Pumpkin Soup: How to Cook Nigerian Ugu Soup

Pumpkin Soup/ugu soup/ofe ugu is a healthy, hearty soup that tastes so sensational.

Most people would associate pumpkin leaves with fall and decorations.

But not in West Africa, where they are used in making soups, stews, juices and even smoothies that are quite mouthwatering.

Pumpkin fluted leaves in Nigeria called sokoyokoto in Yoruba, Ugu in Igbo language, kabewa in Hausa, and Ikong-Ubong in Efik is not quite the same as the pumpkin leaves you would see in the United States.

What Is Ugu Leaf?

Ugu leaves, also known as fluted pumpkin leaves are greenish leafy vegetables cultivated in Nigeria and other West African countries.

They are palatable when you boil or cook as food. You can also eat it in the form of a vegetable salad or as juice by crushing the fresh leaves and extracting the juice.

Pumpkin Leaf Benefits

Ugu leaves are one of those plants that secretly carry some unbelievable health benefits.

  • Part of the greater squash family, the pumpkin is a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, iron and fiber, and its seeds are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3!), which has become a nutrition recommendation in recent years for pregnancy.
  • The Ugu leaf or simply pumpkin leaf contains iron, which helps with blood circulation and eases pain during “special days” in every woman’s life.

There are so many ways of preparing ofe Ugu or pumpkin leaves soup (In Africa, most sauces are referred to as soup).

Some prepare it as vegetable stew using tomatoes and pair with white rice while some prepare using the recipe below:

Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Nature has blessed us with so many different soups in the south-east region of Nigeria to enjoy.

Such traditional soups include: Ofe Nsala, Ofe akwu, Ofe Oha, Ofe Onigbu, Ofe Owerri, and others

One of the most popular vegetable soups in Igbo land is prepared with Ugu leaves and it’s called pumpkin soup/ugu soup/ofe ugu.

To prepare Pumpkin Soup – Ingredients

  • Meat
  • Stockfish
  • Dry fish
  • 6 cups stock and water
  • 5 Scotch bonnet
  • ¾ cup of palm oil
  • 2 ¼ cups Ede/achi/yam paste (thickener)
  • 1 tablespoon ogili isi – local seasoning (optional)
  • ¼ cup ground crayfish
  • 3 Seasoning cubes
  • salt
  • 450 g ugu leaves


  • Firstly, wash and season meat and stock fish with salt and seasoning cubes. Cook until tender.
  • Secondly, place dry fish in hot water for 2 minutes, drain and rinse well in cold water, remove bones.
  • Thirdly, pick Ugu leaves, wash and shred. Set aside.
  • Then, add dry fish, pepper and palm oil to boiling meat. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • After that, add your thickener which could be cocoyam/yam/achi paste.
  • Remember to cook until the soup thickens, before adding ogili isi, crayfish and seasoning cubes.
  • Lastly, stir and taste, add salt and shredded ugu to the soup. Stir, reduce heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, Take off the heat.

Serve your Pumpkin Soup with any swallow of choice.

Easy Pumpkin Soup Recipe
Easy Pumpkin Soup Recipe

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