One of the things I love the most about scent leaves is the fragrance and aroma when bruised – fresh, clean and citrusy.
I’m from Edo state where Egusi is king. I’ve heard that there’s a soup, black soup is its name but I’ve never had it babe.
One weekday I came home from work. I had cooked beef and stock, an abundance of scent leaves which were beginning to age and not so gracefully, freshly washed bitter leaf and water leaf, about to go to sleep in pots outside, dry fish and energy.
It was ‘soup night’ and we had pots of Egusi and Okro but I wanted to try this.
Bud don’t let weeknight things stop you from making this on a Sunday.
Talk about quick.
I warmed up the meat and stock then added some palm oil.
I was going to grind the scent leaves on a traditional grinding stone but it was far away. I didn’t want to blend it – some say there’s a difference using metal and hand… and so I went for the next best thing, ‘washing’ by hand – in which, using the motions of handwashing one shreds the leaves into bits. The harder and longer one washes, the smaller the shreds.
The soup was way too easy to make. Even if I was somehow apprehensive. See one time, I made some okro soup and thinking scent leaves would add flavour, put in more than was necessary and a disaster it was. Fragrant yes but it ‘cut’ your tongue and gums with an astringency, quite harsh.
But still, I knew, hoped☺ this would be different.
The bitter leaf went in first. Then the scent leaves after a few minutes and finally the water leaf.
I left the pot to simmer for a bit after adjusting flavours and then it was ready. Ready when I couldn’t easily differentiate one leaf from another. And though it didn’t end up black, I loved it.
Really loved it. Though I was the only one at the table who agreed. But then, I’m a self-declared scent leaf lover.