Tuesday, 17 December 2013

African: Banga Soup

Banga soup is one soup that I don't particularly look forward to cooking because of the process of extracting the oil from the palm nuts. Yes I know there's the option of using canned palm-fruit oil sold in supermarkets but there's this part of me that likes cooking stuff from scratch if I can manage it.  Banga soup is native to the lovely folks of the south-south of Nigeria.  I'm from the South-South myself and learned how to cook this soup by watching my elder sister (she belongs to the palm-nut-oil-from-a-can camp).  The first time I ate this soup as a child was with starch but as an adult I don't think I can ever bring myself to eat that combo as the only place I want to see starch is in my washing and not on my dinning table!


1 big bunch of palm-nut fruit or 800g Palm-fruit cream concentrate

Goat meat/Beef/Fresh Fish/Assorted Meat (tripe)

Oburumbebe Stick

1 tablespoon of Banga Spice (rohojie and aidan ground together, you can buy this in the market)

Ground Crayfish

Ground Pepper

Small bunch of scent leaf or Obeleteintein leaves

Stock Fish

Dry Fish (optional)

Periwinkles (optional)


1.   If you decide to use the canned palm-fruit oil from the can just skip this step.  If you decide to do it the good ol' fashioned way then here goes..... in a good sized pot wash and put the palm-fruit in water and boil for say 20-30 minutes (till fruits are soft and easy to work with).  When cooked transfer to a mortar and pound the fruits gently (the goal is to loosen the husk from the fruit not crack the nut!). While your waiting for your palm fruit to cook if you've not boiled your meat you can start doing that, make sure you keep some stock water from the meat pot as you will need it when cooking the banga soup proper.

boil palm fruit till tender

put in a mortar and gently pound to remove husk

with gentle pounding it should look like this

transfer husk and all to a pot and pour warm water

pour water and husk through a strainer to get oil

The fruit of your labour should look like this

2.  Put the pot on the hob or stove and heat under medium flame till the red oil rises to the top (as pictured below). Pour half a cup of stock water into the pot of boiling oil and add ground pepper, crayfish,  snails, periwinkle, stockfish and stock cube and cook for 5 minutes.  After this, add the banga spice and taste to make sure you're fine with the intensity of the flavour!

Add your condiments...

I prefer putting my dry fish in whole and not broken into bits

Periwinkle and cowhide is optional (I cook nearly all soups with periwinkle-in-its-shell)

3.  Add the oburunbebe stick (it adds extra flavour to the soup, it can be removed, washed, kept in a clean place and used several times, to 'loosen' the stick to let more flavour out, i make deep marks on the stick before each use).

Ground banga spice and Oburunbebe stick

4.  Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes, open pot and add your sliced scent leaves or obeleteintein leaves, cover again and cook for another 5 minutes. You can remove the obunrunbebe stick at this point or let it it soak in the soup till you're ready to serve.

5.  Like I said earlier, people from the south-south love to eat their banga with starch but you can eat with any 'swallow' of your choice

Like this post? well send some encouragement my way by visiting regularly for new recipes, commenting, liking my Facebook page, following me on twitter or following through Google!

Don't forget to read, comment and cook!


Monday, 2 December 2013

Pictures Only: Bites and Taste of Europe

So I went for a card exhibition in Paris and managed to convince my boss I needed a couple of days to rest and sightsee. I was shocked when he agreed and before he could change his mind I quickly moved to a cheaper hotel in Paris and booked a ticket to Rome (Rome has always been on my list of places I must visit so when the chance came I grabbed it).  Below are pictures of some of the food I ate. Enjoy...........


Hot chocolate with whipped cream and cocoa seeds..topped with a single strawberry! WOW!

Ambasciata di Capri Pizzeria off Via Cicerone in Rome, got the seafood pizza below here, they were a bit unfriendly so I never went back

I ordered for seafood pizza but was shocked when I opened the box and saw this!

It tasted as good as it looked

Breakfast at Isa Hotel Rome

The Lasagna was delsih!

Too many choices.......

I ordered a piece of every pizza on the menu and the best wine in the house! Gracia

Cookie Heaven

Funny looking flat BLT sandwich......

