What is Isi Ewu if not one of the most delicious dishes in Nigeria? Its recipes are different across Nigeria. Every tribe may have its special preferences. Isi Ewu or “Goat head” is a popular delicacy in Nigerian cuisine. In this article, you will find a traditional recipe to cook this delicacy.


How to make Isi Ewu?


It says that the path to a man`s heart lies through his stomach. No man in Nigeria can resist the delicious taste of Isi Ewu. It means that every woman may need to know how to prepare this dish. Isi Ewu soup is similar to Nkwobi soup. Still, there are some differences in cooking and especially in parts of meat used. It`s noticeable, that every part of the “Goat head” is edible. Even brains if you like them.

As you can guess from the name of the meal – first, you need its main ingredient. You can buy a goat`s head at a local market. One goat head alone may cost you about 500 Naira. A medium size goat head with four legs cost about 1000 naira. You can also eat the goat head alone. Some Nigerians say that it`s the best to enjoy this delicacy with a glass of palm wine.

Ingredients for Isi Ewu

  1. One Goat Head;
  2. Two habanero peppers;
  3. Ten Utazi leaves;
  4. Two medium onions;
  5. Two big beef flavored cubes;
  6. One tablespoon of potash;
  7. Two tablespoons of ground Ehu seeds;
  8. 200 ml Palm Oil or vegetable oil;
  9. Salt to taste.

Nota Bene


– If you visit Nigerian restaurants, you may find that they cook the whole goat head. They do not usually cut it into pieces. The reason they do that is because they have special pots to place several heads in. You can try the same technique, but it`s not practical unless you plan prepare Isi Ewu for a big family get-together. To prepare a whole goat head – you need lots of water to cook the head. Therefore, if you do not plan to cook for many people, it`s better to cut the head into several pieces.

– Goat meat is pretty tough to eat. If you have a pressure cooker, then it`s time to use it. It will save you not only time for cooking, but also electricity or gas.

– Ehu or Calabash Nutmeg is another traditional ingredient that should be a part of your dish. Still, if you live outside of Nigeria, then you may find problems procurring it. Unfortunately, ordinary nutmeg can`t substitute Calabash Nutmeg. If you live outside Nigeria and don`t have relatives to send you the ehu seeds, then you just have to make the Isi Ewu dish without them.


– Potash is another traditional ingredient of the soup. It`s usually made of the palm oil curdle. If you don`t have potash, you can substitute it with Ngu. Ngu is often used in Igbo tribes. Instead of potash, you can also use baking soda.

– Utazi leaves provide a special flavor to your Isi Ewu. If you can`t buy this ingredient where you live, then try leafy spinach. It gives a similar effect and also tastes nice. Still, a traditional Isi Ewu dish can be made only with Utazi leaves.

– Ugba is another traditional ingredient for this soup. However, a lot of people omit it due to its unique flavor.

– One portion of Isi Ewu soup is enough for four people. Do not forget to leave some time in your schedule for this soup. The preparation to the cooking may take up to forty minutes. The very process of cooking may take up to one hour.

How to make Nigerian Isi Ewu soup – preparations!


  1. Cut the goat head into several pieces. Still, do not cut essential parts into pieces, like ears and tongue. They are better to be left whole;
  2. Remove the brain from the goat head and place it into an aluminum foil bag. This procedure is similar to Nigerian Moi Moi;
  3. Wash the meat carefully. Do not forget to use iron sponges and iron if necessary. Scrape off the top thick skin from the tongue. Ensure that there are no traces of goat fur on the meat;
  4. Put the potash into a bowl. Add some water to the bowl. Stir the substance until it gets mixed. Set the liquid aside for a moment;
  5. Cut the two onions into several pieces;
  6. Remove the outer shell of the ehu seeds;
  7. Grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or with a dry mill;
  8. Pound the pepper and set aside.

How to make Isi Ewu soup – directions!


  1. Cook the goat head with sliced onions and stock cubes. Add some water to the pot.Do not forget to cook the brain too. The brain is the most delicious part of the dish;
  2. Slice the onion into thin rings while the meat is cooking;
  3. Divide Utazi leaves into two parts. Cut one part of the Utazi leaves into thin slices. Another part should be cut into small pieces. The first part should be used for garnishing. The second part should be used for the palm/vegetable oil sauce;
  4. When the meat and brain is done – mash the brain until it`s smooth;
  5. Set the meat aside to cool down;
  6. Pour the palm oil into a clean pot;
  7. Pour the potash mixture into the same pot;
  8. Mix the potash and palm oil in the pot on the fire. You will notice the palm oil turns yellow. Keep stirring the substance until all oil turns yellow. You may need to use as little potash as possible. Too much potash is not recommended as it can upset your stomach;
  9. Add the mashed brain, Utazi leaves, pepper. Stir the mixture well for few minutes;
  10. Add the goat head to the palm oil paste;
  11. Put the head back on the stove and heat it until the Isi Ewu is done;
  12. Serve Isi Ewu in a wooden bowl;
  13. Garnish with the slices of Utazi and onion;
  14. This dish is the best served with drinks. You may choose from soft drinks to beer or even palm wine.

Isi Ewu dish


Isi Ewu soup may take you some time prepare. But it is absolutely worth it You can also make this delicacy with your friends to speed up the process. When the soup is done – you can enjoy a quiet evening with this dish and maybe even some palm wine.