Yoruba Delicacy: Obe Ishapa Recipe


Obe ishapa is a native food from Western Nigeria, although it may be called another name in a different part of Nigeria. It is not so common, and a lot of people may not know it. It is made using Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) or white zobo leaves.


  • 8 pieces of Beef
  • 1 medium Smoked Fish
  • 1 small mudu Ishapa (white zobo or hibiscus leaves)
  • 6 pepper
  • 6 tomatoes
  • 8 medium size Tatashe (optional)
  • 1 Onion
  • 1½ cups ground Egusi (melon seeds)
  • 1 small wrap Iru
  • 2 stock cubes
  • ½ teaspoon ground potash/Kaun
  • Water
  • Salt To taste

How to make it
1. Wash the beef and put in a pot. Season with salt, one stock cube and half of the onion. Steam until the water dries up. Add 2 cups of water and continue boiling for another 20 minutes till the meat is cooked.

2. Wash the pepper, tomatoes and onion, deseed the tatashe, cut into pieces and blend all together to a smooth paste.

3. Dried or fresh Ishapa can be used in preparing this soup. When using fresh Ishapa, wash it thoroughly then place in a clean pot. Add 4 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of kaun then boil for about 15 minutes. Strain and set aside. For dried Ishapa, soak in hot water for 20 minutes, strain and rinse then set aside.

4. Heat the palm oil for about 2 minutes then allow to cool slightly. Add the ground tomatoes mixture and fry for about 10 minutes, stirring at intervals.

5. Add the meat, washed dried fish, 1½ litres of water and iru. Stir and allow to boil for about 8 minutes.

6. Make a thick paste from the ground egusi, add to the pot without stirring, cover the pot. Allow to cook for about 6 minutes . Stir in the remaining maggi cubes and taste the soup. Add salt to taste and reduce the heat.

7. Add the boiled Ishapa and stir. Simmer for about 5 minutes.

8. Remove from heat and serve with pounded yam, amala or any swallow of your choosing.