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Peppersoup is a soup from parts of West Africa, notably Nigeria, made using various meats, chili peppers and calabash nutmeg as primary ingredients. It is a spicy soup that has a light, watery texture. Despite its name, the soup is not necessarily defined by a pepper-forward flavor profile, that is, the flavors are much more complex, with nutty, bitter, woodsy, and floral notes, as well as warmth.[1] It is considered to be a delicacy by some people in Western Africa, and some West Africans believe that the soup has some basic medicinal qualities.


Pepper soup is a common soup in West African cuisine that is prepared using various meats, chili peppers and calabash nutmeg as primary ingredients.[2][3] Pepper soup is very spicy[4] and goes well with a cold beer or soft drink. While it is served as an appetizer at official gatherings, pepper soup is more popular at pubs. In Nigeria, it is served at "leisure spots" as a recreational or "feel good" dish.[4] Pepper soup cubes, a pre-mixed blend of spices used in pepper soup, are manufactured by one Nigerian company.[5]


Pepper soup is typically a watery, light soup.[4] There are many variations of the dish in Western Africa.[6] It can be prepared with combinations of various meats,[7] such as fish, shrimp, tripe, oxtail, chicken, game, goat,[2][5][8][9] beef or cow hide. Additional ingredients can include tomatoes, onion, green onions, garlic, sweet peppers, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and lime juice.[8][10] Fufu, a food prepared from boiled and then pounded cassava or other tubers, is sometimes used as an ingredient, which thickens the soup and serves to impart a creamy texture.[2] It is sometimes served with side dishes such as rice or boiled tubers, or served atop these ingredients.[7][11] On the western coast of Africa, it is typically cooked outdoors in a cauldron.[12]

Pepper soup is considered to be a delicacy among riverine people[13] in Western Africa. It is a popular soup in Nigeria,[9] and in other English-speaking countries in Western Africa including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Ghana.[6] Some West Africans believe that chicken pepper soup has medicinal qualities, and it is served to ill people.[8] Pepper soup is also sometimes consumed by new mothers, because it is believed by some to assist in the secretion of breast milk.[8] It is also often consumed after wedding celebrations, as a means to restore health.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nigerian Pepper Soup". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2022-07-23.
  2. ^ a b c McWilliams, J.E. (2005). A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History Series. Columbia University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-231-12992-3.
  3. ^ Asika-Enahoro, C. (2004). A Slice of Africa: Exotic West African Cuisines. iUniverse. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-595-30528-5.
  4. ^ a b c Olarewaju, Olamide (October 12, 2015). "DIY Recipes: Easy way to make Nigerian peppersoup". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "Pepper Soup". The Congo Cookbook. April 11, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Long, L.M. (2016). Ethnic American Cooking: Recipes for Living in a New World. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-4422-6734-3.
  7. ^ a b Massaquoi, R.C.J. (2011). Foods of Sierra Leone and Other West African Countries: A Cookbook. AuthorHouse. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-4490-8154-6.
  8. ^ a b c d Kallon, Z.K. (2004). Zainabu's African Cookbook: With Food and Stories. Citadel Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-8065-2549-5.
  9. ^ a b Harris, J.B. (1998). The Africa Cookbook: Tastes of a Continent. Simon & Schuster. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-684-80275-6.
  10. ^ Montgomery, B.V.; Nabwire, C. (2001). Cooking the West African Way: Revised and Expanded to Include New Low-fat and Vegetarian Recipes. Easy Menu Ethnic Cookbooks 2nd Edition. Ebsco Publishing. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-8225-0570-9.
  11. ^ Megill, E.L. (2004). Sierra Leone Remembered. AuthorHouse. p. 36. ISBN 978-1-4184-5549-1.
  12. ^ a b Webb, L.S. (2000). Multicultural Cookbook of Life-Cycle Celebrations. Cookbooks for Students Series. Oryx Press. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-57356-290-4.
  13. ^ Eko Magazine. Newswatch Communications Limited. 1992. p. 3.

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