Apon Ogbono Recipe from Niger - Chicken and Fish Stew with Palm Oil and Ogbono

Apon ogbono

Apon Ogbono Recipe from Niger - Chicken and Fish Stew with Palm Oil and Ogbono
Region / culture: Niger | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 25 minutes | Servings: 4


Apon ogbono
Apon ogbono

Apon Ogbono, also known as Ogbono soup, is a delectable and hearty dish that originates from West Africa, particularly Nigeria. It is a staple in many homes and is known for its thick, viscous consistency that pairs wonderfully with various swallows like fufu, pounded yam, or garri. This dish combines the unique flavor of ground ogbono seeds (African wild mango seeds) with a rich mix of meats, fish, and spices, creating a meal that is not only satisfying but also packed with nutrients.


The history of Apon Ogbono dates back centuries in West African cuisine, particularly among the Igbo people of Nigeria. It is a dish that has been passed down through generations, with each adding their twist to the recipe. The use of ogbono seeds as a thickening agent is a testament to the ingenuity of traditional African cooking methods. Over time, the recipe has spread across the continent and beyond, gaining popularity for its unique taste and texture.


How to prepare

  1. Fry all the ground or chopped ingredients until they become tender.
  2. Add the stock or maggi cubes along with water.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the ground ogbono with the palm oil and add it to the boiling mixture, stirring thoroughly to prevent lumps.
  5. Add the meat to the mixture.
  6. Add the ogbono to the mixture.
  7. If you are also adding fish, add it 5 minutes after adding the ogbono.
  8. Cook on medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until the desired thickness is achieved.


  • There are several variations of Apon Ogbono, including the addition of different meats like goat, beef, or dried fish. Vegetarian versions can be made by omitting the meat and fish, using mushrooms or tofu as alternatives.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure a smooth and lump-free soup, mix the ground ogbono with palm oil before adding it to the boiling mixture. This pre-mixing helps to evenly distribute the ogbono, preventing it from clumping. Additionally, maintain a medium heat throughout cooking to allow the soup to thicken gradually without burning. For an enhanced flavor, consider using a combination of meats and fish, as this adds depth to the dish.

Serving Suggestions

Apon Ogbono is traditionally served with a side of swallow foods like fufu, pounded yam, or garri. These starchy sides complement the rich and flavorful soup, making for a filling and satisfying meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in cooking Apon Ogbono is the gradual addition and thorough mixing of the ground ogbono to prevent lumps. Slow cooking on medium heat allows the flavors to meld together and the soup to achieve the desired thickness.

Ingredient Substitutions

For those who do not have access to palm oil, vegetable oil can be used as a substitute, though it will alter the traditional flavor. Similarly, spinach or kale can replace other greens for a variation in taste and nutrition.

Make Ahead Tips

Apon Ogbono can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for longer storage. This makes it a convenient option for meal planning and busy weeknights.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Apon Ogbono in a large, decorative bowl to highlight its rich color and texture. Garnish with slices of fresh tomatoes or chopped green onions for a pop of color and freshness.

Pairing Recommendations

Pair Apon Ogbono with a light, crisp salad or steamed vegetables to balance the richness of the soup. For drinks, consider a refreshing ginger beer or palm wine for an authentic dining experience.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store leftover Apon Ogbono in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. To reheat, gently warm on the stove over low heat, adding a little water if the soup has thickened too much during storage.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

The calorie count for Apon Ogbono can vary depending on the specific ingredients and their quantities. On average, a serving can range from 250 to 400 calories, making it a relatively energy-dense meal that can fit into a balanced diet.


Apon Ogbono is relatively low in carbohydrates, with the primary source being the tomatoes and onions used in the recipe. The ogbono seeds themselves contain a minimal amount of carbs, making this dish an excellent option for those on a low-carb diet.


