#cookingguilde: let’s make Banga soup
Banga Soup, also known as Ofe Akwu, is a traditional Nigerian dish. It is a flavorful soup made from palm fruit extract and an assortment of spices and ingredients that give it a rich and distinctive taste. If you’re looking to explore the flavors of Nigeria, here’s a simple recipe to make delicious Banga Soup right in your own kitchen.
500g palm fruit extract (banga)
Assorted meat and fish (e.g., beef, goat meat, fish, shrimps)
2 cups of fresh or smoked fish (mackerel, catfish, or any fish of choice)
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
2-3 tablespoons of ground crayfish
2-3 tablespoons of ground uziza or bitter leaves (optional)
2-3 tablespoons of ground ogiri or iru (local seasoning)
2-3 tablespoons of dried or ground pepper (based on your preferred level of spiciness)
2-3 stock cubes
Salt to taste
Fresh or dried scent leaves for garnish (substitute with basil if not available)
1. Start by preparing your assorted meat and fish. Wash them thoroughly and season with salt and any other desired seasonings. Cook until tender and set aside. If using dried fish, soak it in hot water to soften.
2. In a large cooking pot, add the palm fruit and enough water to cover it. Boil for about 20-30 minutes until the palm fruit is soft and tender.
3. Transfer the boiled palm fruit extract to a mortar or blender. Pound or blend it to extract the palm fruit juice. Strain the juice into a separate bowl, discarding any pulp or residue.
4. Return the strained palm fruit juice to the pot and place it on medium heat. Allow it to boil for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
5. Add the chopped onions, ground crayfish, dried or ground pepper, ground ogiri or iru, and stock cubes. Stir well to combine the flavors and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.
6. Add the cooked assorted meat and fish, including the fresh or smoked fish and periwinkle if desired. Stir gently to incorporate the ingredients into the soup.
7. If the soup is too thick, you can add some water to achieve your desired consistency. Remember that Banga Soup is typically a thick and rich soup.
Allow the soup to simmer on low heat for about 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
8. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.
9. If using uziza or bitter leaves, add them to the soup and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. These leaves add a unique flavor to the soup.
10. Finally, garnish the soup with freshly chopped scent leaves or basil for added aroma and freshness.
Your homemade Banga Soup is now ready to be served! It pairs perfectly with steamed white rice, boiled yam, starch or any swallow of your choice. Enjoy the rich flavors and experience a taste of Nigeria with this delightful and comforting dish.
Duru Eunice Adaku