Lose Weight With This Delicious Low-Fat Ofe Nsala (Soup)

Ofe Nsala, also known as Nsala soup or “white soup” is a delicious  Nigerian soup that is loved by many and originates from the eastern part of the country. Dubbed “white soup” because of it’s colour which results from the absence of palm oil, a common ingredient used in most Nigerian soups, the Ofe Nsala soup is a great way to keep warm this cold winter.

As with most Nigerian soups, the Nsala soup can be turned into a healthy hearty dish if you leave out the unnecessary ingredients that makes it become fattening. If you are familiar with Nigerian soups, you’d be aware that most are quite healthy dishes, consisting of delicious vegetables, meat or or fish, which if cooked reasonably and eaten in moderation would be classed as healthy and aid in steady weight loss. Another thing to note is that by leaving out the fu-fu (also known as “swallows”) which often consist of starch, can in turn make you lose a great deal of weight in no time.

Soups do not have to be eaten with starchy accompaniments such as garri, pounded yam or the like. Enjoying your soup by itself can be just as delicious. Yes really! If you’re worried you may not feel full on the soup alone, you’d be pleased to know that fish or meat that is added to the Ofe Nsala soup serves as healthy protein and will make you feel fuller. Like fiber, protein helps you stay full for longer, and the fat in protein works with the hormones in your body to tell you to stop eating. However, it is still important not to overdo it.

If you must have an accompaniment, choose a high fiber fu-fu or swallow. Now, you may say that most are starchy, however, you can be creative. You can make swallows with such things as Weetabix (the organic one is best as it contains no sugar), oatmeal or the popular Quaker Oats. Alternatively, you can go for one that is high in iron, such as the plaintain fufu flour.

To enjoy a delicious and guilt-free Nigerian soup, try my healthy recipe for low-fat Ofe Nsala. It’s delicious and you couldn’t even tell the difference!


Servings: Serves 2

1 medium sized cat fish or any low-fat white fish

5 small sized raw yam cubes (5 tablespoonfuls of yam powder or potato starch will do too)

2  tablespoonfuls of chopped utazi leaves or parsley (optional)

1 tablespoonful ground crayfish

1 teaspoonful ogiri or iru (fermented locust beans)

1 tablespoonful chopped onions (optional)

Chili pepper/chopped scotch bonnet peppers (measure to taste) 

1-2 stock cubes (maggi or knorr)

Salt (to taste)

You can also substitute fish for skinless chicken or chicken breasts, which still maintains the healthy nature of this yummy dish.


1. Start by peeling your yam cubes, boil until it’s soft and mash with mini mortar and pestle. Jamie Oliver designed a very good one you can get hold of, or better yet, if you have the big traditional mortar and pestle, put it to good use for this. Alternatively, you can use a good food processor to liquify the yam, adding a 3 tablespoonfuls of hot water (that you cooked your yams in) to help the food processor blend the yams until smooth.

If using yam powder, bring small amount of water to boil (about 5 tablespoonfuls or as desired). Add the powder gently to the boiling water, stirring continuously to get a smooth paste. Once you’ve achieved this paste, set it aside.

2. Bring the catfish to boil by adding a small amount of water (about 500 mls), the stock cubes, chopped onions and salt to taste. Let your fish cook for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is almost done.

If you’re substituting fish for chicken in your Nsala soup, season and with onions, salt and stock cubes, cook until done and set aside.

3. Add the crayfish, ogiri/iru and pepper to your pot of boiled fish.  Also add the yam paste and mix. Leave to cook until the paste is completely dissolved and the fish is well done.

4. Add the utazi leaves (optional) and simmer for 30 seconds.

Curl up on your sofa with a warm bowl of Ofe Nsala this winter, the lovely dish serves as a great winter warmer!


Photo credit: First photo via MatseCooks

Nonye S.

Nonye is a mum of 6 who is passionate about fitness after loosing a lot of weight due to a change in lifestyle. She started Nonye's Healthy Living blog to share her health, fitness and weight loss journey with those who face weight and fitness struggles like she did. Join her on her amazing journey to good food and good health.


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