Contrasting textures of the wood ear and oyster mushrooms are reminiscent of the classic Nigerian pepper soup
Growing up, a party was never complete without pepper soup. As in your wedding is not complete without pepper soup on the menu. As in your 60th birthday aint shiii without pepper soup. Baby shower - baby who? Bar mitzvah... where? You get the point. Pepper soup and jollof rice on the menu will make or break your party.
Since I'm kind-hearted, I wanted to come on here and share with you a foolproof Nigerian vegan pepper soup recipe, so that you can have a successful party.
Ingredients & Tools
🌍 West African Pepper Soup Spices
Pepper soup varies from country to country, region to region. Here are some of the common spices for pepper soup, I've labeled some in the photo above. This list is not a complete list of spices for pepper soup, however they are some of the most common.
- Yanghanyanghan/ Prɛkɛsɛ/ Uhio (shown)
- Alligator Pepper/ Grains of Paradise/ Mbongo
- Calabash Nutmeg/ Erhe (shown)
- Akpi/ Erimado/ Njangsa/ Okhuen (shown)
- Country Onion/Rondelles
- Uziza/ West African Pepper
- Grains of Selim/ Chimba/ Negro Pepper
All of the above spices are used to flavor pepper soup. Akpi also helps thicken the soup.
I enjoy using Clove Garden to discover and to name some of these spices.
🌶️ Vegan Pepper Soup?!
Yes! Anything is possible without animal protein. Over the course of my plant-based journey, I've realized that seasoning and texture will have you forgetting all about the meat. In this dish, the seasoning is so important to evoke those sensory reactions. The same goes for the mushrooms.
Typically the most sought after pepper soup is goat meat. Goat, when cooked down, has that soft fall off the bone texture. I replicated that with fresh oyster mushrooms. It has that tough outside layer with soft chewy inner. The addition of wood ear mushrooms gives that extra crunch/bite that. When combined the two mushrooms give that much-needed texture to complete the dish.
Assuming you made more than your anticipated guest count, I recommend refrigerating your pepper soup, max 3 days. Afterward, you can put it away in the fridge. This dish consists of mainly simmering spices - so I recommend you make just as much as you need.
To heat, pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- If you happen to have whole seeds (ex. fennel seeds) feel free to crush or grind them.
- 1 thumb of fresh ginger
- ½ onion
- ½ habanero pepper
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup of water
- 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
- ½ lb of oyster mushrooms, base removed
- 1 cup of dry wood ear mushrooms, soaked and drained
- 1 tsp of ground fennel seed
- 1 tsp of ground cumin
- 2 tsp of ground all spice
- 1 tsp of crushed peppercorn
- 6 cups of water
- ½ tsp of cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of mushroom/vegetable bouillon
- Blend ginger, onion, habanero pepper, garlic with ½ cup of water in a blender, set aside
- In a Dutch oven pot, heat oil over medium heat. Toss in oyster mushrooms and let fry until it begins to brown, add in wood ear mushrooms and let fry for 2 minutes
- Add in crushed peppercorn, ground fennel, cumin, and allspice,
stir for 3 minutes
- Mix in blended vegetables and let fry for 5 minutes
- Pour in 6 cups of water, cook for 10 minutes
- Season with salt, vegetable bouillon, and cayenne, adjust for taste
- Reduce heat the to low and simmer for 20 minutes
This recipe was featured in the VegWorld November/December holiday issue.