Gelato! It was cold as hell but I couldn't resist! Italian ice cream has got to be the best!

Cheese and stuff from everywhere wanted to bring some but didn't think customs would be pleased!


RUC, home of the best beef burger on earth!

I literally saw heaven when I assembled it together and cut open the middle

If you're ever in Paris, make sure you visit the Ruc and order the beef burger and fries!

Club sandwich from the Hilton La Defense, didn't wow me sha, still prefer the one from Cactus in Lagos

Monday, 11 November 2013

African: Ofe Nsala (White Soup)

ofe nsala
Ofe Nsala a.k.a Afie Efere a.k.a White soup as it's name suggests is one of the few Nigerian soups where the  ever-present palm oil is absent.  This soup is native to the Igbos in the eastern part of Nigeria and the lovely folks of the Niger-Delta (of which I am proud to be part of).  

Weeks ago while hanging out with Fola of Stylefash and Berry of Berrydakara, Fola unknowingly placed an order for Ofe Nsala. Yes it was unknowingly 'cos she didn't ask directly, she just said 'lemme know when I can come and eat Ofe Nsala at yours' (or something like that. lol) and subconsciously my mind went to fufill-order-mode, I made a note to myself that the next soup cooking marathon I do would consist of a delicious pot of nsala for Fola (I cook soups in bulk on a single day, package 'em and freeze 'em). This past Sunday I made five soups and of 'cos Fola's beloved nsala was included (pssst she knows I cooked nsala this weekend but she doesn't know I cooked it for her, she'll be shocked when she finds out....heehee). Anyway I decided to cook mine with catfish as I feel it tastes better with catfish (you can cook yours with beef, chicken, tripe, pork etc).  As expected The Chief Taster decided he wanted some of the nsala after I sent him pictures of it and some of the pounded yam I made, he went further to reserve the head of the fish and made me swear it would be served steaming hot.....Imagine! Anyway sorry Fola, your full pot has been cut to half, I will make it up to you I promise!


1.  One large catfish

2.  Utazi leaf

3.  Onions

4.  Yam or Cocoyam (to be used as thickener)

5.  Stockfish

6.  Smoked catfish

7.  Crayfish

8.  Pepper

9.  Salt

10.  Uziza seeds

11.  Ogiri Igbo or Maggi/Knorr


1.  Cut 2 large pieces of old yam and boil till properly cooked then pound in a mortar or process in a food processor and set aside (do same if using cocoyam).  I decided to make extra pounded to be eaten with my portion of nsala (like they say "in for a penny, in for a pound",  might as well do enough that can be eaten with your delicious fresh nsala)

Pounded Yam

2.  Gut catfish and clean thoroughly. Put in a bowl and pour hot water on it and leave for 2 minutes, afterwards douse with cold water (this helps to make the fish tougher so it doesn't break up during the cooking proper).

cut fish into parts

3.  Using a good sized pot, put your fish and water (just enough to cover the fish) and set to boil on medium to low heat, be careful not to stir the pot unnecessarily to prevent the fish from breaking, add stockfish and blackfish and set to boil. 

4.  Add your ogiri igbo (or maggi/knorr), pepper, pounded uziza seed, stockfish, black fish and crayfish and stir carefully.  I like the traditional taste that ogiri igbo gives my soups so I try to use it as often as I can.

Large wrapped package of ogiri igbo

All that wrapping is just fancy stuff

what you get after all that unwrapping...half a teaspoon of ogiri

4.  While it's steaming away carefully add small lumps of pounded yam (or cocoyam) and allow to dissolve and you'll notice the soup thicken.  Using the back of your cooking spoon, mash any stubborn pounded yam lump

mash any stubborn yam lump

add utazi leaf...sparingly

 4.  Let it cook till the fish is almost cooked through then add utazi leaf (due to the bitter taste of utazi leaf, it is advisable to use only 3-4 leaves out of the bunch).

5.  Lower heat and allow simmer for 5-8 minutes and hey presto! Nsala is ready




Thanks for stopping by!

don't forget to Read! Comment!! Follow!!! and Cook!!