Seafood okra soup: Best for the rains

With a passion for catering, Mrs Adebimpe Olaoye, who owns Bimples Hotel, gives a peep into the food and hospitality industry and shares with BLESSING EKUM the recipe for her all-time signature dish.


Can you share your experience so far in the food and hospitality industry?

It’s been fun all the way though there are some challenges as expected. The exciting aspect is meeting new people and having the opportunity to serve good food.


What has changed about your perception of the food and hospitality business since you started?

I’ve come to realise that some individuals can be very difficult to impress no matter how much you try and their dissatisfaction may not be the fault of the owners of the business. I also know now that you have to be very tolerant and patient with customers because you are dealing with different kinds of people.


Given the electricity challenges, how do you manage food preservation?

It’s the most challenging part of running a food business. Since power supply is barely existent, we rely on diesel-powered generating sets that run the whole day. However, we prepare most dishes on demand, so the issue of wastage doesn’t really arise.


Considering that we are in the rainy season, what kinds of foods are trending?

Hot foods. Most people want whatever is ordered to be served piping hot — whether amala, pounded yam or tea. Also, because there are more vegetables, quite a number of people also prefer vegetable soups.


What are some of the vegetables that are available now?

I am from Ibadan, Oyo State and based there. Some of such vegetable are efo, ewedu, okra.


Do you have a favourite continental dish?

That’s Chinese fried rice and curried chicken.


In your years in the culinary world, what’s the weirdest cuisine you’ve encountered?

Snakes. I know of someone who serves it in her restaurant and people knowingly eat it. I find eating snakes very weird.


How do you define good food?

Food with nice presentation. The presentation of food is what whets the appetite.


Is the art of proper food presentation a learned skill or a natural gifting?

It’s a combination of both. I am trained in that aspect and coupled with the flair I have for cooking, fresh ideas keep coming in.


What’s your signature dish?

It’s seafood. As this is the rainy season, seafood is in abundance. I love to add it to every possible food—edikang ikong soup, ogbono soup, grilled fish and the likes. My current preference is seafood okra soup.


Can you share the recipe for this?

The ingredients needed are seafood of all sorts — fresh shrimps, stock fish, crayfish, lobsters, crabs —, okra, ogbono, palm oil, scotch bonnet pepper (rodo), iru (locust beans), salt, seasoning cubes.

Clean the preferred seafood and keep aside. Blend pepper. Chop okra if you want it chunky with no elasticity or you can blend if you don’t want any chunks of okra in the soup. Bring water to boil and add palm oil. Add seasoning cubes, salt, pepper, iru and seafood. Pour in ground ogbono and okra and leave to cook for about three minutes. Allow to simmer. Serve. It goes well with any form of swallow.