How to Prepare Bitter Leaf Soup

Updated: Nov 28, 2021
By Fatima Sani
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Bitter leaf soup otherwise known as Miyan shuwaka in Hausa language is a delicacy in northern Nigeria. It is prepared with fresh bitter leaves (shuwaka) and some use the dried leaves, that’s after washing it till the bitterness reduces significantly, then spread under the sun to dry. However, it is not consumed by many. Only a few people like it which largely owes to its bitterness. In this article, I will be guiding you on how to make this delicious northern Nigerian cuisine. Let’s get right into it!

Equipment for Making Bitter Leaf Soup

Cooking pot


Kitchen Knife


Ingredients for Preparing Bitter Leaf Soup

You will need the following ingredients to prepare Bitter Leaf soup:

Fresh or dried bitter leaves

2 cooking spoons of palm oil

Fresh pepper, onions, and tomatoes (all grinded)

Seasoning cubes – maggi cubes,  thyme, curry, etc. (to desired taste)

Salt to taste

2 litres of water (more or less depending on the quantity)

1 cake of locust bean (daddawa)

Boiled or fried meat and/or fish (quantity and size to taste)

Procedure for Making Bitter Leaf Soup

STEP 1: Wash the bitter leaf properly (that’s if you are using fresh bitter leaf) with a small pitch of salt. Squeeze it between your palms till the bitterness has reduced significantly.

STEP 2: Over medium heat, place a pot of oil and pieces of onions in it and allow to fry for 2 minutes.

STEP 3: Add the ground onion, pepper, and tomatoes. Allow to fry for 5 minutes.

STEP 4: Add your clean water (a little bit higher than the quantity you actually need for the soup) to the cooking pot and ground locust beans. Add your meat to it too and allow to boil until the water reduces to the desired quantity.

STEP 5: Add the bitter leaf to the cooking pot with your seasoning cubes, spices, and salt to taste. Allow to cook for 10 minutes.

STEP 6: Stir it well and reduce the heat. Allow to cook for additional 3 minutes.

STEP 7: Turn off the cooker. Ta-Da! Your Miyan Shuwaka is ready!


You can add more water to the soup if you feel it is too thick. In addition, it is advisable to use warm water and not cold water.

Swallows That Best Goes With It

Miyan Shuwaka (Bitter Leaf Soup) is normally taken with Tuwon Semovita or Eba.

How to Serve Bitter Leaf Soup

Aside from Tuwon Semo and Eba, it could also be served with Tuwon Shinkafa, Tuwon Masara, Tuwon Alkama, Tuwon Alabo, and any other swallow of your choice. It tastes best when served hot.

Occasions to Best Serve Bitter Leaf Soup

This delicious northern Nigerian delicacy can be eaten as lunch or dinner. It is served in wedding ceremonies which is mostly common among the Yorubas.

How to Store Bitter Leaf Soup

It is best stored in a refrigerator as it will last for several days. In the absence of a refrigerator nonetheless, it only lasts for a day or two at most, or you will have to be warming it mornings and evenings to last a little bit longer.

Nutritional Value of Bitter Leaf Soup

Miyan Shuwaka (Bitter Leaf Soup) has numerous medicinal values and benefits to human health. The leaf exhibits antibacterial and antifungal properties that make it a good home remedy for several health issues such as diarrhea, high blood pressure, dysentery, and many others.

In addition, Miyan Shuwaka has the ability to improve a crucial female sex hormone that contributes to reproductive development and regulation.


Ensure you wash the leaves properly to reduce the bitterness. This is very important if you do not like bitter tastes else, it will be difficult to consume. More so, as you have seen, it is very easy to prepare without much stress. Now that you know how to prepare Miyan Shuwaka, I hope you will try it at home. Ensure you perfect it first before you choose to make it for occasions.

If you find this article helpful, please leave a comment in the comments section below.

You are always welcome to Northpad Nigeria for more local Northern Nigerian recipes.

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