Ofor seed is an edible and vitamin-enriched fruit of the “Detarium Microcarpum” tree, this seed is high in vitamin content contents, the leaves and seed of this tree are used majorly in cooking, while the rest of its materials like the stems and roots bark are used for treatment purposes.
The stems and roots bark of the Detarium Microcarpum tree is also used to cure illnesses such as meningitis, TB, itches, and diarrhea.
However, the Detarium Microcarpum is also called Ofor in Igbo, and also called ‘Ogbogbo’ by the Yorubas and ‘Taura’ by the Hausas.
Normally, the Ofor seed is used as a soup thickening spice, when air-dried and then crushed and ground into powder. It is used as a native soup thickener by the Igbos.
Many people nowadays use it to cook due to several reasons but its gelatinous texture and stickiness of the seeds make it a successful soup thickener.
In most cases, most people use the Ofor as an alternative when cocoyam becomes expensive. Although the Ofor can also replace Achi Brachystegia Eurycoma.
The Detarium Microcarpum(Ofor) powder not only makes your soup thick but also gives it a distinct flavor to your stews, sauce, and soup, it also serves as a form of flavor.
You should know that there other kinds of native soup thickener available, some of which includes;
(I) Achi seed
Achi powder is gotten from this seed, which also serves the same purpose as the Ofor thickener.
Achi is known as Brachystegia Eurycoma biologically, but known as “Achi” by the Igbos, “Akolodo” by the Yorubas, “Akpakpo” by the Ijaws, and much more.
(ii) Ukpo seed
It is also another seed that is used in making the Ukpo powder, it serves the same purpose as that of the former. The Igbos call it ‘ukpo,’ the Yorubas call it ‘yerepe,’ while the Hausas call it ‘karasau’.
Health Benefits of Ofor
(1) Good for Diabetic Patients
The Ofor seed contains some sought of antioxidants which work by limiting the activity of enzymes such as -amylase and -glucosidase, thereby slowing down and reducing the digestion and quantity of glucose absorbed. All these properties make it an ideal choice for a diabetic patient.
(2) Presence of Ascorbic Acid
It is important to know that the Ofor seed has the capability of helping wounds to heal, this is so because of the presence of “Ascorbic Acid” in it.
(3) Contains Minerals and Vitamins
We do know that minerals and vitamins are very important to our wellbeing and growth, right?. Well according to our research we found that the Ofor seed contains important vitamins and minerals like Carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and important minerals including Magnesium, Sodium, Phosphorus, and Calcium.
(4) Used in Treating Infections
This seed is also used in treating specific sicknesses/infections like fever, Stomach problems, urinary infection, and gonorrhea are all treated with the leaves.
Nutritional Value of Ofor Seed
According to recent findings, the Ofor seed is said to possess a notable amount of carbohydrate, minerals, vitamin C, vitamin B, fiber, and folic acid.
In Nigeria, most indigenous communities, especially in South East, and South-South the Niger Delta, have been known to employ the use of ‘Ofor’ seed, most at times ‘Achi’, ‘Ukpo’.
In making delicious traditional soups and delicacies, this powder soup thickener(Ofor), is also utilized as a thickening (for eating Fufu, Eba, and pounded yam).
Because of their gum content, they may be employed as both emulsifiers and flavoring agents in traditional soups.
These aren’t real gums; instead, they’re made up of smaller structures seeds.
When crushed to flour, these seeds’ gums can expand in water and therefore alter the viscosity of any liquid to become thick.
Read Also: 11 Recipes That Will Make You Love Broccoli
The Difference Between Achi and Ofor
(1) Ofor powder is slightly rocky, while the Achi seed is smooth with a flat skin.
(2) Ofor has an off-white color, while the Achi powder is usually light-brown in color.
However, there is no major difference between both gelatinous soup thickeners, rather they are similar in terms of their stickiness and texture. As a reminder, you should know that the Ofor powder is made from the air-dried seeds of Ofor when crushed and ground.
However, there are different types of native soups/recipes that can be cooked with the Ofor powder. So let’s get into it.
(i) Oha Soup
(ii) Ofe Uziza – Uziza soup
(iii) Ofe Onugbu -Bitter leaf soup
(v) Ofe Utazi
(vi) Ofe Nsala
How to Make Ofor Soup
Here we’ll be showing simple steps on how to cook Ofe Uziza Leaf with Ofor powder, follow the steps below:
Ingredients needed are:
(1) Uziza and Ugu leaves
(2) 1 cooking spoon Grind Ofor powder
(3) 3 cooking spoons of Red Palm Oil
(4) Beef and Kpomo/ pomo (cow skin)
(5) Dry Fish and Stock Fish
(6) Chili pepper and crayfish
(7) 1 teaspoon Ogiri Igbo
(8) 2 Stock cubes
(9) Salt to taste
First, cut your beef, wash, and boil it with salt and at least 1 seasoning cube.
Secondly, wash your stockfish, kpomo/pomo, and your dry fish into the cooking pot add more water and cook to doneness/tender.
Thirdly, pour in the palm oil and cook for 10 minutes, thereafter, add your pepper, ogiri Igbo, and ground crayfish, seasoning cube, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Next is to stir ensure you have enough water for the soup else you add a little more water cover and continue cooking.
There are 3 ways to add Ofor powder into the soup (1. either your mix powder with 1 spoon of palm oil, 2. dissolve with little water on a small plate or, 3. sprinkle the powder into the soup, sprinkling wrongly may form seed/lumps if not done properly)
Then dissolve and add your Ofor powder into the soup cover the pot and cook on high heat as the soup thickens open and stir properly to mix.
Finally, add the already washed and sliced Uziza and Ugu leaves and allow cooking for about 2 minutes.
Taste for salt, stir and the soup is ready, serve and enjoy.
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