The fat content in Apon Ogbono primarily comes from the palm oil used in cooking. Palm oil is rich in saturated fats, which should be consumed in moderation. However, it also contains vitamins A and E, which are beneficial for health. The choice of meat and fish can also affect the fat content, with leaner cuts offering a healthier option.


This dish is an excellent source of protein, thanks to the inclusion of chicken and optional fish. Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues, making Apon Ogbono a nutritious choice for a balanced diet.

Vitamins and minerals

Apon Ogbono is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly from the vegetables and palm oil used. Vitamins A and E from the palm oil, vitamin C from the tomatoes, and various B vitamins from the meats contribute to a nutrient-dense meal. Additionally, the dish provides essential minerals like iron and magnesium.


The primary allergens to be aware of in Apon Ogbono include fish (if used) and potential cross-contamination with nuts from the ogbono seeds. Those with specific food allergies should adjust the recipe accordingly or consult with a healthcare provider.


Apon Ogbono offers a balanced mix of proteins, fats, and essential vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious option for a main meal. Its low carbohydrate content also makes it suitable for those on a low-carb diet.


Apon Ogbono is a rich, flavorful, and nutritious dish that embodies the essence of West African cuisine. With its unique combination of ingredients and cooking techniques, it offers a delightful dining experience that can be adapted to suit various dietary needs and preferences. Whether enjoyed as a hearty meal on its own or paired with traditional sides, Apon Ogbono is sure to satisfy.

How did I get this recipe?

I remember the sense of wonder I felt when I first saw this recipe for Apon ogbono. It was handed down to me by my own grandmother, who learned it from her mother before her. The recipe was a family secret, passed down through the generations, and I felt honored to be entrusted with it.

Apon ogbono is a traditional Nigerian dish made with ogbono seeds, which are ground to a fine powder and used as a thickening agent in soups and stews. The dish is rich and flavorful, with a unique nutty taste that is unlike anything I had ever tried before. I was eager to learn how to make it myself, so I asked my grandmother to teach me.

She smiled at me, her eyes twinkling with pride. "I am happy to pass this recipe on to you, my dear," she said. "It is a special dish that has been in our family for generations. I learned it from my own mother, just as she learned it from hers. Now, it is your turn to carry on the tradition."

We started by gathering the ingredients we would need: ogbono seeds, palm oil, onions, peppers, and assorted meats and vegetables. My grandmother taught me how to properly prepare the ogbono seeds, roasting them until they were fragrant and then grinding them into a fine powder. She showed me how to chop the vegetables and season the meat, explaining the importance of each ingredient in creating the perfect balance of flavors.

As we cooked together, my grandmother shared stories of her own childhood and the times she had spent in the kitchen with her mother. She spoke of the love and care that went into every dish they made, and how cooking had always been a way for her family to come together and bond. I listened intently, soaking up every word and savoring the memories she shared.

Finally, after hours of simmering and stirring, the Apon ogbono was ready. The kitchen was filled with the rich aroma of the dish, and my mouth watered in anticipation. My grandmother ladled the soup into bowls, garnishing each one with a sprinkle of chopped herbs and a drizzle of palm oil.

We sat down at the table together, savoring each spoonful of the Apon ogbono in silence. The flavors were complex and satisfying, with the nuttiness of the ogbono seeds blending perfectly with the spicy peppers and tender meat. It was a dish that warmed me from the inside out, filling me with a sense of contentment and connection to my family's past.

As we finished our meal, my grandmother reached across the table to take my hand. "I am so proud of you, my dear," she said softly. "You have learned well and honored our family's traditions. I know that you will continue to cook with love and care, just as I have taught you."

Tears filled my eyes as I hugged her tightly, feeling grateful for the bond we shared and the knowledge that had been passed down to me. I knew that I would treasure this recipe for Apon ogbono for the rest of my days, sharing it with future generations and keeping the tradition alive. And as I looked into my grandmother's eyes, I knew that she was smiling down on me, proud of the cook I had become.


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