’m from Obudu in Cross River State. It is one of the simplest and fastest food to prepare. So many methods but a simple one is to steam your meat as you do normally, when its soft enough, add your obstacles (dried fish, periwinkle, stock fish, crayfish etc) and adequate water that will make the soup.

Add your palm oil and steam some more allowing oil to cook. Then add your blended or pounded dried okra into the pot. It really doesn’t take long to cook. Curry leaves give a good taste and seasoning to the soup. Just a little dried okra powder otherwise it would be too thick. We used to buy our own okra and slice it and dry ourselves.

Reply
Nse

Hi NN,
Just seeing this post. I actually haven’t visited your page in a looong while! With power holders holding power, data not browsing, pure laziness etc…Any ways onto the matter… I have known of dried okra for a long time now. We used to make ours when I was much younger (we lived in kaduna then). I can’t recall really liking it then though. I’m rising to the defence of the Niger Deltans (like say na fight!). I don’t know about the rest of the Niger Deltans though but I will say that from my side (Akwa Ibom). I can’t recall ever seeing it in my village market or see anyone cook it. The reason may be that the dried okra tends to be darkish in colour after its cooked (one of the reasons why I didn’t like it), and you know we ibibio folks love our food nice and green when we’re done cooking it and of course when we eat. So this might be a reason why it’s not popular in my area plus we are mostly farmers so people tend to have a little garden around the house growing some basic plants all year round so we tend to always have fresh stock #justsaying.

Reply
Uzoma

I am bent on trying this dried okro soup but worry whether the sun-drying doesn’t burn off the fibre and other qualities of the okro.

Reply
iyke

you’ve got a nice blog and doing a great job.i was trying to contact you for flaxseed[the price and how i can get it at port harcourt] saw an empty pack with your web add.
loved your daddy story and my greatest regards to him. pls text the flaxseed details to 07086538 i’ll really appreciate it.

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