Scent leaf, popularly known as Efirin or Nchanwu is a common Nigerian herb added to various foods. It is used in pepper soup to add aroma and flavor — you can never resist a hot bowl of pepper soup made with scent leaves.
If you are preparing goat meat pepper soup, scent leaf is an ingredient you don’t want to leave out. You can get it from various stores around you.
However, preparing goat meat pepper soup with the scent leaf can be a daunting task. It requires care and skill to get it done.
Why Scent Leaves?
Scent leaf is commonly used in pepper soup and is well known for its aromatic and flavorful properties, which can also enhance the taste of your soup.
Below are some reasons why scent leaf is widely used in pepper soup:
- Aromatic qualities: Scent leaves are known for their strong and distinct aroma, giving them aromatic qualities in pepper soup. It contains various aromatic compounds including eugenol and methyl ethanol which adds a pleasant fragrance to the soup.
- Flavor enhancement: Scent leaves have a slightly peppery and minty flavor profile, which complements the spiciness of pepper soup. The leaves give a refreshing taste and can help mitigate the heat from the peppers or spices used in the soup.
- Digestive properties: Scent leaf is believed to have digestive properties and is often used in traditional medicine to alleviate digestive issues such as bloating, flatulence, and indigestion. In pepper soup, the combination of aromatic herbs and spices, including scent leaf, is thought to aid digestion.
- Medicinal benefits: Scent leaf is also known for its potential health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron. Some studies suggest that it may have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties, although more research is needed to fully understand its therapeutic potential.
- Cultural significance: Scent leaf is deeply ingrained in Nigerian culinary traditions, and its inclusion in pepper soup recipes adds authenticity and cultural significance to the dish. It is believed to bring out the true flavor of Nigerian pepper soup and is considered an essential ingredient.
Goat Meat Pepper Soup Ingredients
- 1 kg Goat Meat
- 1 tb of pepper soup spice mix
- 2 teaspoon ground hot pepper/1 scotch bonnet or Habanero pepper (Make sure you chop it to bits)
- 1 teaspoon of ginger
- 1 tb of grounded crayfish (optional)
- 3 seasoning cubes
- Salt, to taste
- 1 large onion
- 3 finely chopped scent leaves (Efirin or Nchanwu)
- 3-5 cups of water
Follow this procedure to cook goat meat pepper soup with scent leaf:
After buying your goat meat, the next thing to do is to wash thoroughly, with salt.
When you buy meat, it is usually cut into small pieces. You can cut it into smaller chunks so it doesn’t appear too big in the pepper soup.
After cutting and washing your goat meat, cooking is the next step. Pour the cleaned meat into a small pot and turn on your cooker.
I advise that you set it on slightly below medium heat so the meat cooks evenly.
Next, pour 1 cup of water into the pot. Add 2 seasoning cubes, ginger, garlic, onions, and salt, to taste.
After that, cover your pot and allow the mix to boil for at least 1-2 hours. Just boil until the meat is soft enough.
Next, remove the pieces of ginger and garlic from the pot before moving on to the next step.
Next, add 3-4 cups of water to the already-boiled meat. At this stage, you should also add your pepper soup spice, seasoning cube, chili powder, crayfish, chopped scent leaves, and other ingredients.
Mix thoroughly and taste. If you feel it needs more salt, then add to it.
After that, cover the pot and allow the soup to simmer on low heat for an average of 20 minutes.
Turn off the heat and serve hot!
Why should scent leaves be chopped?
You might wonder why you need to chop scent leaves before using them in your pepper soup.
Below are some reasons:
- Chopping the leaves helps to release the essential oils and flavor compounds present in the scent leaves.
- Chopping scent leaves will also contribute to the overall texture of the pepper soup.
- Also, chopped scent leaves ensure that the flavor is evenly distributed throughout the soup.
- In addition, chopped scent leaves also add visual appeal to the pepper soup.
Ehu (calabash nutmeg) is the only pepper soup spice you need for the classic taste of Nigerian Pepper Soup. All those pepper soup mixes will ruin the taste for you. Note that this is NOT ordinary nutmeg used in cooking Nigerian Moi Moi.
For the classic taste of Nigerian Pepper Soup, use scent leaves. Scent leaves are not common outside Nigeria hence lots of people are tempted to use mint leaves. Please do NOT use mint leaves for Nigerian pepper soup because it is not a great alternative to scent leaves. Mint leaves will ruin the pepper soup for anyone who knows what Nigerian pepper soup tastes like.
Feel free to add other parts of beef you like such as liver.
The sweet pepper is just to add color to the pepper soup, it is not spicy at all