Eru is a common wild plant found in the forests of Cameroon. The vegetable soup is popular among the Bayangi people. The plant can either be eaten raw or added to stews, soups, porridge, and fish dishes. The soup is normally prepared with finely shredded Eru or Okok leaves along with spinach, waterleaf, palm oil, and either beef, smoked fish or cow skin.
The soup is also popular in Nigeria and is known as Afang or Ukazi, a hint that confirms some genetic and cultural relationship between some tribes in Cameroon and the Ibo people of Nigeria.
Eru is great when served along with fufu or gaari, which are made of cassava. How to prepare gaari or fufu is a discussion for another day, but to briefly describe, they have a resemblance to North American Mashed Potatoes except that they are much firm and their starch contents are well fermented in the process. Adding Eru to your diet is known to offer you amazing health benefits.
And before we guide you on how to prepare the delicacy, here is a lowdown of the benefits you will enjoy.
- Eru promotes healthy bones and teeth
- Helps manage diabetes due to its high magnesium and dietary fiber levels
- Rich in zinc which promotes fast wound healing
- Rich in iodine which prevents goiter
- Has antioxidants which prevent cell damage which reduces early aging and chances of cancer
- Rich in Vitamin B2 and B3 which helps prevent migraine attacks and boost blood flow respectively
- Shredded Eru or Ukazi
- Palm oil and canola oil 100ml each
- Cowskin (smoked)
- 2 pounds of fish or meat of your choice (boiled)
- Crayfish 1 cup
- Bouillon cubes or crayfish seasoning cubes
- Four bundles of fresh and mature waterleaf or spinach
- Pepper (optional)
- Wash your Eru and place it on a colander to drain. If you are using dried Eru, start by soaking it in water
- In a large pot, boil your smoked cow skin, bouillon, and pepper for about 20 minutes
- As your smoked skin boils, wash your spinach and waterleaf
- Cut them and set them aside
- Add your spinach and stir the mixture until the spinach attains a soft texture
- Add your drained Eru. In case you had soaked your Eru, you can drain it and place it in a colander for some few minutes to drain water
- Add your fish or meat and add your canola and palm oil together with your Crayfish. If you are using fish, make sure you have removed all the bones before adding it to the mixture
- Stir it for a few minutes and add pepper and salt if needed. Wait for about 2 minutes then remove from your cooking stove
- Ready to serve
NB: Mixing canola and palm oil help prevent your Eru from becoming hard or the oil to solidify when cold.