Bitter leaf soup often known as or referred to as black soup is very popular among the Bini people in Edo state and some other natives also in Edo state.

The soup is black or dark because of the leaves used in preparing it. Bitter leaf soup is known for its medicinal value as some of the leaves used like Ugwu (pumpkin leaf) is full of so much iron and the bitter leaf itself is known to cleanse dirt in the stomach.

Growing up as a child in Benin city, my family mostly cooked Bitter leaf soup mainly in the cold weather because it has a way of keeping us warm. I remember we visited the toilet a lot after eating the soup not for any other reason but because of its medicinal effect, it cleanses the stomach.


  • A bunch of bitter leaf
  • A cup of scent leaves (efinrin)
  • A bunch of ugwu (pumpkin leaves)
  • 1 cup of Palm nut extract (optional)
  • Any dry or fresh fish of your choice.
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Seasoning cubes (Knorr)
  • Salt
  • Dried pepper
  • fresh tomato
  • onion
  • Fresh pepper (ata rodo)
  • stock fish (optional)
  • Crayfish

These are some or all you need to prepare your bitter leaf soup. I did not really give any measurement because it is up to you the amount you will need for your soup.


Here in this plate, I have beef, goat meat, chicken, smoked turkey, shaki and abodi. I make use of all the meat I can lay my hands on when I make my black soup. The more the meat, the more tasty it gets. I cut majority of my meat into chunks because bitter leaf soup can almost serve as pepper soup.


I like to use fish to make mine but I prefer it grilled because sometimes I can’t stand fresh Mackerel. Bitter leaf soup is not complete without fish, it is one of the main ingredient.


I blend all my leaves with fresh tomatoes, fresh pepper and onion. It is entirely optional but I always blend them together, it gives my soup that nice smell and colour.


This is my blended bitter leaf, ugwu (pumpkin leaf), scent leaf, fresh tomato, onion and peppers.


Start to cook all your fresh meat in a pot with onion and seasoning cubes. Soak your dry fish in hot water. Blend or grind in a grinding stone all your leaves together including fresh tomato and peppers or you can blend separately until smooth.

After 15 to 20 minutes of cooking, add palm nut extract (cream) to boiling meat, crayfish, dry fish. Allow to simmer for about 7 minutes then add grinded or blended vegetables and cook again for 10 minutes.

Then check for texture and for salt. Do you like your soup light or thick? Add more water if you like it light or continue to cook if you like it thick like me.After 5 minutes of cooking your bitter leaf (black soup) is ready. Serve with starch, eba, akpu, pounded, I always have mine with starch. Enjoy.


How do you prepare your Bitterleaf soup. I will love to read how you cook your bitter leaf soup. Drop your comments in the box.

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