Oha leaves are used to prepare Ora (Oha) soup, a native to the South Eastern Nigeria. It is a very traditional soup similar to the bitterleaf soup but cooked with Ora leaves. Ora (Oha) Soup is special because the tender ora leaves used in preparing this soup recipe are seasonal unlike their bitterleaf counterpart which can be found all year round.
Ingredients for Ora (Oha) Soup:
Vegetable: Ora leaves
8 small corms cocoyam
3 cooking spoons Red Palm Oil
Assorted Beef: Includes best cut, shaki (cow tripe)
Assorted Fish: Dry Fish and Stock Fish
Chilli pepper, salt and crayfish (to taste)
2 Stock cubes
1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo
Oha leaves are the edible leaves of an evergreen tree found in Africa that is known botanically as Pterocarpus mildraedii. They are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. They are also called ora leaves.
Oha leaves contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, zinc and manganese. Oha leaves are rich in fiber, amino acids like glutamic acid, lysine and cysteine while they have a low sodium content. They contain vitamins A, C and some B vitamins.
Oha leaves contain hydrogen cyanide and oxalate but in low levels which are not harmful to humans. They are popularly used in cooking Ofe Owerri by Igbo people of Nigeria. Some of the bioactive compounds whish are responsible for the therapeutic actions of oha leaves are alkaloids, tannic acid, polyphenols, oxalates and tannic acid.
Traditionally, the leaves are used to treat malaria and digestive issues. They have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.
Oha leaves can be one of the vegetables included in a healthy diet because they are green leafy vegetables which promote wellness and good health. Vegetables also help to maintain pH of the body to be alkaline. Oha leaves are also quite delicious and easy to add to soups and other vegetables in cooking.