Plain Light Soup


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    4 to 6


Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

This is a basic recipe for a clear broth based on water (or stock), tomatoes, chili pepper, onion, and salt, enhanced as desired by spices (garlic, ginger, herbs, etc.) as well as vegetables, bones, or a little meat, chicken, or fish. It is a soothing recipe and considered a good soup for those who are ill or weak. Much more recently, it is seen as an appropriate soup for a first course.


  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion or a few shallots, coarsely chopped
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon dried ground red pepper (or to taste), or chopped fresh chili pepper equivalent in heat
  • 6 cups water or stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt or seasoned salt (or to taste)

Optional seasonings to taste

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
  • Chopped herbs like thyme, basil, akoko besa, etc.

Optional ingredients

  • 1 small eggplant or 3 garden eggs, peeled and cut in large chunks
  • ½ pound meat of choice or chicken cut into chunks; or fresh fish, skin and bones removed; and/or soup bones (up to 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste



  1. Grind the tomatoes, onion or shallots, dried or fresh chili pepper, and other optional seasonings with 1 cup of water in an electric blender about 45 to 60 seconds.
  2. Pour in a soup pot with 5 cups of water or stock, and salt to taste and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. If using soup bones, add them to the pot at this point along with eggplant and any meat or poultry, if using. Stir in tomato paste, if desired.
  3. Simmer mixture until meat and poultry are tender. (If using eggplant, remove it when soft; remove the skins and puree in a blender; return to the soup pot when the meat or poultry is almost tender.)
  4. If using fish, break it into pieces and add to the soup about 15 minutes before serving the soup. Remove any bones before serving.

To serve

May be served alone or with any preferred starch.


  • Thicken the soup by cooking a starch, like peeled yam or plantain or potato, and adding some of the liquid in which the starch was cooked to the soup (or cook the slices right in the soup).
  • A little freshly pounded fufu (not the powder version) is also sometimes added.
  • Add additional meat, chicken, or fish.
  • Include smoked fish or ground shrimps as an additional seasoning.
  • For a vegetarian alternative: use vegetable stock and add other soft, mild vegetables such as mushrooms or summer squash.