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How to cook crunchy one-pot Okra Soup (Ila-Asepo) +health benefits of Okra

 My relationship with Okra has been a rollercoaster. First I liked it as a toddler till I was about 14 years old and by that time, anytime I ate it it, I felt nauseous, there seemed to be no remedy. My mum concluded it was a change in hormones! By the way Okra is called 'ladies' fingers' in some cultures, some call it 'gumbo' also. I have seen it served(fried) as a side with potato chips in the US. I bet some Nigerians would find that wierd.

I extracted this health benefit bit from a website(see reference at the end of the page)
  • Okra Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy - An extremely important B vitamin for producing and maintaining new cells, folate is an essential compound for optimal pregnancy. The vitamin helps prevent birth defects like spina bifida and helps the baby to grow sufficiently. Vitamin C is also essential for fetal development. Okra is rich in both folate and vitamin C.
  • Helps Prevent Diabetes – Thanks to fiber and other nutrients, okra proves beneficial in normalizing blood sugar in the body, helping with diabetes.
  • Helps with Kidney Disease – One study published in the October 2005 Jilin Medical Journal found that regular consumption of okra can help prevent kidney disease. In the study, “those who ate okra daily reduced clinical signs of kidney damage more than those that simply ate a diabetic diet.” This also ties in with diabetes, as nearly 50% of kidney disease cases are caused by diabetes.
  • Supports Colon Health – Okra is full of dietary fiber, which is essential for colon health and digestive health as a whole. The fiber Okra provides helps to clean out the gastrointestinal system, allowing the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency. Additionally, the vitamin A contributes to healthy mucous membranes, helping the digestive tract to operate appropriately.
  • Could Help with Respiratory Issues like Asthma - Okra contains vitamin C, which has been shown to help with respiratory issues like asthma. One study concluded that “the consumption of fruit rich in vitamin C, even at a low level of intake, may reduce wheezing symptoms in childhood, especially among already susceptible individuals.”
  • Promotes Healthy Skin - Vitamin C helps keep the skin looking young and vibrant. The vitamin aids in the growth and repair of bodily tissues, which affects collagen formation and skin pigmentation, and helps to rejuvenate damaged skin. Okra is full of vitamin C. Topical tip: Boil a handful of okra until soft. After letting it cool, mash it, and apply it to your face. After 5 minutes, your skin should feel smooth and rejuvenated.

 Anyways,I deserted this meal for a while until I was expecting my Child. All of a sudden, I would crave it, I found it hard to believe.When I told my mum she said "the wonders of pregnancy" you? Okra?.

I got up one day,bought the okro and some ingredients.and decided to make Ila asepo...doing it my had to be crunchy to reduce the drawiness-if theres anything like that (no disrespect to Naija food, i'm a fan,it tastes better for me when its crunchy).

Some days ago my sister called to ask why my Okra soup is crunchy ,so I thought I should just do a write up and post it on my blog.One of the steps I took to ensure it ended up crunchy was first,not to grate it, I just did a rough chop.and also to fry in palm oil before cooking!

Here's what i did.


  • Fresh Okra (roughly chopped not grated)
  • beef stock
  • Stock fish
  • Cooked Ponmo (cow skin)
  • Palm oil
  • some water
  • chopped onions
  • ugwu leaves or washed bitter leaf(optional)
  • Locust beans/iru( optional,some people will say..not optional...a must!)
Heat some palm oil in a pot, pour in the onions and all the meats and stockfish and fry, add the okra and fry for a bit,like 2 to 3minutes.. If you are using iru or locust beans, you can fry it in the palm oil too,be careful not to burn it please.

Add the stock and seasoning and some water till the consistency is not too thick. add the chopped leaves if desired (I skipped this part).

Cook for about 2minutes, please try not to overcook okra to get the best of its taste and nutrients!


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